5 College Textbooks You Want to Get Right Now

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Books Hooks
an assortment of college textbooks in the library

Why don’t we value things that are next to us? The purpose of this philosophical beginning is not to scare you away but to show how amazing your college textbooks are! The awesomeness is obviously not an excuse for their skyrocketing prices, but you know how to get your textbook cheap, right? These are five popular university textbooks that we have found FABULOUS. Moreover, they cover essential knowledge in the areas we all need to understand better, like art, biology, or movies. 

You can clearly benefit from plunging into these textbooks, even if they’re outside of your major and minor. These textbooks can be definitely browsed just for pleasure and out of general curiosity. So even if you are a (recent) graduate, the world of textbooks is not closed to you at all. It might be true that after school, you will enjoy your textbooks much more than back in your college days. If you actually study with any of these textbooks—oh boy, I envy you!

1. Gateways to Art

This book would be a treasure for those who want to better understand the visual world around us. It’s also useful if you need to find a way to impress your mates and parents by throwing in some terms and names in a conversation (just kidding). Gateways to Art will teach you how to talk about art (aka the basics of art criticism and art history) and, crucially, to relate this knowledge to the world around you. It is a beautiful edition with over 1,000 colorful illustrations and engaging short texts that will guide you through global art (it seems this textbook is an excellent example of overcoming a bias towards Western culture). Just start reading from any chapter you want or about any artwork you find exciting—and enjoy! You can get your own copy for less than 10$.

2. Campbell Biology

This is literally the most successful biology textbook ever—and you will understand why the minute you open it. It offers a comprehensive overview of this crucial subject—from evolutionary theories to GNA, from animal nutrition to bacteria. These quite hellish topics are explained in a way that you can comprehend. The amazing graphics and photos obviously take some of the credit for the textbook’s success. Although Campbell Biology might get into too many details for a newcomer to biology, it’s a captivating read nevertheless. The 8th edition will cost you only 16$.

3. Astronomy Today

What can be cooler than stars? Really, nothing. But the only lucky ones to learn about the universe in more detail are those in major or minor in Physics or Astronomy, damn. But Astronomy Today can actually be your helping hand in this universe of black holes and galaxies: it is written for students without much background in science! The textbook explains to you a hell of a lot about astronomy and—the fascinating part—about all the recent discoveries and HOW they were made. Go on, let’s discover some cool stuff too! This textbook is available for rent for 11$ only!

4. Understanding Movies

Here it is, your entry ticket into the world of cinematography! This engaging, nicely-written textbook is by no chance a boring history of movie-making. It gives you a toolkit of how to think about a film beyond just your own pleasure and what to pay attention to. With this knowledge, you can analyze and comprehend in more detail any movie, from Fellini’s 8 1/2 to The Rice of Skywalker. For this cinematic guide, you’d need to cough up quite a bit

5. Timberlake’s Chemistry: An Introduction to General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry

The beauty of Timberlake’s Chemistry is that it not only gives you an introduction to chemistry but also connects this knowledge to our health and environment. You will see for yourself—chemistry is everywhere, indeed. You just need to learn how to recognize these processes! After engaging with this textbook even for a bit, you will finally understand what is going on when somebody is talking about amino acids or lipid metabolism and whether it’s a new scam or, indeed, something essential for our body health. You can rent the textbook starting from 17$—it might be a good investment!

Hopefully, you can find something for yourself from this short selection—it is unbelievably satisfying to browse through these books and occasionally read them when you want to and not when it is required for a seminar or finals. Try reading textbooks for fun, and I bet you’d love them!

A tip: If you plan on getting any of these textbooks for fun, you don’t need to opt for the most recent edition—get a discounted old edition and enjoy the same quality for a lower price! Especially if you are a recent college graduate and have fallen into a nostalgic mood, you can choose an older edition. Alternatively, you can also rent any of these textbooks, which is definitely a budget option.

It also would be exceptionally helpful to get acquainted with these textbooks if you are only considering which track to apply for. The books will give you an impression of the subject and also sufficient background knowledge for starting your first year at college. 

If you have some experience studying with these textbooks and you loved them as much as we did—leave your comments and spread the news! 

Iliana K