If there’s one thing St Andrews doesn’t lack, it’s distractions from the extremely enriching and necessary class work which never seems to stop piling up. And here I am, offering you a list of ten more distractions to crowd your browser’s tab bar. If this just happens to be the perfect opportunity for me to re-read these gems instead of writing my essay that’s due in less than three days, then so be it. The following ten short stories are riveting enough to be read all at once, sure to make procrastinating a worthwhile endeavor.
Though the days are creeping shorter, it isn’t winter yet. But it is autumn and autumn is the season when it gets windy, rainy and you want to do anything but study – so it’s also the perfect season to catch up on a bit of reading. Not the reading we’re all so bored of, of essays and papers and textbooks. Of books. Real books. It’s the perfect season to put on your pjs and snuggle up in bed, maybe even with a mug of hot chocolate, and definitely with an old paperback. Here are five cosy autumn reads to help you through those cold days.
It, directed by Andy Muschietti and adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name, debuted early last month. As with most adaptations, the movie has rekindled interest both in the source material (published in 1986) and in its author. While It is certainly one of King’s best works, there are plenty of others in his career as a novelist – over sixty books spanning forty years. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.
In 2014, the American author Roxane Gay jettisoned herself into recognition with her well-written and searing novel Bad Feminist. A self-proclaimed “bad feminist” herself, Gay wrote eloquently about politics, being a woman of colour, and the contradiction of being a feminist while simultaneously loving things that aren’t necessarily in-line with feminist thought (see: Jay-Z’s song lyrics). This year, Gay published a new book of short stories, entitled Difficult Women.
A good book can place you into a culture without having been there, or enhance it further by travelling and recognizing what the authors meant when they were writing. Some of my favorite holidays have been made even better by having a good book by my side that gives me an authentic insight to the culture I’m experiencing.
I understand that everyone reading this won’t be an English Literature student, and that for most reading is far less important than, say, their jobs (pesky, pesky jobs.) Allow me, the girl who has done an extensive amount of legwork in this area, to inform you of the classics that are actually a pleasure to read. Not all of us want to scour our way through War and Peace in the original Russian (hollah my mother,) so here are some lovely and easy-to-read options for your morning commute. And then casually talk about with your parents and/ or elderly relatives over slightly distasteful glasses of wine.
Villains appeal to the basic desires we cultivate from our earliest bedtime stories. They taught us right from wrong, good from bad, and continue to impact the decisions we make into adulthood; that is, if whoever read to you used the voices, otherwise you’re on your own. Antagonists, as we get older, become infinitely more complex than the simple archetypes for jealousy or wrath. Good antagonists, even more so. But they’re what we remember long after the book has been renegaded to the shelf. They’re the characters that truly frighten us, that we hate, or even that we understand the most. I’ll go through these categories and find you the perfect book for those of you who secretly wish for world-domination, or even just to give you an excuse to throw your book against the wall. Apologise to your book bindings, and please don’t break your kindle. Here we go.
Reading, like most things, is a matter of preference; some love it, some hate it and some only bring out the books during the hours spent on the beach in summer. Despite this, it is a sad fact that reading is a pastime met with far more disdain than any others (apart from maybe train spotting or stamp collecting). When you happen to mention your love of literature or that your university degree involves the reading of fiction, some common reactions are either ‘urgh really’ or ‘why would you want to read?’ It is the latter that I think is the most difficult to explain.
If you’ve ever pictured yourself living a life out of Country Living magazine, then this reading list is for you. Country-lit is the literary equivalent of a cup of tea and a hot buttered crumpet on a cold autumnal day. Unlike chick-lit, it is funnier, better written and doesn’t leave you feeling embarrassed when you’re intellectually-smug friend comes over and says, “You’re not actually reading this… are you?” Here are Owl Eyes’ hand-picked selection of our favourite country-lit books…