The semester is kicking off and students are showing off their recreational reading lists.
Walking through the Athletics and Recreation Centre, The Journal interviewed students to see what books they’re reading outside of classes, and found diversity in student interests.
Hamza Iqbal, Sci ’25, is currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. He initially picked up the novel because his siblings said it was an interesting read and thought he would enjoy the story.
Dostoevsky was a Russian novelist who published Crime and Punishment in installments in 1866. The book’s protagonist, Raskolnikov, is an impoverished former student who commits a murder in the slums of St. Petersburg.
The book glances into the psychology of crime and punishment in 19th-century Russia while threading together various characters to see if they can find redemption in the face of their crimes.
“I’m really interested in the psychological progress of the novel. Why did he commit the murder? What happens afterwards?” Iqbal said.
Iqbal found he tends to read books based on recommendations from those he knows and finds this useful because they already have an idea of what he does and doesn’t like.
Though Crime and Punishment investigates themes of morality, redemption, and suffering, it’s also easy to get lost in the world of fantasy when mentally escaping from classes.
Fae and romance are a steamy combination that Maria Del Pilar Ramos, HealthSci ’27, enjoyed this summer when reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.
Published in 2015, A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first book in a five-piece series featuring immortal faeries, magic, and beasts. The series begins when the protagonist, Feyre, is taken to a different realm as punishment for killing a wolf in the woods.
Ramos is an avid reader, and she finds fantasy novels take her mind off the pressure of being in school.
“Fantasy novels are my safe space and I like reading series that connect to each other because the plots can be more intertwined and complicated,” Ramos said.
Her favourite characters are Rhysand and Rowan, whose fantasy names lend them a special quality.
Sometimes students enjoy a fusion of the fantastic with the psychological, and Mya Clark, ArtSci ’24, said Vicious by V.E. Schwab demonstrates the author’s capacity to blend fantasy and science into one novel. This gritty book depicts a grey world where power doesn’t necessarily demonstrate heroism.
The protagonists Victor and Eli begin as brilliant college roommates. In their senior year, they develop supernatural abilities from experimenting with their research.
“The moral lens of the novel is ambiguous which intrigues you to read more, and despite the dark content it’s enjoyable to see what the outcome will be,” Clark said.
The trending theme among these books is the questions of morality and crime, alluding to a sense of mystery for the fall season.
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