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Books I Read This Semester Instead of Studying for My Exams

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

I enjoy reading, but busy semesters often limit my indulgence to breaks, leaving me without time for leisure reading for 3-4 months at a stretch. Determined to prioritize my hobbies, I’ve begun proactively reintegrating reading into my routine. So, instead of diligently attending to my college work, I’ve been shamelessly diving into my never-ending book list. Here’s my lineup so far (and it’s spoiler-free, I promise):

“Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone” by Benjamin Stevenson

If you enjoy Agatha Christie-esque murder mysteries with multiple suspects and shocking family secrets, this book might seem like a typical run-of-the-mill story, but it boasts a deep, and nuanced exploration of the characters and the story. The narrator is candid, yet skeptical, with a penchant for “spoilers” deftly dispensing just enough information to keep readers hooked and craving more. I read this book in one sitting and enjoyed it immensely. The plot twists aren’t lazy, and the narrator starts preparing you for the ending from the very first page, even though it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. The story does not rely on any “A-ha” moments, but banks on realizations that creep up on you slowly as the book nears its end, which is a style of writing I thoroughly enjoy. This is definitely on my re-read list.

“Spells for Forgetting” by Adrienne Young

This mystery/romance novel was definitely an interesting read. I don’t read very many books of this combined genre, but it had me hooked. Not in the sense that it was gripping, but because of how much was going on. We have your typical small island setting, complete with a dead body, troubled protagonists, missing people, and a tight-knit community that seems to be guarding a deadly secret. The haunting and ominous atmosphere of the island, coupled with a murder mystery AND magic makes for a unique experience that might leave you with a chill down your spine at every twist and turn.

“Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect” by Benjamin Stevenson

If you can’t tell already, I like murder mysteries. Similar to “Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone”, this book boasts a solid murder with equally suspicious suspects. You might think that train-related-murder-mysteries peaked with “Murder on the Orient Express” (something the narrator also mentions in the book), but I enjoyed it from start to finish. Complete with sleazy nutcases to secret identities, this book was a thrilling read. There are a few trigger warnings the reader should look out for, so proceed with caution.

“Betting on You” by Lynn Painter

Every so often, I read a YA romance novel for a refreshing change, only to find myself lamenting the lack of a hot, dark-haired, 6’4 tall man in my life. But this minor hiccup does not deter me. “Betting on You” delves into our protagonist’s emotional turmoil as a high school student balancing work, school, divorced parents, the unexpected arrival of her mom’s new boyfriend, and a smart-mouth boy who knows exactly which buttons to push. As far as romances go, this book checks all the boxes- fake dating, confusion, and the best friends egging on both parties. It’s a lighter read compared to the other books I have listed here, but enjoyable nonetheless. 

So there you have it, folks- my semester-long journey through the pages of procrastination and productivity. While my professors may not be thrilled with my textbook-to-novel ratio, I like to think I’ve mastered the art of balancing academic rigor with literary delight. I wish all of you happy reading and happy procrastinating.

Sanskriti is an undergraduate astrophysics major who loves to read and is very passionate about making and eating dumplings. She is the current Vice President of the Astronomy Club at Michigan State University, and can often be found hunting for new horror podcasts to listen to.