Rebecca Fisher recommends some literature to soothe your troubled souls.

As the new semester begins and assignments start flooding, it’s natural to want to burn every book in a 10 mile radius (ok, not entirely natural: you may want to talk to a counsellor about that one) but for many, books can be the best way to beat those essay blues. Reading has been proven to be not only therapeutic but it also helps improve your memory and vocabulary skills, so you can definitely justify a few hours away from the textbooks with a cup of tea and a stellar read. If you’re new to the wonderful world of reading for pleasure then you are in luck, I’m going to run you through the best books to pick up when you’d rather bang your head against your desk than write another word.

1) The Tearjerker:

Nothing makes you feel better about that Sociology essay then reading about sixteen year old cancer patients who find love. This may sound heartless, but reading a sad story can often times make your problems seem a lot more trivial. Ultimately, tear-jerkers can make you feel a lot more grateful that an assignment is all that’s going wrong. Think of it as a reality check in a written form that will tug at your heart strings and have you texting your friends at 3am telling them how much you value their existence. In terms of stress levels, sometimes a good ol’ cry can do you the world of good. You’ll leave the tear-jerker experience refreshed and ready to get back to work, albeit a little misty eyed.

Top picks: Anything by John Green (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, trust me), The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Wonder by R.J Palacio.

2) The “ it could be worse”: dystopian drama

In a similar vein to the tear-jerker category, these books are designed to make you thank the heavens above that all you have to worry about is an essay. Dystopian series’ are fast paced and thrilling with just enough heart to keep you gripped. They give the reader an insight into a post-apocalyptic world; making us thankful that we aren’t being governed by a corrupt overlord or being pitted against each other in a battle to the death. If Katniss Everdeen can overcome not one, but two Hunger Games then you can get through this assignment. Plus, lots of this fiction comes in trilogies, meaning losing yourself in three books, not one!

Top picks: The AngelFall series by Susan EE, The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner, The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

3) The “It’s a wonderful life”: feel-good reads

Everyone knows at least one person who is the human embodiment of sunshine, who practically beams glitter and rainbows every time they open their mouths. Well, imagine this in book form. When things don’t seem to be going your way, it’s nice to read about a time when they do for someone else. These kinds of books give us hope that the good guys always win in the end and happiness is possible. Who doesn’t like a bit of reckless positivity from time to time? When you’d rather face the consequences and drop out than write another word, these books are a must.

Top picks:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer. E. Smith, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan.

If all else fails and you can’t find a book to soothe your academic woes, nothing beats picking up an old Harry Potter and reliving those days. If you’re lucky enough to be new to the world of witchcraft and wizardry,  you’ll have a field day with seven books worth of magical Hogwarts adventures that beat the movies by a landslide. If Hermione Granger can’t inspire you to get your act together and get back to work then nothing ever will.

Taking part in recreational reading can help develop mental concentration and mental agility so you’re no doubt doing yourself and your grades a favour by taking that well-deserved break and picking up a good book.