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

It is no secret that self-care and taking time for yourself has been more challenging than ever this year, especially as a college student. It is easier to get behind in classes and clubs when almost everything is on Zoom. The burnout from these activities is real and it’s super easy to just sit down and binge Netflix all day—believe me, I’ve been there too many times (hello, “Grey’s Anatomy”). Although a good Netflix sesh is always fun, I have found so much joy in getting back into reading. Finding specific books that I can pick up wisdom from has been one of my favorite forms of self-care during the pandemic. Currently, memoirs are my favorite genre and I love how much you can learn from the life experiences of other people. If you need book inspiration for the summer and beyond—I’ve got you. Here are a few of my favorite books I have read within the past year. Now all you need to do is find a sunny spot outdoors to read and get some Vitamin D.


1. “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?” by Alyssa Mastromanoco

This book is my favorite book I read in 2020, and 2021 to be honest. Alyssa Mastromanoco was Deputy Chief of Staff for President Obama. This book is more than a political memoir, it is full of hilarious stories and accounts of behind-the-scenes action. There is so much to learn from Mastromanoco and her life events. For the first time in a long time, I was genuinely upset when I reached the end of the book and you will most definitely feel the same way, but have no fear, she has a second memoir! So pick up a copy of “So Here’s The Thing” while you’re at it.


2. “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes

If the author’s name looks familiar, you already know this is going to be a great book. 

From the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Scandal” and many more, comes a masterpiece of a memoir. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but this book changed my life. Through listening to her stories of how she said “yes” instead of “no” to everything reasonable in a year, I began to do the same. Until I read this book, I did not realize how often I quickly said “no” to things out of my comfort zone. Thanks to Shonda Rhimes, I have become a more spontaneous, assertive person. She intended to inspire others through her year of yes and you should read it to be inspired too.


3. “The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year” by Matt McCarthy

If you are someone who is looking to be a physician someday or just enjoy reading about hospitals, this book is for you! Dr. McCarthy (the author) wrote this book to talk about his first year in his cardio residency, so the entire book features wild accounts of patients, mentors and fellow residents in a New York City hospital. When I originally read this book, I was on the Pre-Med track; after finishing this book, I was no longer on the Pre-Med track. The open and honest writing of McCarthy makes you envision yourself in his position, and for me, I realized maybe I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore, which is okay. He writes in a way that makes you feel like you’re friends chatting over a cup of coffee about his first year out of medical school. It is a quick, easy, and fun read with a little medical twist.

An Illinois native majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics with a passion for all things health and wellness. A big fan of local coffee shops, traveling, and creating new Spotify playlists.
Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at Saint Louis University. Firm believer in the redemptive power of a single story.