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How to Have a Book Girl Summer: my summer TBR

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

Studying for assignments and tests during the year can be time-consuming, and I know I haven’t gotten the time to read as much as I hoped during the academic year. But the summer is here, and it’s the perfect time to dive into those books that have been slowly piling up on your to-be-read list. If you can’t figure out where to start, here are a few ideas for having your book girl summer and indulging in these beautifully resonating stories. 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a deeply poignant tale shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize and later adapted into a film, will stir your emotions. It’s a story that will make you question the boundaries of humanity and the ethics of science. Three students, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, attend an English boarding school where they are isolated from the reality of the natural world as they know it. Ishiguro’s careful depiction of human arrogance and its societal implications will profoundly move you. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a powerful historical fiction, takes you on a thought-provoking journey through three hundred years of Ghana’s history, shedding light on the heartbreaking events that bind a family and nation together. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, were born into different fates in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia, married off to an Englishman who lives in the comfort of Cape Coast Castle, unaware that the cries that haunt her carry her sister’s imprisoned voice, along with thousands of others sold into America’s slave trade. This story follows these characters’ descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, offering a profound insight into the struggle of these nations through the slave trade and British colonization.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

A contemporary romance novel, Open Water is a beautifully written love story that explores themes of race, masculinity, and identity. The story begins in South East London, where two African-British artists meet and follow their struggles to belong in a world that fails to see these characters as more than a black body. This novel is an introspection of race and masculinity. Even when two people seem so perfectly aligned with each other, fear and violence manage to tear their souls apart. 

I hope these summer recommendations pull you out of your reading slump after exams and make you fall in love with reading again. 

Rida Shahbaz

St. Andrews '27

I am a first-year at the University of St. Andrews, and this is my first year writing for Her Campus. I am majoring in Neuroscience but I love writing, whether poems, short stories, or articles. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue my passion for writing through Her Campus. I grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but now live in Canada in a small town an hour north of Toronto. Growing up, I moved houses and cities a lot, so my idea of ‘home’ was constantly changing. This sort of led me into an identity crisis where I’d often feel like I was in limbo–not particularly belonging to one place. Something that remained a constant for me was writing; it was a way for me to trap my thoughts in time. In all the impermanent aspects of my life, I could cage my words onto paper and create a home between the spaces of each sentence. Through my writing, I hope to make a difference, albeit it is as small as making someone laugh, cry, or both. I truly think there is something so beautiful about moving someone with words. Being a woman of colour and being raised in different parts of the world, I often sought comfort in reading and listening to the experiences of other women. Her Campus allows me to pay that forward and hopefully reach an audience that longs to feel understood.