5 Fiction Books That Help With Early Semester Stress – Amherst Wire


A perfect reading list when you need a break from textbooks

“A Turtle’s Guide to Introversion” by Ton Mak, Iillustrated by Ton Mak

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Comedy

Do you have trouble talking to people in social situations? Have you ever wanted to stay indoors and watch TV instead of going to a party? Does the thought of being in a large crowd make your heart race, and not in a good way? Don’t worry because you are not alone! This illustrated novel will guide you through the daily habits and experiences of well, an introverted turtle of course! This book is not very long with short sentences but meaningful messages beautifully depicted through Mak’s signature art style. It will be a comfort to readers who have felt insecure or invalidated for being introverted. For less introverted readers, this is still a wonderful read to better understand your shy friends.

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, ttranslated by Geoffrey Trousselot

Genre: Magical realism and fantasy fiction

This novel follows the story of a small cafe in Japan surrounded by a rumor that if you order a cup of coffee, you can travel back in time. But it is not that simple. There is a specific set of rules that must be followed to successfully rewind time. The most important rule is that you absolutely must finish drinking your coffee before it gets cold to return to the present. The caveat is that changes in the past will not affect the present. Each chapter focuses on a different person who travels to the past to resolve lingering questions and emotions knowing that nothing will change in the end. This is an emotional and comforting read for those experiencing regrets, losses, and unresolved emotions.

“Tales of Coffee” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, ttranslated by Geoffrey Trousselot

Genre: Magical realism and fantasy fiction

If you’ve read “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” this sequel follows the same premise. A seat, a cup of coffee, and a dropping temperature are the only things standing between a person and time travel. This novel focuses more on the people working in the cafe and how their lives are tied to the ability to go into the past. Only a few specific people can pour that magic cup of coffee on a trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, the baristas at your local cafe can’t serve that kind of cup, but who knows… This book is just as moving and beautifully written as the first.

“Everybody’s an Aliebn when you’re an Aliebn too” by Jonny Sun, Iillustrated by Jonny Sun

Genre: Graphic novel, Science fiction

This graphic novel follows the story of an alien coming to Earth and investigating life on our planet. However, our little alien friend is unique and just can’t seem to blend in with the animals. At a glance, this novel’s interesting spelling choices and simple line art might seem childish, but this story actually covers deep concepts like death, friendships, purpose, and loneliness. This graphic novel is a short read with illustrations taking up most of the pages, but Sun’s unique use of negative space and black and white makes this graphic novel an engaging and surprisingly deep read. Check it out if you crave some introspection on life or just want comfort in having so many unanswered questions.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

No, it’s not based on the famous 2004 Studio Ghibli film of the same name, but it’s the very novel that inspired Miyazaki! This novel focuses on the adventures of a young woman named Sophie as she is welcomed into a chaotic castle controlled by an angry fire demon named Calcifer. There she meets a cowardly wizard named Howl who is rumored to devour the hearts of young women who fall in love with his beauty. Sophie has her own issues to deal with as she has been cursed into an old woman with an attitude. Jones adds so much personality to Sophie and Howl that their witty banter and argument will have you laughing out loud with their shared ridiculousness. This novel is a lighthearted story about friendship, courage, confidence and self-love.


Comments are closed.