Taking Down Time: Tiny Escapes

Being a grad student, being any student for that matter, or just being alive usually means there’s a lot going on and a lot on your mind. There are a myriad of ways to take your mind off things for a little while, but personally I love to read. To me reading takes me away to be someone else who’s somewhere else, for as long as I want to be there. Then at any time you may return there just by getting lost in a thought. I would like to do my part to help you get there.

There’s a lot to say about the many genres of novels out there, each with its own merits and each favoured by different groups of people. For me though, and I’m not ashamed to say it, I think fantasy will always be my favourite. I feel obliged to explain, as I have done on many occasions, the fantasy genre does no equate to teen/adolescent novels written for budding high school students. I can’t stress enough that that is not necessarily the case and many are written for adults.

My love of fantasy novels stems from the deep lingering hope that there’s real magic in the world and I am simply yet to discover it. I don’t share in the faith and devotion that many others have for a plurality of things, but this one thing is something that I’ll always hold out hope for. Also I admire the true creativity and wit required to formulate an entirely new universe from scratch. I could not imagine the difficulty involved in developing new social structures, clothing styles, speech patterns and even the physical laws by which all matter abides for the purpose of a good and having it always be consistent. Luckily, besides quality story telling, this outpouring of effort into world-building also begets sequels. We all love a good series to really lose ourselves in, and of course it also makes for a lot less work in finding your next read.

Taking some time to read can completely take your mind off of upcoming presentations, failed experiments, thesis writing and anything else that might be worrying you. It lets your body and mind have some rest from thinking about the day-to-day stresses and just let go, escape. You might have guessed where this is leading, I want to push some of my favourite books on you so that I have more people in this world to share in the joy that I have received. Mostly just so I can talk about them though. So, here is a short list of recommendations in no particular order, barring the first which belongs there.


The first:

The name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss


The way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson


The Chronicles of the black company – Glen Cook (I liked all 10 of them!)


Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

(Throwing a lot of people a bone for this one. I have beef with a lot of her writing, but still fell in love with the characters, not Harry though he’s insufferable. Also you have to read all 7 or else don’t bother. You’ll have to forgive me if the Cursed Child is some sort of scripted Mona Lisa but I have no kind words for it so we will ignore it completely.)


Ready Played One – Ernest Cline


Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence


Assassins Apprentice – Robin Hobb


The Blade itself – Joe Abercrombie


Magician’s Land – Lev Grossman


Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch


Now, I know what you’re thinking: “That’s just a list, I could have found one on Cosmo except at least they would have told me about the book.” But I don’t think there is any merit in trying to condense literally hundreds of thousands of words down to less than 100 for the purpose of a synopsis. If you want a spoiler then you can look them up easily enough, and what actually happens in the story is of little consequence to know in advance as long as it’s well written.

With that I leave you. If you read any then read the first, happy readings.

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