Summer reads: Books for the bored student

By in Culture

With the sudden shift from frantic scrambling to pass finals to newfound summer freedom, many students have been faced with a critical dilemma. What is one to do when there is nothing left to study? If you’re seeking something to fill the void where there used to be due dates and piles of homework, consider assigning yourself some leisurely readings. Here are some of the Sheaf’s top picks for books to read this summer.

Infinite Jest

by David Foster Wallace  

This is a globally recognized marathon read. Basically, if you’re looking for one book to last you a whole four months, then Infinite Jest is the book for you. If for nothing else, consider reading the book for the community that comes along with it — trust me there are others reading the book right now and they really want to talk about it. Don’t worry, they’ll find you as soon as they hear you crack open the cover.


Summer reading list - Lesia Karalashby Mikhail Bulgakov 

Are you pressed for time? This book is a whirlwind of content crammed into the tiniest of packages. This book could accompany you to an afternoon at the sandbar or a drive to your grandparents’ farm, but be warned — it’s heavier than its size might suggest. Bulgakov writes of isolation, night terrors, the dead of winter in Soviet Russia and a crippling addiction to painkillers. It has heavy content, yet it’s a fulfilling read.

The High Mountains of Portugal

by Yann Martel

I haven’t yet read The Life of Pi but I’m sure it must be good for two reasons. First, it’s been made into a critically acclaimed film. Second, the only Yann Martel book that I have read, The High Mountains of Portugal, is amazing. With a playful narrative of a century-long quest to unearth hidden treasure, it’s full of symbols and the characters are interesting and well developed. This book is one that really sticks with you.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Crawled Out of a Window and Disappeared 

by Jonas Jonasson

Creative, light-hearted and witty, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Crawled Out of a Window and Disappeared is pretty much exactly what it’s long title suggests. A series of unbelievable events arise as a fed-up old man takes on a quest for freedom and autonomy from the confines of his retirement home. Pick it up for a total break from the world — it’s a wholly immersive read.

The Utopia of Rules

by David Graeber

This read would make a timely follow-up to the return of the long-form census — if you’re into things like that. Taking a critical lens to the structure of bureaucracy, The Utopia of Rules is a lighter read to feed your inner angst against the system. It provides interesting arguments and thought-provoking examples while being fairly approachable by the masses. Read this to supplement that three-week summer political studies class you’re taking and get ready to impress your professor with some witty one-liners about Marxism.

She of The Mountains 

by Vivek Shraya 

This novel is so beautifully illustrated you might consider leaving it open somewhere for a while after you’ve finished reading it for some double-purpose décor. She of the Mountains is a poignant and poetic piece combining a queer love story with re-imagined Hindu mythology — the result takes a bite out of the notions of socialized gender.

Saskatoon Girls

by Michael Cuthbertson

If you aren’t tired of coming-of-age stories, and maybe even if you are, check out this novel by the Sheaf alumnus, Michael Cuthbertson. Saskatoon Girls follows one young man forced into the wilds of the bridge city as he navigates to Nelson, British Columbia. It’s a good read and is sure to spark that sense of wanderlust you’re supposed to feel when not in classes, right?

Emily Migchels

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor