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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

In high school, I read all the time. It was something I enjoyed, and actually had time to do. In a couple of my English classes, there was even time dedicated for students to read. While being in college, where I have to shift things around to make time to Zoom with a friend, I’ve found it fairly difficult to find the freetime to read for my own pleasure. I read all of my assigned chapters and articles, but I haven’t derived the same satisfaction as I would with reading something of my choice, not pressured to finish it by a certain date. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.


Over the last couple of months, I’ve been somewhat forcing myself to dive into books with topics I enjoy and stories I can put myself into, that aren’t accompanied with over-analyzed commentary. It’s been a nice break from the dense material we go over in class. I wanted to share the books I’ve read and have been reading with you all!


  • The Road- Cormac McCarthy

I digested this post-apocalyptic book at a slow, steady pace, not wanting it to end. It’s about a man and his son traveling down ashy roads, seeking safe shelter and food, both of which are scarce.


This book is straightforward and written in a manner that gives just enough detail to help you delve into the world, feeling sympathy for the boy and his father. In 2009, there was a movie adaptation of the book. Though the movie was good by itself, it left out so many vital pieces from McCarthy’s original vision. If you’ve watched the movie, but haven’t read the book, I suggest you give it a read! 


  • The Notebook- Nicholas Sparks

This book is a big genre change from The Road, but sometimes I like for books to give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. This story tracks the love life of two characters, Allie and Noah, who met one summer and had a connection that couldn’t be broken, even years later. 


I’m sure half the world saw The Notebook in theatres when it came out in 2004, but how many people have actually read the book? This story will make you laugh and cry, and if you’ve watched the movie, I know you’ll love the book. 


  • Love is a Dog from Hell- Charles Bukowski

Poetry has always been my go-to when I don’t have time to read thick chapter books. It’s often easy to read, and I get to contemplate the different meanings behind each stanza. Bukowski’s work has never been about creating perfect rhyming poems, but more about writing down his uncensored, explicit thoughts about sex, his life as a writer, and his problem with drinking. His poetry isn’t for everyone, and I’ll admit it took me some time to really get into it, but after I did, I ended up reading all of his collections. 


This book in particular is a collection of poems pertaining to love and different experiences and definitions of what love is. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of attention or dedication, this might be the book for you!


  • Unfollow- Megan Phelps-Roper

This memoir, written by a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church has some anthropological and sociological undertones throughout. The Westboro Baptist Church is one of the most widely hated groups in America, protesting homosexuality, Judiasm, and the funerals of American soldiers. At the age of five, Megan Phelps-Roper was picketing for all of these issues, spreading what she thought was the word of God. It was only when she was in her mid-twenties when she realized the amount of hurt and hate she was spreading. 


This book gives the inside logic and perspective of someone who left the church completely. If you’re interested in hearing her story, I highly recommend reading this. It shows that bigoted ideas are not inherent, but are adopted by ones surroundings and upbringing, and those ideas can still be shifted and unlearned.


If you have enough time between classes, check out some of these books if they sound interesting to you! Reading for your own pleasure is a nice break from 11:59 pm deadlines and your busy schedule.


Take some time for yourself!

Olivia Mize

Denison '22

Hello! I’m Olivia, a student at Denison University, born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I'm majoring in Anthropology & Sociology with a Studio Art minor. I enjoy watching movies, painting, and drawing.