PSU Students Recommend their Favorite Books

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Thanksgiving break has finally arrived! A break from Zoom classes means more time for relaxing, eating homemade food and spending time with family. While we all love Tik-Tok and Netflix, why not use this extra time away from work to read a new book?

According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, reading for pleasure can reduce stress levels by 68%, even more than going for a walk or listening to music.

Study co-author David Lewis said in a Huffington Post article, “”It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.”

But what book to choose? VALLEY has compiled a list of book recommendations from Penn State students’ so you can find the perfect one to read this holiday break.

The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller

Leah Cunningham, Junior, Supply Chain 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller tells the story of Patroclus, an exiled prince, and Achilles, a beautiful demi-god, and their journey to the Trojan War. If you like Greek mythology and beautiful prose you will love this book! Be prepared to cry from this epic love story, I know I did!

“Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom

Marisa Varni, Junior, Pre-Vet

Tuesdays with Morrie reminds us to slow down and appreciate each other and that is very important especially during this time we’re living in right now, and it’s a quick read but also full of incredible life lessons and inspiring messages.

Not convinced? Here are some of the many lessons you can learn from this book!

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Lisa Enger, Junior, RPTM

I will always recommend the Harry Potter series. They are timeless books that will allow you to escape the real world. These books are perfect to read during the holidays, and you can even watch the movies afterwards, too!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

MJ Bergin, Junior, Journalism

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has all the key works of a good fantasy book while also feeling like it could be real. It’s written so beautifully and it has a plot I’ve never seen before. Reading it is like the perfect escape, but it also has real world aspects to it so it made me feel like it could all happen.

“Palo Alto” by James Franco

Nicole Rogosky, Junior, Journalism

One of my all-time favorite books is Palo Alto by James Franco. Despite him having relationships with underage girls, this book is my comfort book. I really fell in love with the type of writing that feels like a stream of consciousness. Because it’s a collection of short stories, I really feel like I understand each character’s point of view. Each time I read it, I relate to a new character and can see how I’ve changed over time.

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired Navy Seal)

Thomas Kramer, 5th year, RPTM 

I love this book because it helped me through a tough time in my life as a college student and the lessons learned in the book taught me that by making your bed every day it helps you to accomplish your first task of the day and it motivates you to do another task and another. It also taught me that if you cannot do the little things in life correctly you won’t be able to take on the larger tasks and accomplish them. Lastly, if you have a bad day or are going through a tough time, coming back to a made bed enforces that you did one thing right and provides hope that tomorrow will be better.

“The Circle” by Dave Eggers

Adeline Mahoney, Senior, Public Relations

I really enjoyed this book because it’s relevant to how social media use has progressed so much today and has become a huge part of our generation.

“Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel

Kailee Clemens, Junior, Advertising/Public Relations

One of my favorite reads is Darling Rose Gold, which is based on a chilling, true story.  It is a story of a mother-daughter relationship, and it is just the right amount of dark and twisted to keep you turning the page. Rose Gold’s mother would put chemicals in her food to make her sick.  Rose Gold was only able to leave the house to go to doctor’s appointments for her ‘mystery illness.’ The mom is eventually caught, and years later, roles become reversed when the mom gets released from jail.  Rose Gold, now an adult with a daughter of her own, lets her mom live with her as she gets accustomed to normal life again.  However, Rose Gold may not be as forgiving as she seems. I would recommend this book if you like psychological thrillers.  It is a story that has stuck with me to this day.

“We Were Liars” by E.Lockhart

Emily Laird, Junior, HDFS and Spanish

I cannot recommend this novel enough. I read this thrilling and mysterious book in one sitting! I think it’s best if you don’t know much going into the book, but if you are in the mood for a deep, emotional story that will have you thinking about these characters well beyond the last page, then this is the book for you!

What book are you going to read? Snap a picture of your book and show us on Instagram @VALLEYMag!



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