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Top Novels To Get Your Mind Off Things (from 10 different genres)

Top Novels To Get Your Mind Off Things (from 10 different genres) 

 

During midterm season, all college students try to find time for themselves. Personally, whenever I feel stressed out I look for a book to read. I find reading an escape from reality that can take you away just for a little bit from whatever your daily life requires of you. These are some of my favorite books from 10 different genres that I guarantee will take your mind off things for an escape from reality. These books are the top ones from their genres and are easy reads to get into for any and every type of reader. 

 

Historical Fiction: 

 

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah  

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak 

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien 

They Went Left, Monica Hesse 

The War Outside, Monica Hesse 

 

Many of these novels take place in different historical periods from World War II, to post World War II, and more. The characters and stories literally pull you into a different historical time period. The poignant characters feel like something tangible, even if it is in the past. These are some of my favorite historical fiction novels that were easy to get into and kept me engaged the entire time. It is refreshing to switch up genres and read a book about a past historical event. It allows you to learn and witness these characters’ stories all in one. 

 

Autobiographies: 

 

Becoming, Michelle Obama 

The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher 

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

 

These are some of my favorite autobiographies that have taught me something new about life. These autobiographies by famous women contain feminist themes and stories that are necessary for everyone to read. I loved learning about Carrie Fisher’s time on the set of Star Wars, and how she handled fame. Michelle Obama’s autobiography does not disappoint either as it gives a behind the scenes look at the White House and her contributions to society. If you are looking for a nonfiction read from strong women, then these autobiographies are for you. 

 

Dystopian Fiction: 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood 

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins 

The Giver, Lois Lowry 

Legend, Marie Lu 

Lord of the Flies, William Golding 

Scythe, Neal Shusterman

 

These are my favorite dystopian fiction novels from an array of different authors. Personally, this is my favorite genre to read because it allows me to think about society and what could become of society. Dystopian novels are warnings and allow readers to think critically without even knowing it. These novels have some of my favorite literary characters and world-building. Scythe is my most recent read of the list, and it truly is a memorable story that sucks you in. If you are looking for a great escape, these worlds that are worse than our own can be therapeutic when reading to get away from our own present-society. The Handmaid’s Tale is also a great dystopian novel that everyone should read to truly understand women’s rights, and then you can watch the show right after for a great binge on Hulu! 

 

Realistic Fiction: 

 

Looking for Alaska, John Green   (any John Green book)

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart 

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky 

 

Realistic fiction novels are the most known books that people go to for an escape from their own life into another’s that is still similar to their circumstances. The characters from these novels are relatable and each addresses the uphill battles of adolescence. These characters will truly allow you to connect to them as if they are real, and you will learn something about yourself in the process. Every John Green book does this, but my favorite out of all of his is Looking for Alaska. The plot is fast-paced and has memorable, relatable characters. We Were Liars is a realistic fiction novel with a twist of mystery and surprises that I truly didn’t even see coming when I read it. However, it is another top adolescent realistic novel that everyone will enjoy reading. 

 

Fantasy: 

 

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo 

The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare    (any Cassandra Clare book) 

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, Victoria Schwab

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling 

Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan 

A Darker Shade of Magic, Victoria Schwab   (any Victoria Schwab book) 

 

Fantasy is another one of my favorite genres because it is a very distinct escape from our society since it’s so different and imaginable. I love reading novels with intricate but easy to understand magic systems so you can jump right into the plot and the characters. My favorite fantasy novel is Six of Crows because each character is so distinct from diverse backgrounds, sexualities, disabilities, and post-traumatic stress in their own ways. I always recommend this book to my friends who are looking for a quick read and a great adventure as well because the characters go on a heist. The book has romance, adventure, and everything one might need for an easy book to read. Victoria Schwab is a great fantasy author that I recommend to everyone because I have truly never read a bad book by her. Each book has affected me in different ways and has amazing characters that I would want to be friends with in real life. None of her books have disappointed me. Cassandra Clare is also another author that writes many fantasy books and has a collection of series. If you want a modern fantasy book, then the Mortal Instruments series is for you. If you want a 19th century London setting and the best love triangle ever written, then the Infernal Devices trilogy is the best for you. 

 

Romance: 

 

After, Anna Todd     

On the Fence, Kasie West (any of her books) 

The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks  (any of his books)

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon 

Beach Read, Emily Henry 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han 

 

Another genre I go to if I am looking for an easy break to get back into reading is romance. A good romance novel is always nice to read after a long day of studying or homework. Kasie West and Anna Todd contain the most popular young adult romance novels. Their books are easy, realistic reads with cute romances that I have become fond of. If you are looking for romance novels that pack on the drama, then any Nicholas Spark book will do the trick. My most recent romance reads are Beach Read and On the Fence which I read during quarantine. They are short, quick reads that I read in one sitting because the plot kept me engaged, and the relationships were developed and entertaining to read (slow burn relationships!!). 

 

Mystery/Thriller: 

 

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins 

Into the Water, Paula Hawkins 

Big Little Lies,  Liane Moriarity

Nancy Drew, Carolyn Keene 

American Assassin, Vince Flynn 

 

General authors: John Grisham, Sandra Brown 

 

If you are looking for an escape that won’t make you think too much but just enough to wonder who the killer could be, then I recommend a mystery or thriller novel. Paula Hawkins has great mystery thrillers that keep you on your feet with twists and turns. Big Little Lies is another quick read that transports you to the drama and mystery that is attached to the upper class in Monterey. There is a show adaptation to this book as well that does the book justice and is another great HBO binge as well. 

 

Science Fiction: 

 

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card 

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

The Martian, Andy Weir 

Dune, Frank Herbert

Iliuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 

 

Science fiction novels are very distinct in their own world-building and writing style. It is not one of my favorite genres, but when I do pick up a science fiction novel it is usually one that was recommended to me. These are some of my favorite science fiction novels from over the years. Ender’s Game is an iconic science fiction novel that many people have either heard of or seen the movie. The book is much better than the movie adaptation, and it surprised me how much I enjoyed it once I read it. Similar to fantasy novels, it does feel like a true escape when you read these characters’ experiences in worlds that feel beyond our own. I also thoroughly enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time when I was a child and I am looking into re-reading it soon. It is a classic science fiction/fantasy novel that everyone should get the chance to read at some point in their life or to their child. 

 

Classics: 

 

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee 

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger 

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen 

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton 

 

I know classics aren’t everyone’s go-to for reading, but it’s still nice to have options if someone does want to try to read an “easy” classic to get into and finish, especially if you don’t have to read it for school. These are some classics that I was able to read in my own time and not for school assignments. These classics are not difficult to read, understand, or get into. I appreciated these classics because I was able to enhance my reading skills by still enjoying the plots of the novels. I recommend The Outsiders and To Kill a Mockingbird if someone hasn’t read them yet. These two novels address social class, gender, and race. They have memorable characters, such as Ponyboy and Scout Finch, respectively, that everyone’s childhood can relate to them in some way. If you are looking for a classic to read, I highly recommend these. 

 

Literary Fiction:  

 

Where the Crawdads Sing,  Delia Owens 

The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett 

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman   (any Fredrik Backman novel) 

The Alchemist,  Paulo Coelho 

 

Literary fiction is a genre of fictional novels that have a very distinct writing style that explores facets of the human conditions with social commentary too. It is very clear when it is literary fiction when the human condition is clearly analyzed and expanded upon in the novel by getting an insight into the character’s lives. Literary fiction is not difficult to read and contains a majority of my favorite novels. Every Fredrik Backman novel I have read has left me thinking about life, and my own life as well. It gives you a moment to reflect on the characters, and how you can relate it to your life as well. These books have very well-developed plots and characters with the purpose of teaching us about human beings in the process. Where the Crawdads Sing is a poignant novel with romance, mystery, science, and analysis on the human condition. I first picked this novel up because it was on Reese Witherspoon’s book club list. I was immediately attached to the story and characters. I recommend this novel to everyone I see, and if you are looking for a book that truly takes your mind off of everything else in your life, then this is the novel for you. These are also the novels that will pull on your heart-strings, so make sure you have tissues ready. 

 

These are some of my top book recommendations to read during this hectic midterm season for those who feel inclined to do some relaxation and reading to get your mind off things. I hope that every reader can find a novel from each of these genres that suits their interests! 

 

Marisa Silk

Stonehill '24

Marisa Silk is a freshman at Stonehill College studying English and Secondary Education. Marisa is from Norwood, MA. Marisa enjoys reading, writing, drinking tea in the afternoon, and going to the beach. After college, Marisa wants to become an English teacher one day and write professionally as well. She will then receive her Master's in English. Marisa hopes to share her love of reading, writing, television, and music with the rest of Her Campus readers.
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