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Although fall is the season of football tailgates, dorm formals and Halloween parties, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with school work and social commitments. Taking some time away from social media and Sakai assignments can be an important part of making sure you aren’t getting burnt out. No matter what your fall plans look like, here are five book recommendations for however you’re feeling.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

There are countless vampire movies out there, from black and white films to sparkly Robert Pattinson, but Bram Stoker’s original vampire story is a case where the book is just as good as (or better) than the movies. The book is written in the form of collected diary entries, letters and newspaper articles, which gives it a “found footage” feel that keeps you interested. If you like horror or mystery novels, you’ll enjoy Dracula

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Centered on a group of eccentric classics students who might as well be considered a cult, The Secret History makes a good cautionary tale of all the wrong ways to deal with school stress. Although it’s an enjoyable story, one of the things it’s best known for is its strong aesthetic component. Despite being set at an ordinary college in the modern era, it makes mundane things like doing homework seem like stills from an old film. If you want a book that will make you feel like finishing that paper or going out and buying a wool coat, The Secret History is for you. 

Inamorata by Joseph Gangemi

This novel follows Martin Finch, a Harvard student during the Prohibition era, who accidentally ends up as part of a committee investigating and debunking psychics and mediums. Martin, who considers himself a nonbeliever in the supernatural, has his convictions tested when he begins to fall for a medium whose powers seem to be real. It’s an easy read and more lighthearted than most typical “ghost stories,” and it’s open to interpretation at the end as to whether it’s a ghost story at all. A little spooky, a little philosophical and a little romantic, Inamorata is a perfect read for a flight home or a road trip. 

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

Although it’s nonfiction, this historical novel doesn’t feel like you’re reading a history book. It does a good job of using historical evidence to paint a realistic picture of each of Henry’s six wives. Although they are often reduced to their death or survival, Henry’s wives are examples of the ways in which women have had a profound impact on society from behind the scenes. If your ideal story has plenty of scandal, intrigue and strong women, this is a good book for you.  

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Fall is a time for friends and family, and there’s no better story about the power of family and sisterhood. Little Women captures both the difficulties and excitements of becoming an adult, something that anyone in college can relate to. Despite being written over a century ago, it still speaks to the importance of strong women supporting each other, a value which is just as important now as it was then. Little Women is the perfect book to enjoy on a lazy Sunday with tea and a warm blanket.

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Elizabeth Stratton

Notre Dame '21

Elizabeth is a junior at Notre Dame studying history and classics.
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