Easy books to read between the semester stress

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

If there’s one thing that school has taught me, it’s that it kills any sense of childhood bookworm left in your body. After having to read so many complex textbooks and novels over the years, it wears down people that used to read for fun all the time.

Although, something college has taught me is that it can help you to find that book lover attitude again. At times, the issue can be attempting to read books that are too complex, too long, or that are just plain boring. The key to getting back into reading is finding a book that suits your lifestyle. Someone who doesn’t have much free time to read might opt for a short story over an entire novel. Or, someone who has been forced to read classic literature for school may pick up an easy young adult novel instead of something more intricate. Below are some books or short stories to dive into to rediscover your love of books in all the semester stress.

Shirley Jackson’s short stories: Shirley Jackson is actually the author that got me out of my years-long reading slump. Her writing is easy to comprehend, but her stories always include surprising twists that are jaw-dropping. She mainly focused on writing gothic fiction novels in her lifetime, but within her short stories, there’s something for everyone. While they’re fun stories to read in general, each is actually much more complicated under the surface of the reading, so they’re great to analyze as well. A great story to start with by Jackson is “The Tooth,” which is a psychological gothic short story littered with interesting turns. If you’re looking for an even shorter Jackson story though, “What a Thought” is a quick introduction to Jackson’s style and will still leave you in shock.

“Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo: It’s no surprise that yet another young adult novel has been made into a Netflix series and that the book is much more in-depth than the show. Young adult novels are great for getting back into reading because they usually use simple word choices that can be read quickly and without much thought. “Shadow and Bone” is a good example because it’s a fantasy book that introduces readers to a new literary universe that readers can explore. It also has some enemies to lovers tension and another dark fictional character to fall in love with. This book combines romance and adventure in a way that makes it a little more mature than most young adult novels while keeping the lighthearted nature of the genre.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a commonly known young adult novel but be warned, it is filled with serious content that includes some triggering material. While the emotional load of the book is heavy, it’s actually a really small book written in a stream of consciousness letter format, which makes it an easy read. This book is intriguing because it is more of an adult realistic fiction novel that follows the main character Charlie as he tries to make it through his first year as a high school student while also battling mental health issues. It’s a great novel for anyone trying to find their place in the world, and it’s one of those books that everyone needs to read once. Plus, the author Stephen Chbosky is from Pittsburgh and a lot of the movie was filmed right near downtown.

“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller: There is a section of TikTok referred to as BookTok that has become a dominating factor of what books are popular based on what is trending. This is how the book “The Song of Achilles” came into the recent spotlight after readers explained that it was a gay love story about the Greek warrior Achilles and his companion Patroclus. The novel explores their bond through the eyes of Patroclus, which makes for a heart-wrenching tale. Miller also does a fantastic job covering Greek mythology for any readers unfamiliar with that mythos. One of the best parts about the book is that it keeps the reader entertained from start to finish because just as you think things can’t get any worse, another plot twist occurs. It has more complex speech than some of the other novels; however, this one is great to pick up because you won’t be able to stop reading once you start.

Books are a way to escape the crazy world of today and get lost in life besides your own. Reading teaches life lessons and can even help college readers to find themselves. It can be hard to get out of a reading slump but the feeling of rekindling that love for literature cannot be compared to anything else.