Must-Reads for Reading Week 2023 Spring

Reading week is on the horizon again! If you’re looking for some good books to read over the break, we’ve got your back. The student staff at the Chapman Learning Commons have compiled our list of recommendations across a range of genres to satisfy your heart’s every desire! 

If you’re looking for more book recommendations, be sure to check out these lists:
Reading Week Fall 2022 and
Reading Week Spring 2022.

Classics never go out of style…

Are you looking to read some of the best stories that literature has to offer? Here are a few of our favorites! 

 Crime and Punishment Book Cover

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Literary Fiction


Rodion Raskolnikov is a poor ex-student in Saint Petersburg who decides to kill an old pawnbroker, convincing himself that such a crime is justifiable. However, once the murder has been committed, he is plagued with paranoia, guilt, and fear. An intricate and powerful story of criminality, poverty, and morality, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is largely considered one of the greatest works of Russian literature. 

Why Nuriya likes it:
I like it, because it is written in my first language – Russian. The wording is so beautiful and so keen on translating the characters’ emotional states. It makes Crime and Punishment a brilliant masterpiece, but unfortunately not a light read. Still, I think it’s the book worth reading in your lifetime.

 Oliver Twist Book Cover

Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens

Literary Fiction

Set in 19th century England, Oliver Twist follows the story of a young orphan boy as he struggles through the dark underbelly of Victorian society in his search for home and happiness. Written in beautiful, distinctively Dickensian prose, Oliver Twist is a poignant exploration of poverty and crime, fate and free will, and identity.

Why Leonard likes it:

This novel is the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time)! I have read it three times and I can even recite the plot! 

Awesome adventures await…

Are you hunting for books with incredible adventures and important themes? Here are some of our favorites!

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

Shehan Karunatilaka

Literary Fiction; Historical Fiction; Fantasy

The recipient of the 2022 Booker Prize, Shehan Karunatilaka’s novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is an exploration of Sri Lanka during the 1980s, when the country was in a period of massive turmoil. The book follows war photographer Maali Almeida who sets out to solve the mystery of his own death. In the process, he hopes to expose the hidden, brutal truths of the Sri Lankan civil war.

Why Amaya likes it:
This novel is a thrilling, whodunnit, political satire that outlines important social issues and problems that are still relevant even now. My only hope is that in the near future this book will be considered a fictional piece and Sri Lanka will have moved on from the corruption and unjust practices highlighted in this book.

 The Seven Moons of Almeida Book Cover

Tales of the Dying Earth

Jack Vance

Science-Fiction, Fantasy

The Tales of the Dying Earth is an omnibus volume comprising all four books in Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series. The stories are set far into the Earth’s future, where the Moon has disappeared and the Sun is quickly fading away. Magic has become a dominant force and the Earth is populated by strange people, savage creatures, and wicked wizards.

Why We like it:
Vance’s worldbuilding is deep, but subtle – you really share in the sense of mystery that most of the characters have in traversing a version of Earth millions of years in the future. The rather amoral nature of some of the characters also lends itself to a bit of dark comedy. The book is also an anthology of short stories rather than a novel, which lends itself well to short reading sessions on the bus, or during a study break.

 Tales of a Dying Earth Book Cover

Love is in the air…

It’s spring and it’s the season of love! If you want to satisfy your cravings for romance novels, we’ve got your back.

 Alone with you in the ether book cover

Alone With You in the Ether

Olivie Blake

Contemporary Fiction; Romance Fiction

Set in Chicago, Alone With You in the Ether is a delicate, intimate story of two people trying to navigate their troubled pasts. Aldo, a PhD student who fixates on time travel, meets Regan, a con-artist who is undergoing court-ordered therapy, at an art institute. They decide to have six conversations with each other and, over the course of these meetings, learn what it means to fall in love.

Why Doua likes it:
I really enjoyed it. I think it really captured how, when you love or fall in love with someone, there’s no reason like “oh, this is why I love you” or “this is why I choose you.” You just love them, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot, so I liked this book.

 Normal People Book Cover

Normal People

Sally Rooney

Contemporary Fiction; Romance Fiction

Long-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and voted as Waterstones’ 2018 Book of the Year, this best-selling novel by author Sally Rooney is a story about two teenagers, Connell and Marianne. The two develop a deep bond as the years pass, and together they explore the intricacies of issues like class, family, and love.

Why Sakura likes it:
Normal People gives a fascinating exploration of the complexities of people’s relationships during different stages of their lives. Plus, it has a good TV show!

Thinking about a better future…

Are you interested in how you can help change the world for the better? Here are our favorite inspiring stories of pioneers in their field that you should check out!

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo


Written by Nobel prize-winning MIT economists, this important book challenges commonly-held assumptions about poverty and economics, drawing on a rich body of evidence from work carried out in dozens of countries around the world. Banerjee and Duflo’s Poor Economics presents a thought-out study on why so much anti-poverty policy has failed over the years and how the battle against poverty can ultimately be won.

Why Angela likes it:
This is a great read because it shows how complex the situations that people face in poverty actually are and why this is crucial to understand in order to be able to help them.

 Poor Economics Book Cover

The Power of Women: A Doctor’s Journey of Hope and Healing

Denis Mukwege

Non-Fiction; Biography

The Power of Women is the story of the Congolese doctor who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in helping victims of sexual violence in a war-torn country. Mukwege makes a powerful call-to-action about the importance of women’s right to health care and basic universal human rights, entreating readers to confront the abuse that is taking place both around the world and in their own communities.  

Why Sara likes it:
This story will restore your faith in humanity. It’s the most heart wrenching yet uplifting book I have read in a long time.  

 The Power of Women: A Doctor's Journey of Hope and Healing Book Cover

If you have any books you’d like to share, please put them in the comments below!

All book cover images are from Amazon



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