As we approach the time of the year when students start trickling in to college campuses, decorating their dorm rooms with stuff from IKEA and Target and trying really hard to sound like they know what they’re talking about, many incoming freshmen are surely wondering what their new roommates will be like. And although the surveys schools use to match night owls and messy kids with others who share their habits may cover the basics, you can tell a lot more about a person by looking at the prized books they lug along with them to make sure their classmates can tell how cultured they are. Here are a few common picks, and what they say about the 18-year-old who loves them.
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
Your roommate read Infinite Jest over the summer? That’s cool. They will probably spend at least a semester talking about what a genius David Foster Wallace was, and how no writer since him can compare. You may or may not know whether that’s true, but rest assured that your new roommate probably didn’t do much over their summer break besides read this book. Let them talk all they want.