Arts and Culture

Trick or treat yourself to spooky fall reads

Whether you’re in the mood for a comfort read or an unsettling one, we have the book recommendation for you.

Not ready to let go of the spooky season yet? After spending two months reading strictly witchy books, thrillers, historical fiction and dark academia-type stories, I’ve compiled a few recommendations for my fellow fall-loving bookworms.

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for comfort reads, so let’s start with those. When I picked up The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston, I already knew it would be fun, but I did not expect this tear-jerking, pun-ny, cozy book. When ghostwriter Florence Day returns to her hometown for her father’s funeral, she encounters a ghost, who happens to be her very confused and very dead editor. This is a story of grief and loss coloured with humour and wholesome romance.

If you’re into the soft-hearted villain, grumpy x sunshine, (soft) enemies to lovers, and doomed romance tropes, pick up A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley. Mariel is a clumsy green witch who messes up a spell and accidentally summons Ozroth the Ruthless, a demon whose mission is to collect witch souls. This spicy rom-com had a cute environmental activism side-quest and fun world-building. A story of self-confidence, this is a feel-good read—but beware of emotional somersaults.

Because I am nothing if not diverse, here are eerie and (I cannot emphasize this enough) unsettling thrillers. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is artfully done. Noemí’s cousin mysteriously asks to be rescued from the house she just moved into with her new husband. When Noemí arrives, she realises every character is creepy, but the house itself is worse—it’s a living nightmare. This isn’t for the faint of heart and addresses disturbing themes (heavy trigger warnings). It’s an uncomfortable read, but a unique experience thanks to the author’s cinematic writing style.

Sharing that energy, my experience reading K. L. Cerra’s Such Pretty Flowers was tainted with utter disbelief and shock. If you’re looking for something macabre and twisted (again, heavy trigger warnings), this one was very weird and addictive. Holly, who has little to no survival instinct, is investigating her brother’s apparent suicide. The book features sapphic romance, gore and a creepy botanic cult. I literally had to put the book down and just stare into the ether at times before diving back in.

“Gourd” book picks to stretch out the fall season // Photo by Xavier Bastien-Ducharme

Moving into historical fiction, yours truly was enchanted to find Anna Maxymiw’s book, Minique. The story follows Minique through her life in New France as she grows up an odd child, suffers numerous tragedies and becomes an isolated witch. Minique is a man-scaring feminist, bold and authentic. As a witchcraft-loving Quebecer, I loved the references to local mythology, and Maxymiw’s lyrical writing felt like a legend in itself. If you loved The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and Circe, you’d probably enjoy this one too.

Because it’s midterm season and I needed something uplifting, I am currently reading and loving The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, featuring a diverse cast and the heartwarming found-family trope. Secret witch Mika Moon receives an odd request: a family needs her help training three little witches with their magic. Charming in its colour and personality, this book is a wholesome escape with adorable characters and a side of romance.

Community Student Life

Book Club at Concordia

Hit your reading goals for 2023 with the Concordia Book Club

Are you a bookworm and don’t know what book on your TBR list to attack first? I have a perfect solution for you: Concordia’s very own book club. 

Journalism student Alexandra Blackie started the Concordia Book Club this winter semester and is looking forward to welcoming many new students to the club. 

Blackie wanted to join a book club when she started university in September, but the only book-related club was Concordia’s comic book club. “No hate to the comic book club but that’s not really my niche,” she said jokingly.

The lack of an actual book club was Blackie’s motivation to kickstart the initiative and form Concordia’s official book club. 

“It did take a little bit of a long time for it to get started. There were a lot of back and forth emails with the CSU,” Blackie explained.

Blackie wanted to create a social space that did not feel like school. She wanted a space where book-lovers could come together to read novels that are either popular right now or ones that not a lot of people know about.

In this club, Blackie doesn’t dictate the books that the club members have to read. 

“I don’t actually choose the books, I gave them a stack for the first meeting that they chose from. We just go through a TBR jar. Everyone sent me titles that they want to read and we go from there,” Blackie said.

In terms of how the club functions, Blackie came to a mutual agreement with the other club members that they would read one book for the entire month. At the end of the month, the club regroups in a meeting.

“We picked our first book at our first meeting over Zoom out of a pile that they chose from. For the next book that we read, we are going to pick from a TBR jar,” Blackie explained. 

This month’s read is The Guest List by Lucy Foley. 

The club currently has 22 members.  As the weather warms up, Blackie hopes to host in-person events like picnics where the club can discuss their current reads.

For interested participants, you can go through the CSU active club portal and email

To All The Books I’ve Never Read Before

How Bookstagram made me feel ashamed of my reading habits

Did you get into a new hobby during quarantine? Maybe you started something you’ve always wanted to try but never found the time to? Or maybe you dedicated more time to an already existing passion?

Whether you got into a new hobby or not, you’ve definitely seen your friends flock to social media to boast about their new hobbies. And let’s be real, it probably made you feel like shit if you were just trying to survive.

Now I won’t lie, I got really into reading during the first quarantine. With all my newfound time, it was just so easy to pick up a book and finish it in just a couple of days, something I was never able to do before. My new passion also made me discover the reading community community, Bookstagram, BookTube and BookTok. These are all places where people like me could share their love of reading, get recommendations and share our thoughts on our latest read.

I fell for the cute montages and pictures of perfectly-scattered books on beds made up with white sheets, thinking how books were not just about reading, but also about the aesthetics. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the dedication these accounts have for keeping up with their aesthetic because I know my cheap and unstable IKEA bookcase in the corner of my room will never be that pretty.

After following a few accounts on different platforms, I also loved getting recommendations and seeing my TBR (term used in the community to refer to someone’s “To Be Read”) list growing. However, when normal life started again, going back to work and school meant I did not have the same amount of time to dedicate to reading.,Determined to hold onto this new personality trait, as a reader, I made it my mission to not lose the hobby completely.

This is when my love for Bookstagram, BookTube and BookTok accounts turned on its heels. The algorithm started showing me more and more book content that made me feel ashamed that I couldn’t keep up with the creators I was seeing. Posts like, “All the books I read this month” or, “How I managed to read over 100 books last year” made me feel major imposter syndrome. Was I not reading enough to be a part of this community?

Reading for me can be a daunting task. I have trouble focusing, and sometimes need to read one sentence, paragraph or even page, over and over again in order to make sure I understood what I just read.

Being proud of myself for reading a book in one week became an underachievement when I’d open social media and see someone I admire had read three in the same amount of time. I realized the community puts a bigger emphasis on quantity than I originally thought, which made me feel like it didn’t matter what I read, just how much I read. The amount of time I would spend curating my library and TBR to fit my interests and topics I wanted to educate myself on felt like a waste. My 20 books in a year record now looked substandard and like it definitely didn’t necessitate a celebratory Instagram post.

Although I know that this is not the message these Bookstagrammers and BookTubers are pushing, comparison is inevitable. Not meeting the same book count as your favorite content creator makes you feel like you’re not doing it right.

Instead, I’m going to try focusing on what I get out of reading, instead of how many books I read — that is still a challenge. After all, I read a lot of non-fiction books about social issues with challenging and hard to digest content. Why read a lot of books if I cannot take the time to appreciate my growth and learning?

I might not read over 100 books a year, and my bookcase might not be filled with aesthetically pleasing covers, but I would never trade that for what I currently get out of reading.


Graphic by Lily Cowper


2022: A promising year for CanLit

2022 may look bleak for most of us, but there’s one upside to the new year: new books! Here are six releases that you won’t want to miss out on

Considering the current state of the world, there’s perhaps no better way to ring in a new year than by getting lost in some fictional worlds. The good news is that 2022 appears to be an exciting year for CanLit. Short story enthusiasts will be particularly satisfied with this year’s upcoming releases. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some books to look forward to. Happy reading!

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Chan’s highly anticipated debut novel is nothing short of harrowing. Perhaps that’s what makes it so worthy of binge-reading. The novel’s main character, Frida, must prove her ability to be the perfect mother following a brief error in judgement. Sent to a reeducation centre for unfit mothers, she must do everything she can to demonstrate that she is a good caregiver or risk losing her child forever. The School for Good Mothers functions as both a commentary on surveillance in modern society, while also providing readers with a riveting tale about the lengths a mother will go to protect their child.

Release date: Jan. 4

People Change by Vivek Shraya

Shraya once again delivers a profoundly moving work that dares to explore collective fears and ideas surrounding change. Shraya delves into the universality of change and hopefully, by the end of this (extremely) digestible book, readers might harbour a new perspective when considering how change shapes each of our lives.

Release date: Jan. 4

A Hero of Our Time by Naben Ruthnum

Ruthnum’s latest novel is a breath of fresh air for the CanLit sphere, one that is simultaneously comedic and very much relevant for the current state of race politics in Canada. A Hero of Our Time does an impressive job exposing the arteries of Canada’s not-so-covert racism in the form of seemingly well-intentioned executives and their workplace diversity policies. Not only does the novel take a hard look at the role race plays in relation to one’s career, but it also explores the repercussions that follow when an attempt from a minority employee is made to dismantle and expose the superficiality of these policies.

Release date: Jan. 11

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Fans of Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s eccentric style will appreciate Fu’s ability to craft fictional worlds where bizarre characters and occurrences are plausible and simply a part of everyday life. Fu’s collection is an ideal choice for those who are new to surreal or speculative fiction and who aren’t necessarily ready to commit themselves to a full-length abstract narrative. This collection of twelve stories is guaranteed to transport readers to peculiar places who may be in desperate need of an escape. This is one book that promises to linger in your mind long after you’ve finished it.

Release date: Feb. 1

Why I’m Here by Jill Frayne

Frayne’s upcoming release is expected to deliver an emotionally heavy narrative that follows teenager Gale and her counsellor, Helen, as they both struggle with their own family issues. As with her 2003 novel, Starting Out in the Afternoon, readers can once again expect vivid descriptions of the Yukon’s pristine and untamed beauty. The only downside of this book is having to wait until summer for its release. Sigh.

Release date: May 1

No Stars in the Sky by Martha Bátiz

Another short story collection that you won’t want to miss out on is Bátiz’s latest book. All stories feature resilient women protagonists who are, in some way or another, undergoing a crisis. Bátiz’s work often explores current social issues, especially those concerning immigrant women. Readers who enjoyed the author’s 2017 collection titled Plaza Requiem: Stories at the Edge of Ordinary Lives can expect to thoroughly enjoy this upcoming collection just as much.

Release date: May 3


Graphic by James Fay

What Should I Read Next?

 Five book suggestions to help you with your daily commute

If there is one thing I love to do, it’s read books, and if there is a second thing I love, it’s to recommend my favourite ones to other people. Getting to share my love of reading with other people is fantastic. I like to think I am a well-read person because I read a variety of genres. With the school year starting up, and with more classes in person, students will be commuting more — so, I figured that I would choose a variety of books to recommend to help make the commute better.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz 

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom is a book that discusses four rules we should follow in order to help better ourselves and our lives. Each rule is followed by a chapter that covers why that agreement is important, and provides information on how the rule can work in our lives, and how we can incorporate them all. The four agreements are: 1) Be impeccable with your word, 2) Don’t take anything personally, 3) Don’t make assumptions, and 4) Do your best.

With the start of back to school season, all the changes happening and the pandemic still going on, this book is amazing because it helps us to be less hard on ourselves. This is a book that focuses on making agreements with yourself. Sure, the self-help genre might be a little overrated sometimes, but Ruiz’s book is different. The Four Agreements allows you to be less hard on yourself and doesn’t sell you some fantasy about how to get rich quickly, or preach platitudes like everything happens for a reason. It is really about looking deeply into yourself and realizing that we aren’t perfect, and shouldn’t need to be perfect.

Home Body by Rupi Kaur 

Home Body is Rupi Kaur’s third poetry book, and like the other two, she captures many events and traumas that have occurred throughout her life. She writes her poems with no capital letters, and there are also her own drawings that accompany her poems.

When travelling, sometimes poetry books make the best companions. Poems get you to think, and with all the movement, sometimes reading something shorter is a little better. Rupi Kaur is an amazing poet with such interesting material; she talks a lot about her experience as a woman of colour and various traumas, and getting to step into her world even for just a short while is so moving. Even her shortest of poems will leave a lasting impact on the reader. I love this poetry collection more than words can express.

The Roommate by Rosie Danan 

The Roommate by Rosie Danan follows Josh and Clara who end up being roommates. Clara comes from a pretty high profile family, and Josh is a pretty well known porn star. At first, they seem like polar opposites, but with time, they realize they might actually be able to get along.

The experience of living with roommates is not all that new to many students, so I thought it would be fun to include a book that explores that as the main premise. This book is fun and presents sex in an interesting way, as the two main characters try to make porn more accessible to women, by making it for women. In my reading, I felt that the way the relationships between characters were described were much more realistic than most of those romance novels with the muscle man on the cover. If you are expecting more than a lighthearted and cute, romantic comedy, then perhaps this is not the book for you. That being said, if you want a cute book to distract you from all the people surrounding you on public transit, then I think this is a great choice!

The Last Time I Lied By Riley Sager 

The Last Time I Lied features Emma, a rising NYC socialite, who goes back to a summer camp fifteen years after an awful event occurred. Back when Emma was at the camp, her roommates left the room one night, and she was the last person who saw them alive. How she remembers things, and what happened are the main questions. Emma uses painting as a means of remembering, and she is asked back to the camp to help with teaching art.

Riley Sager has recently become one of my favourite authors. And of all of his books, this one was the most fitting for going back to school, as it takes place over a summer, and that love of summer goes away once the back to school period starts. This book kept me questioning what was happening the whole time. It’s one of those books that you just cannot seem to put down. The Last Time I Lied is such a good book because it has all the elements of a great suspense novel. It has the thrills, the action, and a lovely little twist that most readers would not expect. What’s better than a book that can captivate you when dealing with a long commute? Just don’t forget to look up once in a while because this is the kind of book that will make you miss your stop.

William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

What if Mean Girls took place in Shakespearean times? That is what William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls tries to answer. The play takes various elements of Much Ado About Nothing and Mean Girls, and creates a whole new way of appreciating both the movie and Shakespeare’s play because it stays true to the Shakespearen style, and includes how this adaptation uses the variety of techniques that Shakespeare uses. The book focuses on the style and ways in which characters interact with each other in Shakespeare’s play, and applies that to the context of a teen high school flic.

Mean Girls is essentially one of the most quotable movies of my time, and Shakespeare is the most known playwright of all time. So, when Doescher combines them it makes for such an unexpectedly exciting and funny read. Also, with it being back to school season, why not go back and relive such a classic movie in a new way. Furthermore, the way William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls is written is so seamless, it feels like the two worlds truly belong together. This play made me laugh so much — it is a fun read and makes for a great commuting companion.


Feature graphic by Madeline Schmidt


What books are on our shelves in 2021?

A glimpse at what The Concordian staff plans to read this year


Lorenza Mezzapelle, Arts Editor

Most of the books I plan on reading this year aren’t even new releases, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Danielle Ofri’s What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine is high up on my list, along with Stephen Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World. I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction and I’m hoping these two will satisfy my curiosity and craving for a good, informative, niche read.

After reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, I look forward to getting my hands on A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines for more of his crude, yet eloquent, accounts of his gastronomic adventures. Reading Kitchen Confidential was like watching a really long episode of No Reservations; I often found myself chuckling at his (mostly) inappropriate jokes, all while being entirely enthralled by what he was saying.

I also recently bought How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan, as well as The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson, both of which I’m super eager to read.


Chloë Lalonde, Creative Director

In all honesty, I’ve been on a reading-for-leisure hiatus for years. University and work has left me wanting to indulge in the immediacy of audio-visual media, rather than the whimsical written world. But recently, and by recent I mean summer/fall 2020, I finished Eva Holland’s Nerve and Marie-Hélène Larochelle’s Daniil & Vanya, for reviewing purposes. It was a great reintroduction to reading for fun, and I hope 2021 can be the year I relearn to love reading. My mom gave me her second copy of the Bridgerton Prequel, First Comes Scandal, and because of TikTok, I will be seeking House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I cannot guarantee I will actually read these, but I really, really hope I do.   


Michelle Lam, Social Media Manager

I’ve also been on a reading-for-leisure hiatus for longer than I care to admit, but I’ve started getting back into it during the winter break! I read 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna Wiest over the break, and recommend it to everyone. I am currently reading The Defining Decade by Meg Jay and am pretty upset that my twenties are being spent during a pandemic.

Up next on my reading list is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb and The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. Maybe I’ll finally finish Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, but don’t hold me to it.

I’m open to book recommendations if you have any!


Aviva Majerczyk, Commentary Editor

Since quarantine and my use of social media more broadly have zapped the attention-holding part of my brain, I find I often gravitate to books of essays over full-fledged novels. With that, as a female writer in her twenties, it seemed only right to start getting into Joan Didion, so I am currently reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Also on my bookshelf needing to be finished is the series of essays, Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. Irby writes in a way that is hilariously self deprecating but not pitiful, I’d definitely recommend it.

Another book I plan on purchasing is Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life by Katherine E. Standefer. I had the privilege of seeing Standefer read an essay of hers at a conference I worked at in 2018, and her prose moved me to tears. I’m incredibly excited to read this memoir (and probably cry again).

Last on my list is Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin. The alt-right pipeline and online radicalization are major interests of mine and Lavin has been sounding the alarm on these issues for years now. So, I’m eager to read her take on the situation.


Katerina Barberio, Revenue Manager

I do not own a bookshelf nor do I ever plan on having one — who even has space for one anyway? Asking a person who does not own a bookshelf which books are on her 2021 book list is quite the tall task. So, I’ll admit: I asked my peers, friends, family and co-workers what they intend to read this year.

Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty, suggested by Amelia Barberio

Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey, suggested by myself

Institute, Stephen King, suggested by Anthony Lepore

Atomic Habits, James Clear, suggested by Sabrina Badin

What I Know For Sure, Oprah Winfrey, suggested by Joanne Erimos

The Investment Zoo, Stephen A. Jarislowsky, suggested by Giovanni Barberio

Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle, suggested by Vicki De Paoli

The Answer is…, Alex Trebek, suggested by Andrew Trombino

Becoming, Michelle Obama, suggested by Louise Starnino

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, suggested by Jessica Trombino

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Holly Jackson, suggested by Alyssa Barberio

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry, suggested by Caroline Chagnon

Home Body, Rupi Kaur, suggested by Julia Rinaldi

Elon Musk, Ashlee Vance, suggested by Frank Trombino

Bonus: Marc Richardson writes for Grailed, an online marketplace where you can buy and sell menswear. His style of writing takes some time to get accustomed to, however, once you do, you wish everyone wrote like him. I definitely intend to read most of his articles in 2021.

I admittedly already read Greenlights from McConaughey which was graciously given to me by my boyfriend. It’s a biography and a story at the same time. This quote summarizes the book: “We cannot fully appreciate the light without the shadows. We have to be thrown off balance to find our footing. It’s better to jump than fall. And here I am.” I mean… alright, alright, alright.


Lillian Roy, Editor-in-Chief 

After one two many nights scrolling endlessly through Tik Tok until 4 a.m., I figured it was finally time to ban phone use before bed. Instead, I took to reading before I go to sleep, a habit that I lost somewhere during my teenage years. So far, I’ve read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, a beautiful book that made me full-on weep, and Brit Bennet’s The Vanishing Half, another great book that I cannot recommend enough. Currently, I’m reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which I haven’t been enjoying as much, but the cheesy enemies-to-friends-to-lovers plot is keeping me going.

I just ordered a bunch of new reading material, so I should be set for awhile. Here it is, with some brief descriptions:

Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See: two children navigate the terrors of WWII

Madeline Miller’s Circe: an adaption of the story of Circe, an enchantress from Greek mythology

Adam Silvera’s They Both Die At The End: two characters find out they’re going to die by the end of the day and decide to go on one last adventure

Kate Elizabeth Russel’s My Dark Vanessa: a woman grapples with the inappropriate relationship she had with a teacher when she was a teenager

Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward: the sole survivor of a plane crash tries to reconnect with himself after losing everything

If you can’t tell, I like to read books that make me cry. Here goes nothing!


Graphic by Lily Cowper.


Note from a Trusty Gryffindor’s Shelf

When I was a kid, my mom and I took turns reading bedtime stories together. Most have burned themselves into my memory: Max and Ruby: Bunny Cakes, Robert Munsch’s Purple, Green and Yellow, Ghost and Pete… The list goes on.

I still dream of the pink, sparkly cake Ruby made in the book; I think of Purple, Green and Yellow every time I use markers of those colours, and find Ghost and Pete’s rhymes stuck in my head obnoxiously often for someone who hasn’t read the book in more than a decade and a half. How many toes does a skeleton have? Ten! Sing it again!

But one book stands out among the rest. One shapes the person I am today, impacts where I choose to travel to, and found me repeatedly jabbing a needle dipped in ink into my left ankle two weekends ago––a line inside of a circle inside of a triangle.

(soft whimsical music playing)

Harry Potter. If you know me, you absolutely knew that was coming. Read on or don’t, I don’t care.

Unfortunately, I often seem to find myself surrounded by people who either are indifferent towards or actively hate Harry Potter. Please hold while I call their mothers to ask if they dropped them on their heads as infants. What kid doesn’t dream of an alternate universe in which the fantastic creatures of our imaginations actually… exist? Also, I don’t think I’ve ever actively hated anything as strongly as these people seem to hate Harry Potter, except maybe beets. What’s up with all the rage, muggles?

I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my childhood playing in an imaginary land my cousins and I created out of thin air. Don’t call a psychologist just yet, pals, because I had a pet dragon and you didn’t. No, I couldn’t see it. But to me, that didn’t mean it wasn’t there (shoutout to Albus Dumbledore). Sydney Buckbeak Bashyball the Third was very much alive to me––he was red, had yellow spikes down his spine, and could spit fire.

I distinctly remember spending hours reading the Harry Potter books from cover to cover as they were released. I went to the events Indigo would host on release dates, during which they kept the stores open until midnight. These books and films shaped my childhood, and, much like “Friends” and “Gilmore Girls,” they feel like home. Heck, I have a Marauder’s Map on my living room wall. Oh, and a poorly-drawn Deathly Hallows symbol on my ankle for the rest of my life.

So, be indifferent towards Harry Potter, if you will, but to actively hate it seems a little unnecessary, and it feels like dismissing magic as a whole. I can’t wrap my head around why anyone would want to do that.

And if you’re one of those people who has never read the books, meaning you’re basing your opinion entirely on the movies––do yourself a favour and read them. I am not ashamed to say that I have yet to find any book as enthralling as this series.

Mischief managed.


Photo by Matthew Coyte.


Read whatever you want to read.

I’ve always been passionate about reading, no matter what type of book it is––as long as it sparks my interest, I’ll read it. I feel that as long as I enjoy what I’m reading, that’s all that matters.

What I really hate though, and honestly don’t understand, is when elitist readers, a.k.a book snobs, tell me what I should and shouldn’t like to read.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been shamed by these book snobs for not liking The Catcher in the Rye, always being told “it’s a classic, how can you not like it” or “it’s a great novel, you must have terrible taste in books.”

All I have to say in response to that is: I like what I like, and that’s all there is to it. Anyways, who are you to judge me for what I like?

I read for myself, and no one else. If I feel like reading  Peppa Pig Goes Swimming, I will. I don’t care if it’s written for four-year-olds—I’m the one reading it, not you.

Literature is subjective, it completely depends on the reader’s taste and opinions, so it’s hard to justify why one book is better than another––and impossible to define one person’s taste as better than another.

Reading makes me happy, it’s my escape, and I love that I get to choose where I want to escape to. So, if someone wants to escape to Leo Tolstoy’s world of Anna Karenina, by all means, go for it and have fun. But the same goes for someone who wants to escape to the world of Peppa Pig.

No one should feel bad for liking to read a certain series or book; it’s the same as feeling bad for liking pineapple on pizza or liking K-pop. This is your life, do what makes you happy, read what you like to read.

Books are expensive enough as it is, so you don’t need to invest in a book that doesn’t interest you just because an elitist reader tells you that you should. Instead, buy that book you’ve been eyeing for the past couple of days, buy the latest release from your favourite author, basically; buy the book that will make you happy.

Just let people read what they like without shaming them. It’s so annoying to be told what to read and what to like.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Writing is not a job, it’s a way of life

On a cold, autumnal weekend, I curled up on my couch, hot chocolate in hand, ready to watch Eat, Pray, Love. Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller, it’s the story of Gilbert herself – played by Julia Roberts – in a borderline existential crisis, unhappy in her marriage, unsatisfied with her personal life, struggling to find herself. Ultimately, she buys three tickets to Italy, India, and Bali to get a new perspective.

Personally, I have always been a fan of the “Eat” part of this movie. Watching Roberts down all the carbs Italy had to offer is all the spiritual journey I need in my life.

However, in that first part of her quest for self-discovery, there is a scene that has always bothered me. A simple detail that may have gone unnoticed by most.

Roberts’ character is having lunch with some friends when they start brainstorming words to describe the various cities they’ve been to.

“Stockholm?”  “Conform.”

“New York?” “Ambition, or sut.”

“Rome?” “SEX!”

Then one of her friends asks her what she believed to be her word. After a few musings, she confidently states, “my word is writer.”

“Yeah, but that’s what you do,” her friend tells her. “It isn’t what you are.”

Liz quietly chews her food and ponders that thought, while I got ready to hurl my mug at the TV screen. If I were Elizabeth Gilbert, as soon as he had uttered those words, I would have put down my fork, stared straight into his eyes, and said:

“Have you ever woken up from a restless night because thoughts were being translated into words, and you just had to get them out? A feeling so strong that the need to find a pen and paper seemed paramount? The words escaping you; your hand moving so fast that your writing would be unintelligible to anyone but yourself? Have you ever felt a lump form in your throat, and nothing could appease it t, but to bleed on paper? Have you ever been in a place so captivating that you just had to describe it down to every single detail, because pictures could never express how it made you feel? Has a thought ever crossed you, and made you reach for your bag, cursing to yourself when you realize you’ve forgotten your notebook at home? Have you ever smiled at the simple sound of how a word made you feel? Until you’ve felt the pain of not being able to pour your words on paper, until you’ve laid your soul bare between the pages of your notebooks; until you’ve felt the magic in your fingertips as you type or write your words, you don’t get to tell me writing is just a job. You don’t get to tell me it doesn’t consume every fibre of my being. Because you don’t question an athlete’s love for a sport. You don’t put in question a musician’s passion, or a painter’s consuming art. So why do you question a writer’s?”


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Note to Shelf: The Downside of Reading

There are many benefits to reading; benefits that your family, teachers, and local librarians never fail to remind you of. You become well-informed and educated, you improve your vocabulary, and you may also become a better person.

Books make you empathetic and teach you to look beyond what meets the eye. Reading deconstructs this black and white mould one is forced into throughout their life. Moral standards are no longer as simple once you become impacted by the literary world.

However, in every reader’s life, there comes a point where we are plagued with what we call a Madame Bovary syndrome. To those foreign to the concept, it is the constant longing for perfect love, the one you have only read about in books. The Madame Bovary syndrome originated from Gustave Flaubert’s infamous novel, Madame Bovary; the story is about young Emma Bovary and her many lovers. Emma is in search of the perfect romance she spent her entire life reading and dreaming about.

I have come to realize that women, more than men, have a tendency to fall prey to this syndrome. Our demise begins with the false advertisement of Romeo and Juliet, a tale of forbidden love that leads to everyone’s death. Dying for love; quite a repetitive theme authors never fail to raise in their novels.

A great example would be The Great Gatsby; one of the novels that has caused the Bovary Syndrome to manifest in my own life. Jay Gatsby, the roaring 20s’ beacon of hope, the embodiment of the American Dream, is one of the many fictional men readers lust over.

Realistically in today’s day and age, Gatsby would be deemed either a stalker or a pussy. This man quite literally shaped his entire life around his lover’s wishes. His wealth, notoriety, and fictional persona were all ploys to get the attention of Daisy, his love interest. He eventually gets shot, an unsurprising consequence of his reckless and passionate feelings for Daisy.

To a green female reader, Gatsby represents everything she dreams of finding in a man. I would love to think we outgrow such romantic notions, somehow learning from Flaubert’s characters and becoming realists.

But most of us don’t. I certainly haven’t.

Granted, I have a more realistic notion of love now than I had at the age of 15, when everything was as passionate as Wuthering Heights, and everyone as chaste as Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

But that sliver of hope still remains; hope that urges me to write down heartfelt letters and send them out into the void. A kind of hope that makes me believe in grand gestures; flowers at my doorstep and candlelit dinners.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I love more than my own independence. But sometimes, just for a split second, I wish to be swept off my feet and thrown into a Jane Austen romance.

Student Life

Some reading week reads reviewed

A touching war story, an inspiring self-love book and a guide to not giving a f*ck

L’Orangeraie- Larry Tremblay

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Larry Tremblay’s French-language book is more than just a novel about war and terrorism–L’Orangeraie is a story about faith and commitment.

The story follows two children, Ahmed and Aziz.  For the twins, the same religion that taught them how to love, will tear them apart. While their native land is being bombarded, a mysterious man approaches the family with an uncanny decision: one brother will have to sacrifice his life for Allah.

This book is an amazing reflection on war from a child’s perspective. The author addresses timely topics such as terrorism, suicide bombers and love with nuance and delicacy. Tremblay does so without falling into heavy melancholy. L’Orangeraie is the kind of book that leaves you speechless. This ethic drama will easily tear at the core of your morality.

While this book is available in English, I recommend reading it in French. This fictitious story takes place in the Middle East, in a region with a French colonial background. Reading the novel in French will make you feel closer to the characters, while giving the whole story more realism.

By Sandrine Pelletier

The Mastery of LoveDon Miguel Ruiz

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The Mastery of Love, by Don Miguel Ruiz, is a self-help book that centres on human relationships. The book explores how humans possess certain fears and assumptions that undermine their ability to love themselves and those around them.

When my friend lent me this book, I was skeptical and unsure about the insight it would give me. I was wrong—I completely adored this book. The author really knows how to convey his message through a personalized vocabulary that made me feel comfortable and serene. Ruiz’s writing is straight-forward and educational. He has this ability to show compassion and love towards the reader. His analogies were helpful, enabling me to reflect on my life and surroundings.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It alleviated some of my personal fears about self-consciousness, social pressure, love and expectations. Ruiz is excellent at making you look at yourself and your loved ones throughout a brighter lens.

By Mina Mazumder

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ckMark Manson

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This gem is the antihero of the self-help section. In a charmingly crude manner, Mark Manson sheds light on something he believes is holding us all back in life: giving too many f*cks about the wrong things. Manson breaks down certain life situations, social constructs and behaviours people get wrapped up in, to show us how toxic we can be to ourselves. The writing style of the book is concise, raw and humourous. In just under 200 pages, Manson reminds you to pick your battles, that you’re not special and that mortality is inevitable. This book is the perfect light read to help you keep yourself in check. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a tough-love friend that you can conveniently carry around in your bag.

By Danielle Gasher

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