Getting back into the swing of things: September’s Literature Lineup


Graphic by Mandi Karpo, Editor-in-Chief

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor

As summer draws to a close and we are all slowly slipping back into the school spirit, it can be hard to keep up with any reading we might do in our free time. Luckily, The Pace Press has got you covered with seven different recommendations from our Editors to get you through the start of this semester. These novels can help you cope with the ins and outs of university life, ranging from fictional, fantasy or memoir. Get back into the books with some hand-picked reads for college students. 

Zoe’s pick – “A Brush with Love” by Mazey Eddings 

Trying to find a balance between our academic lives, personal lives and everything in between is a challenge we can all relate to. “A Brush with Love” follows Harper, an overachieving fourth-year dental student who has worked her entire life to get into a top oral surgery residency program. She doesn’t have time for distractions, especially not distractions that involve hunky first-years. But, of course, her life is turned upside-down when she meets 26-year-old Dan, who is just beginning his dental school journey. Between school and her new situationship with Dan, Harper struggles to escape the anxiety that has crippled her since she was a child. A charming rom-com that also tackles important discussions around mental health? My ideal book. This sweet (and slightly steamy), friends-to-lovers read will have you smiling the whole way through. 

Mandi’s pick – “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas 

The first of a five-book series, “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” will leave you with a large ACOTAR-shaped hole by the end of the last novel, making your standards for college hooks-up skyrocket. Transcending into the world of humans and Fae-beings, the readers follow 19-year-old Feyre Archeron in the Human Realm, bordering outside of Prythian, home to Faeries–immortals who, depending on their court origin, have the ability to shape-shift, distort the mind and its memory, fly, produce fire or manipulate water with their fingertips. When Feyre kills a wolf to spare herself, she takes the risk of killing a Fae, potentially compromising a treaty between the two realms: if a human is to kill a Fae, the price in exchange is a human life. Weeks later, a wolf 10 times the size of the one she killed, breaks through her family’s cottage, speaking in a man’s voice, coming to claim the person responsible for killing his friend. Attesting to her crimes, the Fae gives Feyre a choice: either be ripped to ribbons in front of her family or leave with him to live out the remainder of her life in Prythian, where no human has ever come out alive. I finished this series in a week and did nothing but turn pages for the majority of the end of my summer – it was that good. Even my best friend, who hates fantasy, has now been turned to the dark side, into the majestic, sexy world of smutty fan fiction. 

Jaeden’s pick – “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” by Anthony Bourdain 

So much media has been permeated by kitchen and food culture recently (“The Bear,” “Chef’s Table”), and after picking this memoir up, I fear it’s turned me into one of those pretentious people who doesn’t cook but loves to talk about cooking. “Kitchen Confidential” has altered so much of how I appreciate and consume food, especially as a college student whose dinners have often consisted of rubbery Oreos and lukewarm ramen. Bourdain’s writing style is so conversational, and it feels like you’re actually talking to him during a cigarette break; his personality jumps off the page and into your mind. The “Second Course” and “Third Course” of this memoir are hilarious yet informative; if you’ve ever worked in food service, you’ll particularly resonate with the scenes of Machiavellian bosses and behind-the-scenes chaos. Residential students: read the chapters “From Our Kitchen to Your Table” and “How to Cook Like The Pros” to learn how to elevate and enhance your meals, as even little tweaks of influence and revision can make your dinners after a long school day so much more enjoyable.

Lyndsey’s pick – “Normal People” by Sally Rooney 

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a heartbreaking novel detailing the course of an on-again-off-again relationship between Marianne and Connell, as they navigate life beyond their small town. Despite growing up in the same town in Ireland, the novel explores their vastly different lives, intertwined in ways unbeknownst to those around them, bringing to light the harsh reality of going to college and leaving all you know behind. As college students, we all understand this tough transition and Rooney captures it all in a painfully beautiful way, as we feel both the joy and suffering of the undeniable tension between Marianne and Connell. 

Emily’s pick – “Aftershocks” by Nadia Owusu

Recommended to me by Univeristy English professor, Eugene Richie, “Aftershocks” is the memoir and first book of Nadia Owusu, a 2004 graduate of the University. It follows her years as an undergraduate student living in a small Chinatown apartment, often unable to afford food and struggling with her mental health and personal identity. Throughout her childhood, her family moved to many different countries, making it difficult for her to feel as if she belonged in a certain place. This is the story of her discovering her identity and family history in the midst of conflict and the everyday struggles of student life, written with beautiful style and vivid descriptions. 

Sarah’s pick – “The Rest of the Story” by Sarah Dessen

It’s normal to feel lost and afraid at the beginning of a new school year, but you can find solace in the fact that other people feel a similar way. “The Rest of the Story” explores this while giving the reader an escape from reality. Sarah Dessen takes readers on a trip through North Lake, a scenic getaway for the protagonist, Emma Saylor Payne. Throughout this time, she discovers more about her family and, in turn, herself. As you read through the trials and tribulations of her past, you won’t be able to put the book down. Even though it’s fiction, it’s easy to resonate with due to the natural storytelling from Dessen. If you want to be swept away by a story of loss, love and healing, this is the book for you.

Priya’s pick – “Bunny” by Mona Awad

In this dark comedy, Samantha Mackey, a scholarship student at a prestigious MFA Program located in New England, becomes roped into a wealthy and influential clique who have coined one another as “Bunny.” When she receives an invitation to join the group, situations begin to radiate sinister energy as her persona becomes forever intertwined with the Bunnies’ cult-esque rituals. Awad’s knack for dividing readers with one thrilling piece of literature is a skillset all on its own, likely to stick with you whether you love or hate it. If nothing else, this novel serves as a great reminder that my situation can never be that bad.