The first week of university sparks the cries of ‘new year, new me’. Pot Noodle supply? Check. Books? Not so much. However, books in all forms can be beneficial to you, be you a STEM Fresher or a third year Literature student. After all, Bill Gates reads about fifty books a year so it’s definitely not restricted to us Humanities lot. They can help make the academic year a whole lot easier to survive and if you don’t know where to start, this guide is perfect for you.
We’re starting off light. Technically not a ‘reading book’, but definitely an essential if you’re the sort of person who struggles with organisation or one who needs a strong plan. For those who are not au-fait with the ‘bujo’ set, it is a planning routine designed by Ryder Carroll, ‘to help you track the past, organise the present and plan for the future’. Journals can range from Tumblr aesthetics to standard notebooks. Google ‘bullet journal layout’ and you’ll see plethoras of ideas- mental-health trackers, to-do lists, and daily diaries, to help you plan as much as you need.
The next most important thing (though that ranking is up for debate) is food. For some, university marks the very first time they have cooked, others have been whipping out gourmet meals for years. Amateur or Masterchef winner, there are cookbooks out there that are well worth your money. I cannot recommend highly enough the ‘MOB Kitchen’ books. The recipes feed four for under ten pounds, so are perfect for when you’re cooking for a flat, plus it comes with a playlist to jam to while you cook.
Another top choice is Jack Monroe’s Cooking on a Boot-Strap, which includes 100 simple recipes that are budget-friendly and super easy to adapt for allergies or lifestyle needs. Finally, it would be wrong of me not to mention Mary Berry’s Quick Cooking. The national hero covers everything from Thai cuisine to speedy cakes so has something for every taste.
Reading for pleasure
Contrary to popular opinion, reading can be fun. Chat with friends and see what they recommend and search your interests on Goodreads until you find something that takes your fancy. If the actual reading is something you struggle with, Audible is your saviour. Just check you like the narrator’s voice first (and avoid the regrets I’ve experienced). To combat homesickness, get your hands on a childhood favourite to help you through lonely moments.
University wouldn’t be complete without the messy nights, so for quality pun-based beverages try Tequila Mocking Bird. To get the pre-Pop party going, The Little Book of Drinking Games, and its companion book The Little Book of Hangovers for the next day’s regrets.
I ought to recommend you read your set texts. Your year will be much more stress-free if you get your texts early and read them, ideally, before the day of the seminar. Look on Amazon, Abe-Books, and second-hand shops for cheap copies: you don’t always have to have the exact edition specified. The university bookshop is well-stocked for all departments and Warwick Literature Society’s ‘Pass The Book page offers students the chance to sell on texts at reduced prices.
Your last option is the library, but there aren’t enough for everyone on the course and a student budget isn’t very accommodating to fines if you tend to be forgetful. Remember, even just a little reading done is better than skipping the whole lot and you’ll thank me when it comes to the exam period.
There are a range of books outside of your required reading that can help you throughout your degree so make the most of what is available and make the academic year that little bit easier.