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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Viking Voices: What books are students reading throughout the pandemic — besides textbooks?

Students share their favorite reads that have helped entertain them throughout quarantine

By Dia Wondimu

Lindsay Bell standing near a river.
Lindsay Bell standing near a river. // Courtesy of Lindsay Bell

Lindsay Bell (she/her/hers)

Fourth-year

Special Education and Elementary Education

“I just started ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ by V.E. Schwab. I like to roam on BookTok,” [a sect of TikTok where users recommend or discuss books], “and someone had recommended this book.”

“The genres seemed to be just to my liking: adult fiction including fantasy, magic and different worlds.”

“I also fell in love with the cover design, it was just so pretty that I had to buy it. I’m still in the very beginning where ‘world-building’ is happening, so I can’t say much, but based on what I have read so far, it really catches your attention from the get-go and immediately has you intrigued and wondering what is going on.”

“My go-to book during quarantine is ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston, hands down! I fell in love with that book and have re-read it three times already. It’s a great book if you’re looking for some good new adult fiction with LGBTQ+ representation.”

A selfie of Cheyenne Gillespie.
A selfie of Cheyenne Gillespie. // Courtesy of Cheyenne Gillespie

Cheyenne Gillespie (she/her/hers)

Fourth-year

Sociology 

“I’m currently reading ‘East of Eden’ by John Steinbeck.”

“What stands out to me most is the way Steinbeck gives backstories on each character and so easily ties them all together in the book.”

“I would absolutely recommend this book, it’s longer but it’s so easy to get lost into Steinbeck’s words and feel as if you’re seeing the story play out in front of you.”

“My favorite go-to genre is honestly young adult, it’s my guilty pleasure. Really anything written by Kiera Cass or Angie Thomas. I really wish I had more time to read but I’ve been busier during quarantine than I think I’ve ever been.” 

Zoie Johnson posing in between some autumn trees.
Zoie Johnson posing in between some autumn trees. // Courtesy of Zoie Johnson

Zoie Johnson (she/her/hers)

Fourth-year

English Literature with a Secondary Education Endorsement

“[I’m reading] ‘Sacred Lips of the Bronx’.”

“The book is a Stonewall Award book and it addresses the AIDs activism that occurred in the 80s and 90s. The various topics surrounding the AIDs epidemic along with race, class and gender really resonated with me, as the book gives great insight on the effects the epidemic had on people. The writing within the book contains great imagery and the first-person narrative with flashbacks of the main character’s experience helps the reader build an excellent bond with the story.”

“I would recommend this book to others, as the writing techniques the other utilizes help draw the reader in to better understand the message behind the story. The book will also keep you on your toes with the trials faced by the individuals within the book.”

“I have been trying to read more books that are classics such as ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘The Sun Also Rises’.”  

Amber Burnett kicking back on a green couch.
Amber Burnett kicking back on a green couch. // Courtesy of Amber Burnett

Amber Burnett (she/her/hers) 

First-year

Business Management 

“Currently I am engrossed in the newest addition and sequel to ‘Serpent & Dove’ and ‘Blood & Honey’ by Shelby Mahurin

“I am a very picky reader and this series had me hooked from the first couple of pages until the end and furthermore in book two.”

“If you like a book with spitting sarcasm, steaming passion, magic and a battle left unfinished, this is the book for you.” 

A selfie of Lauren R. Besthoff.
A selfie of Lauren R. Besthoff. // Courtesy of Lauren R. Besthoff

Lauren R. Besthoff (she/her/hers) 

Fourth-year

English – Creative Writing

“Currently reading ‘Dig’ by A.S. King.”

“This was one of three books that I could choose from for this week’s unit in my YA [young adult] literature class. I chose this particular book because it had less reviews than the other options, and I was drawn to a story that talked about being white, class and the privileged.”

“I have not finished it yet, but yes I would recommend.”

“During my time in quarantine I’ve been increasingly drawn to comedies — anything that will make me laugh is a plus during this time. Reading has been very therapeutic.”

Tyler Balthrop posing with a camera in the snow.
Tyler Balthrop posing with a camera in the snow. // Courtesy of Tyler Balthrop

Tyler Balthrop (he/him/his) 

Third-year

Geography

“[I’ve been reading] ‘Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack’.”

“What stuck out to me was how up close and personal you feel to this particular pack when you read it. You almost feel as if you are right there with them. A nonfiction book based on a study conducted where this pack was reintroduced to an area and studied to see how they acclimated.”

“What you learn from reading this book is that wolves are far more similar to humans than most people realize. They show compassion and empathy, love and loyalty. They show strength in the face of danger, and they mourn for their dead. A pack acts as a giant family. They even babysit each other’s puppies and bring gifts to each other.”

“I highly recommend this book. I have always had a great fascination for wolves, and this book fits the bill perfectly. It really gives you a new sense of what kind of creature wolves are.”

“If you want to read a short book where you can learn a lot and enjoy every page of it, then read this book.”

“During quarantine, my go-to books are educational and nonfiction books.”

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