Oh, the Places You’ll Go: 6 Unconventional Books that Make Great Graduation Gifts

It’s that time of the year again! Finals are over, GPAs are officially documented and the diplomas have been printed. For just about anyone reading this, either you or someone you know is graduating from college this month. But instead of the same old Dr. Seuss book everyone gets, this year give something else -– a book that will really get those ambitious and creative juices flowing! Here we’ve compiled a list of 6 fantastic, yet unconventional, books to help you (or your graduate) keep up the momentum needed for post-college success.

Mercedes’s Picks:

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso (Portfolio, 2015)

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When it comes to style and confidence, Sophia Amoruso’s company Nasty Gal is where you go. I’ve been shopping there for as long as my bank account has allowed, so when I heard Amoruso had her own autobiography coming out I literally had it in my hands the next day. #GIRLBOSS is the ideal book for any young professional looking to reach success. Amoruso’s sassy honesty will have you breaking the traditional rules all while still feeling good about yourself. As Sophia says, “Being a Girlboss isn’t about being the boss of other people – it’s about being the boss of your own life.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo (Ten Speed Press, 2014)

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Now that you’re officially a graduate, it’s time to find your next place to call home. Whether it’s the bedroom you grew up in with that unpleasant paint color you picked during your teenage angst, or you’ve found your first apartment in a big city, you may be in for a chaotic amount of stress. Moving can be taxing (much like everything else in life!) but Marie Kondo’s book will have you feeling like a new person–you are a grown up after all. Kondo escorts readers through a step-by-step process of understanding the act of tidying up. By the end of the book, your new adventure into post-grad life will have you feeling like you can conquer the world. Now go through those drawers of yours so you can sell some clothes and buy your first adult outfit!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Anchor Books, 1997)

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You’ve been going to school for at least 18 years of your life. You don’t want to sit in a classroom anymore, the idea of a cubicle gives you claustrophobia and you have no clue what’s next in your post-grad life. Neither did Christopher Johnson McCandless. So he started an eye-opening journey, with just the necessities, in search of something more. McCandless’ journey after graduating will certainly inspire anyone who doesn’t know what’s next for them. This book will have you dreaming of The Pacific Crest Trail while supplying that motivation you’ve been missing all along.

Katie’s Picks:

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon (Workman Publishing, 2014)

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Sometimes, especially in post-grad life, it’s easier to be a couch potato than it is to tap into your inner creative genius. Fight the voice of your inner YouTuber and get busy creating something (really, anything) with writer-artist Austin Kleon, of Steal Like An Artist fame. In Show Your Work, Kleon gives helpful nuggets of advice to unlock your inner creativity, providing ten rules to be more open, productive and relaxed about the way you consider your own creativity. Applicable to anyone, not just artists, this book will help you succeed in whatever it is you choose to do (when you get around to it).

A Country Doctor’s Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov (Vintage Classics, 2010)

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Whether it’s your job, the arduous job search or grad school, life after college is bound to be stressful. However, classic Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov has exactly what you need for a little perspective – a collection of humorous, bleak short stories based on his own post-graduate experience as a young doctor on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Think you’ve got it tough? Try delivering babies in the middle of a horrible snow storm while struggling with a crippling addiction to morphine. Plus, this book was recently made into a darkly hilarious television series starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe!

Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix: More than 700 Simple Recipes and Techniques to Mix and Match for Endless Possibilities by Mark Bittman (Clarkson Potter, 2015)

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Let’s face it, while the food could be hit-or-miss sometimes, having access to a dining hall is pretty great. However, in the real world, you’re going to need to shape up in the kitchen if you don’t want to be eating boxed macaroni and cheese for the next five years. Enter New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman and his book, Kitchen Matrix, which happens to be a BookTrib favorite filled with simple, yet mouth-watering, recipes that we’re sure you’ll be able to handle. Complete with beautiful photographs, well-written explanations of techniques and helpful encouragement, this might just be the only cookbook you’ll ever need.

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