Who reads in this day and age? For most students, the only long-form reading they do is their readings for class, and let’s be honest — that’s only on good days. Here at the Clog, we think we should read something new and pick up a book before midterm season inevitably comes around and everything else picks up instead. Luckily, today is Read a Book Day. Here are some good reads for you to check out!
“Lonesome Lies Before Us” by Don Lee
There’s a certain lyrical captivation in how some authors are able to write about music, often much to the delight of readers who can’t claim any musical talent for themselves. Yadin is a washed-up musician who has carved out a decent life for himself in central California. Throughout the course of this story, he reconnects with his past life to potentially make one last big wave. “Lonesome Lies Before Us” explores brutal realities as Yadin tries to figure out what he wants in life. His potential fame is at odds with the contentment he had worked so hard to achieve in the first place. This book explores Yadin’s love of his work for its own sake, as he creates music for the art itself.
Similar reads: “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss for its portrayal of music.
“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern
“The Night Circus” has a uniquely magical quality to it. It has a dreamlike feel as each scene captures some sort of otherworldly feeling of fantasy and imagination. Reading the summary on the back of any old book just doesn’t create that same feeling. While at its core “The Night Circus” is a love story, and a stunning one at that, anyone reading it only for the romance is missing out on the rest of the magic.
Similar reads: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling for sheer childish awe and magic.
“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman
An extremely niche story, “The Magicians” is a book everyone of college age should read. A cultural descendant from the storytelling history of “Harry Potter” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” it delves into some of the cultural expectations that have arisen from tradition. This book is a necessary prerequisite for understanding the thematic implications of the subversion of those expectations. It also plays with the implication that it won’t mean anything to the rising generation who grew up without that background. Readers must question how their younger selves would function, given the angst and insecurities of their teenage years, with the ability to literally warp reality around themselves? (For the lazy, there’s also a Syfy TV show that’s supposedly a fairly good translation of the books.)
Similar reads: “Modern Day Harry Potter“ (not a book) for dark, Berkeley-esque humor.
“Confessions” by Kanae Minato
“Confessions” is a dark and absorbing novel that explores the different perspectives of people who were involved in the murder of a schoolteacher’s daughter. The book starts with the teacher herself, in the classroom with the two students who committed the crime. It’s a haunting premise, and the book enthralls you with a sort of morbid disbelief as the story carries on. “Confessions” has an absolutely brilliant voice, writing with sharp and empathetic voices for even the nastiest and most deluded speakers. Some of the chapters, while told from one point of view, are told through the readings of another character’s diary. The strength of the voices keeps the story elements distinct.
Similar reads: “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan for more strong voices.
“The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison
“The Goblin Emperor” is a very unique novel that doesn’t have a central conflict to drive the story. With the sudden, unexpected death of his entire family, a half-goblin boy named Maia is returned from exile and thrust upon the throne. He comes to discover a knack for rulership. The book follows his progression as he learns how to rule and lead. There’s not much more to say without extreme spoilers — given the fairly simple premise — but know that it’s an engrossing read.
Similar reads: “The Amulet of Samarkand” by Jonathan Stroud for a unique take on the coming-of-age YA genre.
“Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A children’s book first published in 1908, this novel covers an orphan girl’s move to a new place in rural Canada and how she adjusts to her new life there. The book’s style helps to embrace the childish delight of novelty and imagination. The immersion into the most banal of everyday things also comes with a brilliant energy that will snatch a smile past your inner cynic.
There you have it, Bears! The Clog’s hot reads for this year’s Read a Book Day. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
Contact Jonathan Lai at [email protected] .