While graduation season ended in Kentucky a few weeks ago, I know that there are still students out there who are just finishing up their school year. That said, these books would be appropriate for anyone who’s about to embark on a new phase in life, or anyone who needs some inspiration.
Without further ado, five books that were originally commencement addresses:
Now Go Out There (and Get Curious) by Mary Karr
Memoirist Karr’s 2015 speech at Syracuse University, where she teaches, resonated with a wider audience than just the graduating seniors. To quote the description at Indiebound, “Being smart and rich are lucky, but being curious & compassionate will save your ass.”
This Is Water by David Foster Wallace
This 2005 Kenyon College speech is long a classic. Wallace also talked about compassion during this address. Wise words from a writer who left us far too soon.
Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman delivered this speech in 2012 to graduates of the Philadelphia University of the Arts. While intended for a “creative” audience, this book is encouragement for anyone to think outside the box.
Congratulations, by the Way by George Saunders
Another commencement address from Syracuse University, with a simple message. The transcript of this speech went viral back in 2013, so you may have already read it. Your favorite grad would probably appreciate a hard copy of it, though!
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Rowling delivered this speech at Harvard University in 2008; it was published for the first time last year. From the Indiebound description, “How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?” I mean, those questions are valid for anyone, not just recent graduates.
*Nothing against Dr. Seuss’s book, of course! I just tend to think of this Better Book Title when I see it.