Campus Life | Favorite Books

Campus Life is a biweekly blog about the everyday things happening around Pitt’s campus.

By Shriya Yadamreddi, Staff Writer

Growing up, I always loved reading, but when I was in high school, I found myself only reading for school and not for fun. I read books and short stories because I was forced to by my teachers and realized that I missed reading books that I actually enjoyed. During my freshman year at Pitt, since all of my classes were online and the workload was pretty light, I realized I had a lot of free time and decided to take advantage of it and started to read what I liked again. Ever since then, I try to make time during my day or week and read a few pages of a book, which has not only been enjoyable, but also has helped my mental health a lot.

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite book is, I find that question sometimes impossible to answer because how can I pick just one? So instead of sharing only one of the many books I love and would definitely reread, I decided to share three. It was hard to pick only three out of all of the books I have read, but these books are my favorite of all time.

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The Great Gatsby” is set in the Jazz Age in Long Island, New York, and captures wealth and indulgence through the main characters, Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan, who live in the east and west sides of town. This novel shows the romance and crazy love in the Roaring ‘20s and remains relevant in society today. It is relevant because of its portrayal of universal themes such as human absurdity and the struggle between time and fate coupled with the lack of hope for societal expectations.

As Nick Carraway navigates through Jay Gatsby’s life, he realizes an important universal lesson of how there is always a future that society is always reaching for but never able to grasp. Some might think this book is overly hyped and most likely read it in high school where their teachers might have made the book seem boring, but I promise it is worth the read and is a classic. There is also a movie based on the book starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Tobey Maguire as Nick which is also worth the watch!

“The Shell Seekers” by Rosamund Pilcher

“The Shell Seekers” is a cozy read about the life of the main character Penelope Keeling. As she attempts to reconnect with the people and places she passed through, she examines her relationship with them. Throughout the book, Penelope discovers various things about her father, a great artist, and the stories behind some of his paintings. It is fascinating to see her navigate through her life after suffering a mild heart attack. The book even had me connecting to my own life experiences in losing friendships and trying to rebuild them.

This novel is inspired by basic family values as we see three generations go through various heartaches and passions that keep them all together and close. There is also a movie inspired from this book in which Penelope is played by Angela Lansbury, which is worth the watch!

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a book that will definitely have you reaching for tissues. Enzo is an old dog that was ready to be put down, but his owner Denny was not ready to let him go, like many dog owners. Throughout this book we are taken back to the beginning of Enzo’s life as he learns about cars and racing since Denny is a professional racer. He also watches Eve — Denny’s wife — suffer a terminal illness. However, since Enzo is only a dog, he is unable to let Denny or anyone know what Eve is going through before she gets diagnosed with her illness. As we go through the heartache of the characters, at the end we read about Enzo’s final sweet moment with Denny and a surprising encounter Denny has while he is on a trip.

This was a book that I had to force myself to put down at times because of certain events that were happening in it, but had trouble doing so because I was in anticipation of what was coming next. Like the others, there is also a movie about this book starring actor Milo Ventimiglia as Denny, Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo and Amanda Seyfried as Eve. I have not had the chance to watch this film yet but am eager to very soon!

Shriya writes about a few of her favorite books that she has read over the past few years. Talk to them at [email protected].