Spring break must-read books

Supplement your spring break reading list with the following recommendations spanning prose, poetry, and anime. Photo courtesy of Pexels.


Days of no responsibilities and relaxation are just around the corner. Don’t know what to do with this impending yet foreign concept of free time? Leave your textbooks and laptops behind and check out these spring break must reads.

To some, browsing the shelves of the library’s recommended reads and planning trips to Half Price Books are essential items on this week’s to do list. A whole week devoid of Moodle PDFs, informative textbooks and assigned novels means available brain space for personal reads.

To others, however, the academic obligations associated with reading have tarnished the allure of reading for fun. An entire week free from text is a desired and welcomed reprieve.

According to Australian anthropologist and author Ceridwen Dovey, reading is advantageous for an individual’s mental health. In her essay, “Can Reading Make You Happier?” Dovey explains her experience with a bibliotherapist, as well as her ensuing research and revelations.

“Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm,” wrote Dovey. “Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”

Whether on the beach, in your bed or by the pool, here’s your next assignment:


“Neon in Daylight” by Hermione Hoby

Follow Kate through her sweltering summer in New York City as she takes care of a feline friend, deals with an abandoned long distance relationship back home in England and befriends complete strangers who enliven her stay in the city. Oh, and Hurricane Sandy looms in the distance.

Admittedly purchased via Amazon immediately after discovering this fiction novel, “Neon by Daylight” is for those spring breakers seeking an urban, chill and relatable read. A love for cats or NYC doesn’t hurt either.


“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov

“For all you people who like dark books out there, this one’s for you,” dance performance and psychology double major Natalie Sprovieri said.

Follow middle-aged Humbert Humbert in his romantic pursuit of 12-year-old Dolores “Lolita” Haze in this shocking fictional memoir complete with delusion, lust and obsession. Not for the faint of heart, this novel is complex, intense and controversial.

Nevertheless, Sprovieri recommended “Lolita” because of its originality and thrill.

“It’s super disgusting, but [Nabokov] somehow writes so eloquently and makes it seem like this big twisted love story,” Sprovieri said.


“Feel Free” by Zadie Smith

Bounce around from popular culture to high culture, from political debate to social change with this collection of non-fiction essays by Zadie Smith. Topics range from Jay-Z to Billie Holiday to optimism, despair, art and identity. Blending both unconventional and mainstream, Smith delivers a witty and contemporary array of conservational essays with a casual, intimate and nonlinear style.

Can’t make up your mind on what to read about? Smith offers a sundry assortment of topics at the turn of a page. For all those Bieber fans out there, yes, don’t worry: there’s an essay about him, too.


“The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur

Lose yourself in this second collection of Rupi Kaur’s poetry. Through five botanically-themed sections–titled wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming–Kaur explores themes of growth, healing, ancestry, identity and love.

“The Sun and Her Flowers” is for those spring breakers hoping for something more rhythmic and interpretive than full-blown prose. This collection is for those seeking intellectual and emotional stimulation in brief moments of spare time or long evenings off with poems ranging from multiple lines to multiple pages.


“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

Step into the life of Paul Kalanithi – a neurosurgeon unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal lung cancer – as he transitions from doctor to patient.

Camille Craven, an elementary education major with a mild intervention minor, recommended Kalanithi’s autobiography with zeal.

“It’s so amazing and real and tells the reader exactly like it is,” Craven said. “It’s one of those books you’ll never forget.”

Written in his last 22 months of life, the personalized nature of this autobiography allows readers to live Kalanithi’s life alongside him.

“I felt like I was one of his best friends watching him go through this,” Craven said.


“The World to Come” by Jim Shepard

Pick and choose among this collection of short stories as it bounces from 19th century explorers to 20th century military wives. Laden by undertones and issues involved with what it means to be human, Shepard delves into diverse historical accounts, taking you from nation to nation and century to century.

Can’t get out of town this spring break? Use this novel to transcend physical and temporal barriers as you travel through the pages of Shepard’s short stories.


“Tangerine” by Christine Mangan

Delve into the mystery of Alice Shipley’s missing husband. Having moved to Tangier, Morocco, to escape her past, the last person Alice expects to encounter is her former best friend and college roommate, Lucy Mason. Yet, in the midst of Lucy’s efforts to repair their relationship, Alice’s husband goes missing, and she begins to question everything.

Put your sleuthing efforts to work with this enigmatic fiction novel, guaranteed to add some suspense to your spring break.


“Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind” by Hayao Miyazaki

Looking for something a little less traditional? Get back to the classics of major anime star, Hayao Miyazaki, as he writes and illustrates Princess Nausicaa’s journey to mediate tensions between two warring nations in order to save their dying planet.

Casey Shipstead, a senior science technology and society major who grew up with the genre, spoke highly of Hayao Miyazaki, explaining this author’s prominence in the world of anime today.

“Miyazaki is the Disney of Japanese Manga,” Shipstead said. “He is the most famous Japanese filmmaker and he’s pretty much created a fictional character universe that widely supports a lot of social, political and environmental problems. His work is pretty existential.”

If one is a fan of his work, Shipstead recommended following up with some of Miyazaki’s films, such as “Spirited Away,” “Castle in the Sky” and “Princess Mononoke.”

Free time like that offered by spring break does not come often, Dawgs. Whether you planned to or not, don’t miss out on this opportunity to indulge not only in a good book but in a good book of your choosing–a truly novel idea.



Related posts