Best Books for Graduate Students?

A while back, I asked for your recommendations for the best books for undergrads, and you came through with a pretty impressive list. Let’s advance a few years.

What books do you recommend to graduate students, on God, on academia, or just about life in general?

There will probably be some overlap, but here are some common graduate school situations that might affect the list:

  • Deeper exploration of a specific discipline or profession
  • New life experiences (e.g. marriage, children, death of family and friends)
  • Coping with failure and success
  • The “quarterlife crisis
  • Growth and change in one’s spiritual life

What are your suggestions?

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Micheal Hickerson

The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.

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7 Comments

  • patricia.r.taylor@gmail.com'
    PRT commented on February 1, 2010 Reply

    On academia, I recommend to all my fellow graduate students (at least those in the humanities) Greg Semenza’s book “Graduate Study for the 21st Century: Building a Career in the Humanities.”

    • mikehickerson@gmail.com'
      Micheal Hickerson commented on February 1, 2010 Reply

      I wasn’t aware of that book, but it sounds great. Thanks!

  • hannaheag@comcast.net'
    Hannah commented on February 1, 2010 Reply

    I’d also say that Greg Semenza’s book is useful. My department actually bought it for all incoming MA’s a few years in a row, if memory serves.

    On another front, I’ve found Kathleen Norris’s book Acedia and Me to be an excellent companion to dissertation writing. She talks about the sin of acedia, which is the sin of not caring about things which matter – it can manifest as despair, as something like laziness, as frenetic activity to cover up deep struggles, and so on. She writes about combating this sin as a writer of poetry and nonfiction, drawing on the work of monastic writers. I was really struck by the parallels between monastic life and dissertation writing – both involve contemplative tasks, study, the struggle against distraction, etc.

    Anyway, I’m not going to join a monastery, but I did find monastic thought really helpful in my own struggles with acedia.

  • andunning@gmail.com'
    Andrew commented on February 2, 2010 Reply

    Augustine’s Confessions is applicable in all of the above situations, I think.

  • samuelvaiphei@yahoo.co.in'
    Samuel Vaiphei commented on March 4, 2010 Reply

    I would recommend “Subverting Global Myths” by Vinoth Ramachandra as a required reading!!

    Of course Gods That Fail is a prequel to that book which is an equally good read.

  • svetaohio@yaoho.com'
    Anna commented on December 11, 2011 Reply

    As a grad student, I’d love to see this topic revitalized and to hear more suggestions!

  • Tom Grosh IV commented on December 11, 2011 Reply

    Anna, Thank-you for the suggestion/encouragement. Consider it “in the queue” and please let us know if there is an area which you’d like to receive particular focus.

    If you haven’t already done such, I’d recommend you check out “Graduate & Faculty Ministry’s Campus Resources from InterVarsity Press/IVP” (2011-2012 Academic Year Edition,” http://www.intervarsity.org/gfm/download.php?id=9367&version_id=12882.

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