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Emerald Recommends: Books to comfort you

The weeks leading up to finals can be very stressful. With tests and essays on the horizon, it’s important to practice self care at times like these. Why not escape the crazy stressful world of college for a moment with a book? These picks by Emerald writers Sararosa Davies and Patience Greene will help you power through the weeks ahead, even if they catch your attention for just a moment.

The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind

There’s nothing like losing yourself in an epic fantasy novel, and Goodkind’s have it all; magic, adventure, war, love, discovery, fantastical creatures and spirits from behind the veil. In a classic hero’s journey, the main character is thrown into unknown magic lands with a quest to save the world. He falters along the way and gets captured a few times, but by the end, his kind spirit, fierce intellect and warrior skills leave you asking, “What can’t Richard do?” Sure his character can feel a little unrealistically amazing towards the end, but when you want escape from an imperfect world, sometimes a true hero is what you need. This series also has a badass female lead, comic relief in the form of a wise old wizard, interesting examinations of societal philosophies and fluid prose to move you seamlessly through the fantastic tale.

-Patience Greene

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

On days when adult life is too constricting, overwhelming and dark, diving back into childhood with this classic might be exactly what you need. Anne’s colorful imagination reminds readers to put the spark of curiosity and life into dull moments. Her temper reminds us no matter how significant and terrible life feels in the moment, it is only a small part of the much larger story.

Most of all, Anne’s childish abandon brings back nostalgia for the innocence and freedom of youth spent frolicking with friends. Fans of classic literature and dreamers alike should try skipping away from the adult world with Anne of Green Gables.

-Patience Greene

Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop, edited by Alice Quinn

When unfinished homework is piling up and writing full sentences becomes overwhelming, turn to this book of poems by Elizabeth Bishop to get you through a stressful creative slog. Her poetry is intimate and familiar in its subjects. She makes a simple image like a fish on a hook bloom. Edgar Allan Poe and the Jukebox is made up of excerpts from Bishop’s notebooks throughout the years and includes multiple drafts of her most famous poem, “One Art.”

When you are scared of unfinished work, flip through this book of poems to remind yourself that your work, even in it’s earliest form, is interesting to someone. In the end, Bishop’s poetry is a reminder of the little victories and what they are worth. 

-Sararosa Davies

M Train by Patti Smith

Famous musician, performance artist and writer are all jobs that Patti Smith has held in her 69 years. M Train, a book that lies somewhere on the spectrum between prose and poetry, details the places Smith has haunted in her life from European cafes to her apartment in New York City. M Train is a fleeting one and it passes right through you and it’s the perfect read for a long train or plane ride in that way. M Train is for those who never quite feel at home when they are in one place. Though heavy at times, Smith’s book is a great and beautiful tour of someone’s life and the places that are important to them. Reading it is like finding home in the passage of time.

-Sararosa Davies

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Sararosa Davies

Sararosa Davies

Sararosa Davies is the senior A&C editor at the Emerald. A former editor at the youth-run music blog Garage Music News, her written work has been featured in City Pages in Minneapolis, Eugene Weekly and Sirius XM's music blog. She's one of many Minnesotan transplants in Oregon.

Send her tips and questions at [email protected] or check out her work at