Summer is well and truly behind us, but it appears we are only just beginning to embrace the new season. Yes, it’s time to stop posting Summer holiday throwbacks on Instagram and time to get excited about Autumn before the Christmas festivities are sprung upon us as prematurely as ever. For us students, this time of year can be pretty stressful as we mourn the months of freedom that were over too soon, and come to accept our new reality of presentations, coursework, and heaps of academic reading. Whilst it seems appealing to turn to television for your escape after a day spent at the library, I challenge you to pick up a book to read this term instead. After all, you don’t really need to re-watch that episode of ‘Gossip Girl’ for the tenth time, do you? Here’s a few books I’ve got on my list to get through (or try to!) before the year is over:
Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
When I packed to come back to uni, I brought this book back with me simply because it’s not an unrealistically long novel to read whilst simultaneously trying to do a degree and maintain a social life. The story sees mother and daughter, Rose and Sofia, on a journey to uncover the truth behind Rose’s mysterious paralysis. Set in Southern Spain, this novel is perfect for anyone who is not quite ready to say goodbye to the thought of Summer and sunshine. As the plot unfurls and Sofia’s frustration intensifies, the heat of the Spanish backdrop will ensure you are more than happy to shut the door on all things hot.
Good Me Bad Me – Ali Land
It is the season of Halloween and as the days get shorter and darker, a fascination with crime documentaries and psychological dramas seems to spread. This time last year I spent countless days and nights in bed binge-watching ‘Making a Murderer’, like many of my fellow students. Having since exhausted Netflix’ plethora of serial-killer related materials, I have Ali Land’s book at hand to satisfy this seasonal interest. Telling the story of a teenager who is testifying in court against her murderer mother, ‘Good Me Bad Me’ is a definite page-turner.
Book of Longing – Leonard Cohen
As your uni workload piles up you might be beginning to feel as though you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have time to yourself. As an English student I know that I struggle in these months to find excitement in reading for pleasure and sometimes the last thing I want to do in my spare hour of the day is pick up another book. If you can relate to this feeling of being ‘book-sick’ and the novels on this list seem a little too ambitious considering the lack of free time you have this term, then I encourage you to get yourself a poetry collection. My housemate gave me musical legend Leonard Cohen’s ‘A Book of Longing’ for Christmas last year and I’ve loved having it on my shelf to flick through when I have a spare minute. It’s also illustrated… Need I continue?
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer
Poetry isn’t for everyone, of course, and so the same principle goes for autobiographies. If you’re stuck for time and want a distraction from Uni work, then why not treat yourself to an autobiography that you can freely dip in and out of? You needn’t get yourself into anything too tragic or serious if you’re after something lighthearted; there’s plenty of comedians who have put themselves out there in book-form. Amy Schumer’s ‘The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo’ is one I plan on adding to my bookshelf this month due to numerous recommendations. Despite the title and Amy Schumer’s reputation for sex jokes, I’ve been warned to be prepared to both laugh and cry. Expect many vagina references, much scatology, but also an honest account of the genuinely tough times in Amy Schumer’s life; I share this advice with you as it has been shared with me.
– by Hannah Clifford