Ten books to read to forget about that midterm


Everywhere I go on campus, I see people studying.  

Whether it be Lazaridis Hall or the food court, students have their laptops out, papers covering their desk and their heads lowered in concentration. 

To get yourself out of the midterm slump, consider taking a look at these ten novels. 

Photo by: Sadiya Teeple

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugou 

This novel is excellent for students looking for a character to connect to. 

“A lot of characters are quite diverse, and they hit a lot of boxes that people can relate to. The main character is half Latino, Jewish, and bisexual, she’s had a bad upbringing, has trouble with her mental health, friendships, relationships and she can ghosts.” 

Emily-Rose Herron, co-president of Laurier’s book club.  

The central character represents people in many ways, while also having her own quirks. In addition, as she was accepted into Yale university for her ability to see ghosts she experiences imposter syndrome.  

Since midterm season is notorious for imposter syndrome, this book is an interesting way to identify with a character who’s going through the same things as university students. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker 

Released in 1897, this is a classic novel that has influenced many types of media. 

The story follows Jonathan Harker, a man who travels to Transylvania to help Count Dracula finalize a business deal. As Jonathan writes about his experiences in the format of letters to his family and friends, he realizes that Dracula is in fact a vampire and that he’s in grave danger.  

”He’s totally isolated. He can’t speak the native language. When he arrives all the locals are like ‘what are you doing? Where are you going?’ He’s alone in Dracula’s gigantic mansion.”

Emily-Rose Herron, co-president of Laurier’s book club.  

Harker’s experience mimics the experience of a lot of first year students feeling stranded in a new environment.   

They are immersed in a new environment, all while navigating challenges like midterms for the first time.  

“You could associate yourself with any experience no matter how close or far and I think moving out from home could totally be Jonathan Harker going to Dracula’s place,” said Herron. 

Shiver by Junji Ito  

This novel, while also the graphic novel of the month for Laurier’s book club, is a collection of short stories. 

 “They’re only a couple pages, and I think that is great for this time of year because you don’t have to read the whole book,” said Herron.  

As students during this time in the semester are busy, taking a break to read this accessible manga is a  great way to take a short break before getting back to studying. 

“I think it’s called Shiver because most of the stories make you feel gross.”

Emily-Rose Herron, co-president of Laurier’s book club.  

The last story in particular was disgusting, and I felt queasy while reading it.”   

If you’re really looking for something to help you forget about that midterm, Shiver is the novel to pick up.  

 I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Read  

This novel was the book club’s October book of the month.  

Following the story of a woman that goes on a road trip with her boyfriend while she experiencing doubts about their relationship, the novel is an engrossing read.  

 “It’s one of those books where three quarters of the way through everything that you just read gets turned upside down. It’s the quintessential unreliable narrator. The perspective that you’re hearing may not be the real one.”

Emily-Rose Herron, co-president of Laurier’s book club.  

It was such a unique book that “it might take a little brain power away from worrying and put it into thinking about what the hell I just read.” 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson  

This story follows the struggles of a young girl that experiences sexual assault at a party by a senior the summer before her freshman year of high school. She calls the police to shut down the party, but ends up getting bullied in the process and abandoned by her friends.  

“A lot of women struggle to say no in general, and I think they struggle to do that when it’s an older man who’s much bigger than them. That is such an individual female experience that is specific to women.” 

Emily-Rose Herron, co-president of Laurier’s book club.  

Because of everything she’s experienced, her academics also begin to take a toll.  

“She was so smart when she was in elementary school. I think that happens to a lot of girls. They’re bright, but then something happens to them and a lot of important aspects of their life go overlooked because we’re told to just forget about it.” 

 As many female students navigate their first year of university, immersed in this completely new environment, the story of Speak is easy to identify with. Combined with academic stress and the female experience, this is a story a lot of women can see themselves in. 

 IT by Stephen King  

 Taking place in the fictional town of Maine, a demon that takes the form of a clown comes back every few decades to haunt the town by feeding on the fear of the main characters.  

Liam Kraemer, a first year studying history says “It’s good for midterm season because a lot of people have feelings of anxiety about midterms. So you can just pretend instead of dealing with a clown, it’s an exam paper,” said first-year History student Liam Kraemer. 

 “If they can overcome a literal demon, you can overcome exams.” 

 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

 This story follows an ambitious scientist on his quest to bring back the dead. After accomplishing his goals, he begins to realize the consequences of messing with life and death after the monster he brings back starts terrorizing his town.  

Saara Bentley, a first year in the English program says “It’s grabbing. You sit there and read it and don’t think about anything else. That can easily distract me from a midterm.” said Saara Bentley, a first-year English student.  

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder 

 A collection of essays that discuss a wide variety of dark topics ranging from death, love and low self esteem this work by Broder is sure to generate conversation. 

 However, the way Broder delivers the content is what makes the book worth reading.  

 “It’s almost silly that it makes you feel understood. If you’re going through the same thing, you don’t feel like it’s as big of a deal. It makes you feel normalized.”

Aisha Bhatt, co-president of Laurier’s book club.  

 “It’s not lighthearted but she makes more difficult issues easier for people to read and digest.”  

The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada 

This story follows a young woman who moves to rural Japan while dealing with the constant presence of her in-laws. However, she slowly begins to lose her sanity as her experiences get stranger and stranger.  

 “There’s a lot of detailed imagery so I found it really whimsical, the way that it’s described. But then it starts to get creepy because she sees these random creatures around town,” said Bhatt.  

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica 

This novel is a dystopian depiction of a world where animal meat has become poisonous and cannibalism is legalized. Marcos, a worker in the human meat factory, struggles with conforming to society.  

“You see him have this internal struggle with his morals and working at the factory where these humans are made into meat,” said Bhatt. 

 The book goes into very detailed imagery about the process of turning a human into meat for consumption.  

“I couldn’t eat properly for the whole time I was reading this book, and maybe even a little bit afterwards.” 

During exams, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. With constant deadlines and pressure to achieve good grades, books are a great way to escape. 

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