If you find yourself with some free time this semester, it may be time to crack open a book (rather than mindlessly watching TV!). It’s a great way to unplug and disconnect from the stress of being a college student. By immersing yourself in a different world for even half an hour, you might find yourself wanting to keep reading. If you read something you actually enjoy, then you’ll have fun doing it, I promise! Whether you like fiction or nonfiction, we have you covered.
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
This novel is truly a whirlwind. Sally Rooney really knows how to make you feel the emotions these “normal” characters are feeling. Normal People takes place in Ireland, detailing main characters Marianne and Connell’s relationship through high school and college. If anything motivates you to read this book, then it should be the Emmy-Winning series on Hulu starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal. It’s definitely worth the watch, but only after you read the book, of course!
- Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
This book sounds straightforward purely from the title, but there’s so much more to this nonfiction than the discussion of sleep. Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker explores sleep in more depth and reveals how it affects every aspect of our lives. Walker explains how we can utilize sleep to improve learning, mood, energy levels, and how to prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes while slowing the effects of aging. He also provides steps to take for getting a better night’s sleep and encourages all of us to do so for a multitude of reasons. As a college student, I have found this book to be crucial in understanding how much sleep affects our lives in both the short- and long-term.
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Homegoing tells the story of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, who are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. The two sisters never meet each other and go separate ways as Effia marries an Englishman while Esi is sold into the Gold Coast’s slave trade to be shipped off to America. The two sisters stay interconnected as one thread follows Effia’s descendants in Ghana while the other follows Esi’s descendants in America. This is honestly one of my favorite books that I’ve recently read. Yaa Gyasi has become a powerful force in contemporary fiction, and I’m excited to read her next work.
- You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy
Kate Murphy is a New York Times contributor who claims no one is listening to each other, the main problem being that we don’t know how to anymore. This is making us lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant. In simple terms, Murphy teaches us how to listen to one another again and forge meaningful connections. The book highlights how disconnected we have all become as a people and society in the face of rising social media platforms. By reading Murphy’s book, you might find yourself reflecting on our progress as a society and question how to better pay attention.
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This novel has to be one of my all-time favorites. It takes place in Shaker Heights, a suburb in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s a perfect and utopian town full of successful residents and matching houses. Elena Richardson embodies this and always plays by the rules. When Mia Warren and her daughter move to town, the Richardson family’s world is upended. You’ll be happy to hear that Hulu has also turned this novel into a TV show that I actually enjoyed even better than the book, which is rare. But again, DON’T WATCH THE TV SHOW BEFOREHAND! If you enjoy Little Fires Everywhere, make sure to check out Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. The novel is just as good!
You may have time to read this semester or you might not. Either way, don’t stress, and if you have the time, you’ll have some great options to pick from!