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Sunday, April 14, 2024 — Houston, TX

Books to read as told by Rice students

Illustrated by Andrea Gomez

By Grace Xu     2/22/22 11:12pm

Caught up in the unending pileup of mid-semester schoolwork or the infinite scroll of social media, it can be difficult to remember the days when reading was for fun. Even though college may be a busier time than before, it is important to continue making time for reflective hobbies and engage in pleasurable growth. Hopefully, with one of the recommendations collected from fellow Rice students below, you’ll be able to re-engage in the joy of leisure reading and discover a new book to check out.

‘Book of Delights’ byRoss Gay

“I can't say enough about this book — it's beautiful, moving, haunting. It brings joy in a way that is indescribable. It's a book to savor.” - Trinity Eimer, Martel College sophomore

Recommended for: the commitment-averse reader, looking for a collection of short yet insightful essays 

‘Such a Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid

“Follows a young black woman who babysits for a rich white family after she gets the police called on her while in a grocery store for ‘kidnapping.’ Such a fantastic exploration of race, privilege and class with extraordinary wit and humor. Funny books are hard to write, no less funny books about serious subjects, but I think this one nailed it.” - Ndidi Nwosu, Will Rice College sophomore

Recommended for: the contemporary fiction reader, looking for discussion on social issues

‘Mistborn’ by Brandon Sanderson

“The trilogy has amazing character development and a pretty unique magic system. The storyline is also very multi-layered — you think you can predict the plot twist until you find out there's a plot twist to the plot twist.” - Janhvi Somaiya, McMurtry College freshman

Recommended for: the newer fantasy reader, looking to join the world of high fantasy

‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

“It deals with really complicated issues including race, identity, and feminism, but does so in the most beautiful and sweeping way. The interactions between the characters are so authentic and emotional. Books never make me cry and I cried at the end of this one.” - Annelise Goldman, McMurtry College senior

Recommended for: the literary reader, looking for a character-driven novel

‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari

“It is a phenomenal and comprehensive study of human history. It verbalizes truths about humanity's existence that we have internalized but seldom express.” - Oliver Hutt-Sierra, Martel College junior

Recommended for: the nonfiction reader, looking for insight from the past into our present

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

“Queer space opera with beautiful prose.” - Sarah Preston, Jones College junior

Recommended for: the seasoned Science Fiction Fantasy reader, looking for a Hugo award-winner

‘The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat’ by Ryszard Kapuściński

“​​A light, short view into Ethiopia during the downfall of Haile Selassie. It introduces a very interesting historical figure and puts you into the mentality of the time.” - Alexander Janssen, Martel freshman

Recommended for: the history buff reader, looking for a new rabbit hole ​​

‘The Silmarillion’ by J.R.R. Tolkien

“​​Tolkien has interesting things to say about how power corrupts us. Also, a gorgeous elf and a hot guy turn into a werewolf and a vampire and go fight the devil.” - Annabelle Crowe, Sid Richardson College senior

Recommended for: the read-before-watching reader, looking to refresh their Tolkien knowledge for the upcoming TV show

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