By Stefani Chudnow

By now, the semester is back in its usual groove and so is your homework load. Over the course of a college semester it’s often hard to find the time and motivation to discover enjoyable books that also read quickly. Here’s my breakdown of fast-paced, stress-relieving books to read when you get a break in your busy schedule.


Winter Morning Walks: 100 Postcards to Jim Harrison by Ted Kooser

If you’re a fan of both poetry and nature, this collection of poems is a superb, fast read. The collection itself is comprised of one hundred poems written by Kooser over the course of a single winter. The winter imagery is awe-inspiring, and the writing is simply magical. I recommend walking around in winter weather, reading the poems aloud as you go.


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This book is an extended letter written by Coates to his son. While the reality of being black in America may be a heavy topic for some to read about, Coates addresses it in a way that really helps you get to know him and recognize the scenarios black people face in our country on a daily basis. Overall, it’s an incredibly important read that people of all races and backgrounds should give a chance.


Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

It’s not often that people above elementary-school age really think about their imaginary friends from their youth. It’s probably even more rare as an adult to think about them as if they have real feelings and real experiences. Memoirs is very enticing in that it’s written from the point of view of eight-year-old Max’s imaginary friend. Two things I can certainly say about it is that it will tug at your emotions, and that it will force you to look at the world from a whole new perspective.

Young Adult Fiction

Dead to You by Lisa McMann

This young adult novel is the only book I have finished in less than a day. The storyline surrounding a kidnapped boy returning to his family is utterly fascinating, the writing is fast-paced and very well-written for a young adult novel, and the twist at the end will leave you reeling for months after finishing. My best advice is to dive right in and don’t look back. Make your friends read it, too.

Children’s Fiction

The City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau

A long-time favorite of mine, The City of Ember series is one of those children’s series whose quality, I believe, is up there with Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Harry Potter. This series about a civilization living underground after a worldwide disaster is one of the most imaginative and thrilling pieces of children’s literature I have ever read. Before you know it, you’ll be turning the last page of The Diamond of Darkhold.

Recognize any of these titles? Do you have any more recommendations? Let us know in the comments.