Book Blog: Books that Sum up your University Life

One element of humankind more prevalent than ever in day to day life is our undeniable vanity *closes Instagram app as I type*, but for this blog post it’s actually a desirable trait. Regardless of whether you read a book weekly or just have a summer fling with a 300 pager, we can’t deny our pursuit for characters that remind us of ourselves. From the moody teenage figure to the self-righteousness of Hermione Granger, we spend our literary lives looking for characters that justify our weird (and wonderful) quirks. The good news is that we are now at a point in our lives that deserves to be written about; namely the abundance of ‘campus novels’ dedicated to the mayhem that is university life. Below are a selection of books which are sure to recall memories of your anxious start to life away from home, and the reckless abandonment that quickly hit- leaving us in a pizza induced overdraft.



1. The Marriage Plot: Jeffrey Eugenides

As my favourite author, I’m probably slightly (entirely) biased about Eugenides novels but trust me- this is a good’un. For my fellow literature students who may share a similarly romanticised university vision of sipping coffee amongst intellectuals, while discovering that you are a novelist at heart, this book is for you. I say this as I assume that you too found that your one true passion is actually napping and not novel-writing, but fear not, as we can live vicariously through Eugenide’s Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece. The book provides a new literary heroine in the form of Madeleine Hanna, who attends Ivy League Brown University and becomes caught in a love triangle fit for a Victorian novel. From the many literary references, to the more serious issues of mental health and relationships, this tale is the perfect whirlwind addition to your bookshelf. 

2: Smashed: Growing Up a Drunk Girl - Koren Zailckas

On a slightly more serious note, and for those weak for a dramatic autobiography, this book recounts one woman’s experience with alcohol from a young age, which develops during her time at university. The novel is the story of her time settling into the strange campus environment and trying to understand her new relationships with the people she encounters. Without making you feel guilty about that third cocktail pitcher you had last night, the novel reminds readers of the importance for students to look after themselves in this hectic little bubble we call ‘almost-adulthood’. 

3: Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami Often considered a classic from the Japanese author, this tale is one filled with the political and emotional turmoil of a Tokyo University campus during the 60s. The experience of the main character, consumed by his relationship with two women, leaves you feeling nostalgic about things you didn’t know existed. The cultural descriptions and political setting for the novel adds a breath of fresh air to the ‘campus novel’, and combined with Murakami’s poetic style makes it a perfect read for the Christmas break. Plus, you’ll sound super intellectual adding this to your eclectic literary accomplishments!

4: The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, and Have the Best Years of Your Life

The list wouldn’t be complete without the Her Campus addition to the university scene and with loyal followers across the globe, these words of wisdom are sure to apply to whatever student experience you’ve had. From ‘dating to internships’, the book is filled with tips and helpful advice about dealing with the huge number of opportunities and challenges university offers and comes from HC ladies themselves – enjoy!