The 5 books every student should read this Christmas

By Emily Markham

The end of term is fast approaching (perhaps a little too prematurely for your deadlines) and it’s a time when you might be thinking about potential gift ideas. Whether it’s something to snuggle with after a term’s hard work or something to give a fresher-to-be, here are five books that should be on your holiday reading list:

  • Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

Meet Cath: fanfiction writer and new university student. She’s also shy, awkward and overwhelmed by the whole thing, and her twin sister has left her to her own devices for the first time. This book shows that it’s okay to not be your typical idea of a university student and that it’s okay to struggle through your first year. On top of that, it’s a sweet story that will have you smiling to the end.

  • Freshers, by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Freshers follows Luke and Phoebe’s first term at university. It’s an adventure through all the strange things students get up to – from the questionable culinary choices to the weirdness of Freshers’ Week – but it also tackles the very real issues that aren’t always talked about. It features messy relationships that don’t work out, the pressure to over-drink and feelings of loneliness, but the sprinkling of silly moments makes this a book you’ll remember with a smile.

  • Girl Up, by Laura Bates

If you haven’t heard of this book, you need to grab a copy before passing it on to your little sister. It’s your feminist handbook for life, complete with appropriate responses to unsolicited comments and pictures, discussions about the relationship between social media and body image, and how to ‘girl up’ in a world that’s still trying to keep you down. Bates’ writing doesn’t hold anything back and the book is littered with cartoons that will have you laughing with every page turn.

  • The Gender Games, by Juno Dawson

A memoir mixed with social commentary, this is a book about Dawson’s experience of transitioning in the public eye as an author, but it’s also about how gender shapes all of us. Why are babies born with gendered expectations already thrust upon them? What impact might this have later on? It’s a book that tackles serious issues with enough warmth to pass a cold winter day inside.

  • Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman

Radio Silence is about so much: identity, family relationships and being yourself. However, it’s the book’s examination of education and the university system that makes it onto this list. It shows the dichotomy between external expectation and our own path in life and that sometimes mental health needs to come before education. It’s about finding friends in unlikely places and how there’s always someone ready to help even if it doesn’t appear so right now.


Featured image: Kyle Hoekstra

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