Saturday 24 August 2019

Must-read books for first years

University of Limerick recommends great reads for every incoming college student

Superstar author: John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska are among some of the titles that have dominated the young adolescent section of every library. Photo: Getty Images
Superstar author: John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska are among some of the titles that have dominated the young adolescent section of every library. Photo: Getty Images
Dan Mooney
Dave Eggers
Jane Austen
David Wallace-Wells
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Lucy Caldwell

Every year, the Centre for Teaching & Learning at the University of Limerick (UL) compiles a unique reading list for students as a way of encouraging their reading habits, and helping them to draw from a range of resources as they embark on their studies at the university.

The books span several genres, styles and eras. Each title is carefully selected so that it appeals to all interests, and, in UL, they are supplied to students at no charge in the First Seven Weeks (F7W) HUB through a weekly lending system.

Whether students are looking to catch a break between lectures or need something to keep them occupied on their commute, the F7W has this covered with a number of great titles to choose.

The F7W team kindly shares its list with the Irish Independent to allow this supplement to inspire students everywhere about choices not already on their radar or a book that is worth another look at this juncture in their lives.

Check out the list of this year's reads here...

The Great Unexpected

Dan Mooney

Through an unlikely friendship and an eccentric escape plan, two residents in a nursing home hatch a plan to escape the monotony of their day-to-day life. Filled with colourful characters, sparkling humour, and deep emotion, The Great Unexpected is the story of friendship, finding oneself later in life, and experiencing newfound joy in the most unexpected places. This book warms the heart, invoking a sense of empathy and hope as you engage with these captivating characters.

The Uninhabitable Earth

David Wallace-Wells

Inspired by the New York magazine article of the same name, The Uninhabitable Earth by Wallace-Wells outlines the future of our planet if we carry on living in the way which we do, as global warming continues to threaten our very existence. This book is sure to make you think deeply about the components that are tearing our planet down and hits you with the harsh reality of climate change. This frightening exploration of our possible future is sublime in arousing both fear and hope for what is to come.

Turtles All The Way Down

John Green

You may be familiar with the tales of John Green from The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, which are among some of the titles that have dominated the young adolescent section of every library. This story centres on 16-year-old Aza Holmes, a high school student with OCD and anxiety, and her search for a fugitive billionaire. The novel follows Aza's journey with grief, budding relationships, and close friendships. Green takes on his own experiences with mental illness to explore the turmoil that such a life-affecting issue has on a person, as well as their ambitions and their loved ones.

Being Various

Lucy Caldwell

Do not fancy committing yourself to a full-fledged tale? If so, this is the perfect read for you, as you are presented with a selection of short stories by various writers, from Keith Barry to Sally Rooney. Irish literature is currently in a golden age of writing, and Caldwell's anthology explores a multi-cultural worldview from a diverse range of writers and their experiences to piece together an array of tales. This is the sixth volume of Faber's new Irish short stories, which has had a long-running tradition of exploring the ever-changing lifestyles of different cultures from the world, with a deep-focus on the values of Irish literature.

What is the What

Dave Eggers

What Is the What is a 2006 novel written by Dave Eggers, based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese child refugee who immigrated to the United States under the 'Lost Boys of Sudan' programme. Although classed as a novel, this autobiographical text fuses fact and fiction to spark conversations on world issues while maintaining the integrity of the story's truth. Deng himself collaborated with Eggers to ensure that this story was not only factual, but could touch readers in a way that they could empathise and be inspired to reach higher goals despite strong adversities.

The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Set in post-civil war Barcelona, we follow the journey of Daniel Sempre as he embarks on a mission to locate an elusive writer whose book has sparked mysterious schemes and dangerous associations, all while unravelling one of Barcelona's deepest secrets. The novel is a story within a story, and promises a kaleidoscopic expedition for both the characters and reader alike. Although originally written in Spanish, this international bestseller transcends cultural barriers to explore a dark world that demonstrates the potential for a brighter life by the unyielding power of books.

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

If you have not read or at least made yourself familiar with what is probably one of the biggest novels of all time, then you need to buckle yourself up and oblige to this classic. Following the story of the intelligent, yet often prejudicial Elizabeth Bennett and the wealthy, prideful Mr Darcy, Austen explores the dynamics between social manners and pre-conceived ideas of others. This tale has spanned across generations of readers and has resisted the possibility of becoming out-dated as it explores relatable themes of love, society, and gender issues.

Irish Independent

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