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16 Spring Break Reads

With the end of the quarter comes the end of (required) reading about structures of hegemonic masculinity within subterranean cultures, comic book villainy through the lens of nicomachean ethics, cost analysis of aglet exports,  and South Asian animal sexuality.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had a list of books for “pleasure reading” quickly growing in the notes on your phone, your Amazon wishlist, and (hopefully) on your shelves. The ladies of HerCampus Seattle U have collected their favorite books to inspire your spring break reading adventures. Enjoy *~**~~

1. The Windup Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Have you ever wanted to feel like you got sucked into a long, confusing, but wholly enrapturing dream where you explore the roots of evil and human nature shrouded in absurdist mysticism? But like, you also wanted to look really cool and cultured in some dingy coffee shop? Wow. You’re a weirdo, but this book is the perfect fit.

2. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

Hi, this book isn’t only beautifully written and jarring, it’s also of great historical significance, so that’s dope. It explores ethereal political themes (think gender differences, humor, and good versus evil) in a fairly accessible and engaging manner, probing into the darkest recesses of the reader’s mind. Fair warning that this book is hella misogynistic.

3. Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie, known for his young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, is startlingly honest in his writing style, shedding light on both the ugly and the beautiful in this world. Blasphemy is a collection of stories both old and new, which I would argue is an incredibly gutsy move on Alexie’s part– have you ever read an old essay or journal entry and cringed/ destroyed it so that no one would ever find out how truly awful/ embarrassing/ boring you were? Whatever. I’ve been told that this collection is hilarious and emotionally informative, so like, read it.

4. Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood by Alida Nugent

What happens after college ends and ~real life~ begins?? This question is my biggest source of worry, concern, panicked existential crises on holiday weekends, etc. Thank goodness for Alida Nugent who chronicles her awkward transition to ~adulthood~ for those of us about to embark upon that same journey. This book is basically Girls meets Broad City meets crippling alcoholism. Amazon reviewer “Becky” (I swear to you, her username is B-E-C-K-Y) very aptly claims that this book is “Guaranteed to not disappoint, no matter what age you are, or how much you love nachos.” I checked out her profile and she seems super basic, but I somehow trust her. Thank you, Becky.

5. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

From what I’ve heard, this book spans just one day but is filled with some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking, idiosyncratic sentences one might ever hope to read. I would definitely recommend taking this one slowly and with a highlighter in hand.

6. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay 

Word on the street is that this collection of essays “will free you and inspire you in your journey in feminism,” which I think speaks entirely for itself.

7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I’ve been told that this book will reignite your love for nature and prompt meditation on grief, loneliness, independence, and strength. Also, that cover is beautiful.

8. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Word on the street is that this is a perfect #beachread. A love affair on the Italian coast that is later rekindled in Hollywood– basically a soap opera disguised as a book. This is what dreams are made of.

9. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Ya gurl’s been told that this is a hilarious Seattle-based mystery full of Seattle-specific jokes, so if you’re a brat who feels a weird sense of satisfaction from being in on something others are left out of, this is for you. Plus, the cover is hella cute, so that’s nice.

10. Artichoke’s Heart – Suzanne Supplee

Idk about you, but I am v much in love with myself. However, that self-love took a lot of time and a lot of support to foster. This book follows a woman on her own transformative journey of self-discovery (which I realize sounds like a whole lot of nothing, but I’ve been told that this book is fantastic, so like, read it).

11. BossyPants, Tina Fey 

Tina Fey being a powerful, inspiring, and absolutely hysterical woman.

12. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Hi. Wow. Mindy Kaling being another powerful, inspiring, and absolutely hysterical woman.

13. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

If you’ve never read anything by David Sedaris, you must not love yourself. Seriously. This book is a hilarious collection of brief essays for those of us who wanna read a book but need to get eased back into reading, ya know?

14. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid

This is one of those books where you start reading and immediately have to slow down, because it’s just so beautiful and striking and sharp. Also, one time I read this book on the bus and a (very mature) guy couldn’t stop pointing and laughing at the woman’s breast on the cover, so maybe this book will help you to weed out peasant fools not worth your time. Idk. Just a thought.

15. Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace was a genius. Like a literal genius. This collection of essays is incredibly visceral and engaging and thought-provoking and hilarious. Also, I just love a man who breaks literary rules and in that respect, Foster Wallace surpasses my wildest expectations (hello, absurd footnote abuse) while still remaining erudite and incredibly articulate. 

16. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

This collection of essays is Joan Didion’s first piece of nonfiction work, very thoughtfully examining universal truths through those of a very personal nature. This is a fantastic book for those in their twenties as well as those who feel like they are sort of drifting through space and time, lacking true stability. Pour yourself a strong cup of coffee and get ready to get real.

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