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.
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.
by 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.
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?
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor