Studying for your degree or masters means a LOT of reading. Some of it is fun and enjoyable but a lot of it constitutes rigorous combing through facts and arguments, which can be tiring. When we’re done, reading another book is often the last thing on our minds, but getting lost in a good book can be perfect for taking your mind off studying. Here are five light reads that will help you relax when your studies have got you stressed. You’ll notice most of these books are novellas, the perfect light book to keep in your bag or to read in one session!
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
In today’s burgeoning society of veganism and the ‘flexitarian’ diet, it might feel strange to glance over into a different time and place where choosing not to eat meat is drastic and frowned upon. Written from the perspective of two husbands and a worried sister, Han Kang writes a terrifyingly fascinating psychological drama that explores eroticism, desire, rebellion, and fantasy. It’s a complex read, but short and intense. A truly brilliant read.
In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami
If you like thrillers and horror, this is a short compact story full of suspicion and suspense. Trapped in the mind of our protagonist, Kenji, we can only watch and speculate as he guides American tourist Frank through the back streets of 90’s Tokyo in search of cheap thrills and alcohol only to find nihilistic chaos. Written and translated in a way that reads like ‘the script notes for American Psycho’, this is a fantastic book for those that love good writing that will make you uncomfortable but not want to put down. I imagined Frank as Jonah Hill and never looked at him the same way again. I definitely recommend watching the Netflix series Maniac right after reading.
SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman
Never has it been so easy to get lost in a futuristic fantasy world where illness is gone, people can live forever and the world is governed by a huge supercomputer. But here’s the catch, death has to be handed out by a selected number of hooded figures. Citra and Rowan unexpectedly become apprentices to a well-respected Scythe and taught to kill in every possible manner. But his sudden disappearance shakes the Scythe world and pushes both apprentices to take it upon themselves to find out what happened. If you love futuristic worlds, this is a great series to get into.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
The first non-fiction on the light reads list, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is a fantastic book that gives us a ‘voyeuristic glimpse’ into the problems of others and Gottlieb herself, a psychotherapist. Recommended for those who wish to read more about mental health, but also seek a more humour filled and scandalous read, Lori lets us into the world of therapy filled with moments of growth and relate-ability. A definite must-read if you’ve ever found yourself struggling.
Writings From the Zen Masters by Wumen Huikai
Last on the light reads list, this tiny little book is filled with beautiful stories, rich imagery and infinite wisdom that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. If you’ve ever wanted to be challenged to look at life differently, this book will do it for you in fewer words than most, but boy do they pack a punch. This book is perfect for reading at the end of a study session or at the start of the day.