Emelie Mano ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
When it comes to getting back into the groove of school, one also has to get back into the groove of reading. As college students time is precious, and after the homework and the socializing sometimes you just get the urge to get lost, at least for a little while before coming back to greet reality head on. Not all of these books should even be about school since that is what most of us are trying to escape from, to begin with. Here is a short, randomized list of back to school reads to help us all keep our minds off the inevitable awaiting reality and looming responsibility that will greet us when we return.
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell :
A personal favorite, Rainbow Rowell manages to capture the essence of the universal image of a tentative and zealous college girl, the type most of us can relate to. Cath, the protagonist of the story, heads off to college for the first time. She’s a writer and a reader, and more importantly an avid fan of the fictional Simon Snow series. Through Cath, readers get to experience the highs and lows of being an awkward college kid. Though some of her encounters are embarrassingly cringeworthy, they still happen to be the type of experiences we have all had or eventually will have in our own college experience. For anybody looking for a lighthearted and hilarious read to take your mind off of some of the stressful aspects of college life or merely want to find a character who you can relate to at this specific moment in school, this book is for you.
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:
Go on an adventure! Easier said than done. Even though we’re in the heart of the city and there are new and exciting things at every turn, after a day full of classes and an even longer night of homework, an escape is sometimes all anyone needs. What better place to escape to than fantasy? Though the series is widely known, there are still a few who have not opened themselves up to Tolkien’s universe. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit, who lives a fairly simple life until a group of dwarves and a sassy wizard convince him to reclaim their lost kingdom of Erebor. There’s adventure, action, and even a few tears here and there. That and the fact that it takes place where faeries actually exist and Kingdoms are always at stake, need I say anymore.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:
The Book Thief is first of all narrated by Death, automatically making it more interesting than your average novel. Combining his somewhat witty narration in a WWII setting sets the stage for a wonderful but brutal honest truth about Nazi Germany through the experiences of young Liesel, the book thief herself. Why read it for back to school? Not just for the history lesson but for the beautifully mixed combination of honesty and heartwarming friendship. The sentences are written in such rich, complex words it will leave you breathless if not a little in awe at how powerful the written word can be.
- The Little Book of Mindfulness by Tiddy Rowan:
This is a small book made up of quotes, tips, and exercises to aid mindfulness. For anyone looking for a small distraction, whether it be from anxiety, school, work, or stress in general, this small but impactful book offers a small solace in taking a break from these constant obstacles and relieving some of the built up tension in your mind. Each short, small page has a mindful quote, exercise, or reflection that is perfect for supporting and deepening a mindfulness practice. A healthy mind is something we don’t really tend to focus on as we are too busy fulfilling the role as stressful, chaotic, broke college children who are technically adults but don’t really want to be. It can easily be considered a back to school read that is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand yet promotes a happy and healthy mental lifestyle.
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill:
Sometimes, we need a break from the heaviness of required reading and revert back to our childhood attraction to the younger stories that made us fall in love with reading in the first place. The Girl Who Drank the Moon allows this desire to become reality and push back the ideologies of adulthood while we delve into a world of magic, beauty, and the allure of childhood wonder. Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. It is a complex, rich, and magical story with unforgettable characters. Not only is it about magic and the wonders it performs, but also and the toll it takes. It is written in a whimsical style, full of beautiful language. Feeling both timeless and brand new, Barnhill manages to capture its fairy tale charm that has modern sensibilities layered with an epic fantasy history.
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton:
For many, this was a required novel to read in school, but it is also one of the most enjoyable. S.E. Hinton wrote the novel when she was only 16, in 1967 giving her the ability to beautifully capture the teenage angst and emotion that is omnipresent throughout the novel and society. The story centers around Ponyboy who lives with his brothers Darry and Sodapop. They find a new family in their gang, the Greasers, and a common enemy in the more privileged upper-class Socs, or Socials. Also, the fact that she wrote the Outsiders when she was in high school causes a pretty nice insight when thinking about what we will accomplish while in college and beyond. Yes, our high school days have already passed but it’s nice to think that one day one of our creative pieces will be remembered forty years later (hopefully). The character’s names are as memorable as the plot. Though Ponyboy and Sodapop deviate from the most common names, their characters hold a soft spot in readers hearts and leave a strange uncanny ability to resonate with adolescents so strongly.
- Super Mutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki:
A graphic novel, Super Mutant Magic Academy highlights the hilarious endeavors of genetically mutated teenagers. Basically X-Men but set in a high school setting with much more invigorating humor. So if you’re the type of person who would rather give their stress release time to graphic novels then this is the story that will accomplish that in the highest sense. Though the humor is present and the characters remain lovable and relatable, it still manages to evoke some legitimate thought provoking ideas that might have the ability to resonate with you yourself as the reader.