A couple weeks ago, a reader asked us what Duke students like to read for fun. I was wondering the same thing, so we asked you what your favorite non-assigned book was. Here are some of your responses. They have been edited for length and clarity.

"Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"It captures the internal mental dialogue of an individual so well. Certain thoughts, emotions and feelings which seem impossible to convey, Dostoyevsky communicates beautifully through this piece of literature." —Senior Alonzo Zabel

"It's a wonderful introduction to Russian literature if you've never read any Russian lit before. The protagonist of the novel is so raw, so complicated and so absurd that the 600+ pages of the book don't seem nearly as plentiful." —Junior Jill Jones

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara

"Yanagihara's book was a painfully beautiful novel that tells a story of the power of friendship between men, queer and non-queer." —Senior Erick Aguilar 

"It’s an incredibly sad book but beautifully written with complicated, compelling characters. Would recommend to anyone looking for a book you can’t tear yourself away from." —Sophomore Leah Schwartz


"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas

"This is a fun, adventurous book that should take you back to childhood musings of wanting to be a treasure hunter, pirate and all-around swashbuckling bad-a**. Despite its length, the novel is a light read with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested (and distract you from Orgo or that foreign language) throughout the semester. Definitely my favorite read!" —Seth Johnson, Trinity '16

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

"If people, especially in today's world, have to see what a real hero should look like, they only have to look to Atticus Finch. The fictional character embodies ideals that we fail to uphold in real lives. He has taught how to stand in the face of adversity and fight for what is right without thumping your chest and raising your fists." —Senior Bhuvesh Arora


"Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage" by Molly Wizenberg 

"A memoir about starting a restaurant. Cozy and light-hearted story where love and food meet (includes recipes!)" —Junior Lucy Dong

Special to The Chronicle



"The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson

"It’s a lot like Forrest Gump in that they insert the main character into important historical events but it’s really well written and witty and sweet." —Junior Katy Marek


"Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts" by Annie Duke

"Duke uses concepts learned from her career as a professional poker player to improve strategic planning. She seamlessly blends examples from her life, sports and business with ideas from game theory, cognitive psychology and behavioral economics in a very readable way with the goal of showing how players think while competing, how it differs from how normal people make decisions and how we can incrementally do better." —James Meier


"Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard

"Technically, this is a play rather than a book, but it is nonetheless a phenomenal (and short!) piece of prose. It touches upon such lofty themes as time, chaos and meaning, while simultaneously treating the complications of human love and desires into a random cosmic plan." —Gregory Spell, graduate student



"Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard

"It is such a funny, thoughtful, at times melancholy and lovely book. Essentially, you follow Dillard through a year living in Tinker Creek, Va. You witness along with her the events, large and small, that mark the seasons and their changes. It is a book full of sunsets and you will learn so much." —Senior Sam Votzke


"Beartown" by Fredrik Backman 

"It is an emotionally-driven (and emotional) story about everyday things in an everyday town that was very easy to relate to. I found myself instantly attached to the characters and invested in their lives." —Robyn Schwartzman

Special to The Chronicle



"Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

"In short, the apocalypse is imminent and an angel and demon decide that they're fond of Earth and would rather keep it around. I think there’s this desire to spend our free time reading ‘notable’ books and to dismiss ’light’ fiction such as comedy, fantasy and sci-fi. But Good Omens is an amazing collaborative work and always reminds me that humanity is more wonderful than anything supernatural and that reading can be whimsical while thought-provoking." —Senior Jules Frost


Editor's note: This article is a product of a service run by The Chronicle called Chronquiry. A reader submitted a question, other readers voted on the question and The Chronicle got the answer. If you have a question you would like answered about anything related to Duke, visitdukechronicle.com/page/chronquiry or submit a question below: