March is National Reading Month: Grab a favorite book and dive right in

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(March 28, 2014) -- March is National Reading Month, which is a great time for you to grab your favorite book and dive right in.

Here are my top 5 books for college students to read. Find them at your library or bookstore:

  • "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. "Every American who doesn't like monarchy should read the book. It is the single text that had the most impact on the Declaration of Independence," says Linda Charnes, an expert on Shakespeare and postmodernism.
  • "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky -- a story of family intricacies and conflicts
  • "Paradise Lost" by John Milton. "An unbelievingly moving and beautiful story of why the fall of man ended up being a good thing," says Charnes.
  • "The Iliad" by Homer. "The first piece of Western epic literatureā€¦ a reference point for many Western writers," says Charnes.
  • "The Maroons of Prospect Bluff and Their Quest for Freedom in the Atlantic World" by Nathaniel Millett

Did you know?

  • 53 percent of readers read fiction (Publishers Weekly)
  • 43 percent of readers read non-fiction (Publishers Weekly)
  • With 19 percent of readers, the favorite fiction category is mystery and suspense (Publishers Weekly)
  • 55 percent of fiction is bought by women, 45 percent by men (Publishers Weekly)
  • 120,000 books are published each year in the United States (bookwire.com)

What can you do to promote reading and literacy? Join or start a reading group to celebrate the joy of shared reading. And, encourage libraries, bookstores and organizations to host reading group events.

Reading can help improveā€¦

  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Creativity and intellectual curiosity
  • Interpersonal and collaborative skills
  • Self-direction and adaptability
  • Social responsibility
  • Global awareness
  • Financial, economic and business literacy
  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Workplace productivity
  • Civic literacy