Book titles are usually put in the same category as other big, standalone, or complete bodies of work like newspapers, symphonies, or publications. Style guides that prescribe the use of italics, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or the AMA Manual of Style , say that titles of such works should be put into italics when appearing in text. Some writers still use underlining if italicizing is not an option, but generally it’s considered to be an outdated style. You should also note that these guidelines apply to titles that appear in a text and are surrounded by other words. That is, titles at the top of the page or on the front cover don’t require italics or underlining. Their separation from the rest of the text is already enough to get the reader’s attention. You don’t have to italicize the title of your thesis, for example, when it appears on the cover.
Faculty members do not assign reading as busy work. They feel the material is valuable. So, approach it with as much energy and creativity as you can muster. If it is not a class that particularly excites you, try to relate it to something that does. A great example might be physics and baseball. You'd be surprised at how much science can apply to things like the trajectory of a ball or the impact needed on the bat to make a ball go a certain distance,etc. If you are in doubt, ask the professor to help you relate the topic to something you do enjoy and he or she might be able to help you connect the dots. You might also consider your future career and whether you could make use of this knowledge in small talk or in background knowledge for that type of job.