Actually enjoy hitting the books this semester

Professors assign required reading that will, most likely, help you grow as a student. Choosing a few books to read on the weekends, however, can help you grow as a person. When you’re ready to take a break from the textbooks, try out one of these books.

Polly Rosenwaike, who teaches creative writing at Eastern Michigan University, recommends “Willful Creatures” by Aimee Bender. Rosenwaike said if she could steal another writer’s imagination, it would be Bender’s.

Characters in the short story collection include a boy with keys for fingers, a family of pumpkin-heads and God.

“Read this book, and you too will want to commit an imagination heist,” she said. “Or, if you’re a nobler person than I am, you’ll just be really glad such an inventive, funny, and soulful writer exists.”

Literature professor at EMU, Joseph Csicsila, recommends one of his favorite American novels, “The Country of the Pointed Firs” by Sarah Orne Jewett.

Csicsilla said a compelling story is lurking below a “deceptively simple” surface. He suggests that readers focus on the narrator and what happens to her.

“I think students would like this because it's very readable,” he said. “[It’s] not too complicated and [it’s] beautifully written, in other words. But at the same time it's a really substantive experience if you give it a chance.”

Lacey Hoffman, a graduate assistant in The Honors College at EMU, recommends “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. She said it’s a powerful book about a painful subject.

Hoffman said the book is a break from the usual “hero” book, where the protagonist does the right thing at the right time, and consequently, makes the book relatable to readers.

“While all people may not be able to identify with Amir’s, [the protagonist], specific situation, I think that they could identify with the experience of facing a less flattering, more realistic picture of ourselves,” she said. “And possibly find that our past mistakes are something to be acknowledged rather than hidden and stifled.”

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