10 Books to Read as a Busy BCA Student

How many times have you heard a BCA student say “I used to read… before I went to BCA”? To help all you aspiring readers of BCA, I compiled a list of books that I genuinely enjoy in a variety of genres that are on the shorter side, lesser known (The Fault in Our Stars is not in this list, don’t worry) and entertaining. Reading is an activity that enriches your mind without having to leave your house – don’t push it aside so easily. Personally, I know the struggle of trying to balance free time with schoolwork and endless extracurriculars. What works best for me is reading a shorter book that I can comfortably carry around in my backpack and doesn’t take too much memory to pick up where I left off after a week or so.  In no particular order, here are 10 Books to Read as a Busy BCA Student.

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

This is an amazing story about love, friendship and identity. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all with an unusual way of looking at the world. They start a special and strong type of friendship. I don’t want to give too much away, because I think it’s better to know less when you go into this. I strongly recommend this- and it’s easily manageable to read at 359 pages.


2. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Personally, I have not read this book. However, I gave it as a gift to one of my friends and she really loved it. It’s written by the beloved Neil DeGrasse Tyson, so what could go wrong? He is a well-known and appraised astrophysicist who has written many books on the topic. If you are interested in sciencenon-fiction novels but don’t have the time or the mental attention to stick to dense readings of complicated ideas, this is perfect. Liliana Seoror, a sophomore in AEDT said her “favorite part of the book was when he described Albert Einstein as a badass for developing his Theory of Relativity.” Astrophysics is incredibly interesting- there are black holes, colliding galaxies and theories of parallel universes that will boggle your mind. Looking for an informative, accessible read on an intense topic? Read this 222 page book! (Or check out the audio book in Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s sonorous voice to listen to as you hurry from place to place.)


3. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist is a collection of essays by Roxane Gay, covering a broad variety of topics that generally relate to feminism. There’s intimate essays about sexual harassment, women’s portrayal in media, and an exploration of what privilege is and who has it. She also writes about race and politics, and the rights women should have to their own bodies. These essays broadened my mind and changed the way I thought about racial issues and the public’s view of feminism. If you are interested in reading about feminism, I strongly recommend this. Being that it is a collection of essays, you can always pick and choose which ones interest you.


4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfield

Warning: This book is dark and disturbing. It’s about humanity at its worse and contains a variety of sexual abuse, violence and drug use. The story takes place focused about the inmates on death row awaiting the death penalty. It switches perspectives of a man on death row with an unknown identity who narrates about the other men around him and other characters, including a priest seeking redemption, guards who believe the prisoners deserve to die, and a lady working hard to save them all. Although it’s not easy to read, it is beautifully and hauntingly written. I became enraptured in the storyline and the characters while reading it, and it provokes thought about how, in the end, every monster has their own story. It clocks in at 233 pages and, if you’re up to it, I highly recommend this read.

5. My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins

This heart-warming holiday collection of short stories will make you want to snuggle in a blanket with a cup of tea and read. This is a collection of 12 holiday stories by popular young adult authors (Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Kiersten White, David Levithan, etc.) It’s really nice to read when it’s snowing outside, and you can always pick and choose which ones interest you. Some of my favorites were “Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell, “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins and “The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor.


6. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

If you’re friends with me, I have probably told you to read this book. This book is dual perspective, and it switches between twins, Noah and Jude. Noah tells his story in the “early years” when they are about 14, and Jude gives her side of the story when they are around 17. A tragedy happened in  between their storylines; it has caused Jude and Noah to almost switch their personalities. Throughout the novel, you come closer and closer to finding answers as to what happened and why this happened. It’s written in beautiful prose, with metaphors and language that make this a work of art. It’s 371 pages long and your inevitable craving for answers will keep you reaching for this book.

Maya Iwabuchi, a sophomore in AVPA, said “It’s one of my favorite books, and it’s really cute in that cheesy way. It’s a bit of an unconventional story, but the story line has cheesy moments which I think are adorable. Overall, this book is extremely artistic, in that it carefully documents what an artist is feeling when they create art, and it hits very close to home for me especially.”


7. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Have you heard of the recent movie Murder on the Orient Express? That was an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name. She’s arguably the world’s best mystery author and And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling mystery novel, published in 1939. This book takes place on an isolated island mansion where 10 strangers have been lured to by a mysterious “U.N. Owen.” After dinner the first night, a recorded message accuses them each of a guilty secret and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. One by one each guest dies as they are stranded on the island.. Who among them is the killer and who will survive? This book is nothing short of thrilling and bone-chilling; it kept me guessing until the very last page. This is definitely worth your time in between studying.


8. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I read this book a couple years ago and I still recall the unforgettable cast of characters. If the magical and ominous plot isn’t enough to keep your interest, the banter and conversation between Blue and Gansey, as well as between Blue and her clairvoyant family, will keep you entertained. The book starts off when Blue and her mother watch the ghosts of the soon-to-be-dead walk past on St. Mark’s Eve, she spots Gansey. She’s drawn to him, but she knows what her family has warned her since she was born; she will cause her true love to die. And the only reason she would see Gansey on St. Mark’s Eve is if she’s his true love… or she killed him. This book and storyline is utterly unique, beautifully written and stocked with great characters that are along for the ride.


9. We Should Hangout Sometime: Embarassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist

If you’re going through a tough time- maybe you bombed your chemistry test, or you’re struggling through rejection- this book will remind you that it’s okay. This book is about Josh Sundquist’s romantic relationships- or rather, lack of them. It’s funny, relatable and also provides a unique perspective to living with a disability; the author is an amputee cancer survivor and lives with only one leg. It’s a quick, fun read that will boost your spirits.


10. The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian was a blockbuster movie recently, which was very good, but the book is remarkable. If you’re interested in science or science fiction, this book has a very interesting plot and makes you feel like you understand advanced chemistry and physics- even if you really don’t. Tycho Bogdanowitsch, a sophomore in AEDT, said he “enjoyed the genius way Andy Weir combined real scientific principles with an engrossing plot line.” This is about an astronaut who is left alone on Mars because his crew-members thought he had died in a sandstorm. He puts on a brave face and uses his knowledge and resourcefulness to create innovative strategies to survive on a harsh and desolate planet. And, in the face of the infinite complications he faces, he maintains a sense of humor that encourages him to keep fighting. This book is the account of his journal, in which he recounts what he does each day and how he regulates his food, how he is planning on getting back to Earth, so on and so forth. Possibly the most interesting feature of this book is it is almost entirely factually correct- it’s what would likely happen when humans are sent to Mars. Read this if you’re interested in a darkly humorous science fiction novel- you’re going to want to find out what happens to Watney.