So uh.. this is all quite awkward, isn’t it? 

With most of us here in UCD on our third or fourth week in isolation, there is a growing unrest in the general population, as we run out of hair to shave off and bananas to sacrifice to the Gods of banana bread themselves. I took to Instagram to look for suggestions on how to entertain oneself. While some suggestions were less than appropriate, others advocated for the emulsion of the self in reading to distract ourselves from the weird fantasy we are living in. So, we decided to give a couple recommendations: 

The Skyward Series – Brandon Sanderson

If you’re looking for a bout of good ol’ escapism, there is no genre better for the job than fantasy. Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward and its sequel Starsight are the perfect introductions to Sci-Fi. Likeable, but brash, protagonist Spensa lives on Detritus, the post-earth dwelling for humankind that is plagued by attacks of an alien species by the name of the Krell. Accompanied by her luminous pet snail and talking battleship with a penchant for sarcastic comments by the name of M-Bot, Spensa sets out to prove herself as a worthy fighter. The Skyward series offers a plot brimming with gripping battle scenes, that slowly develops into an excellent political critique of the nature of war itself.

Also as they’re long, and we’ll probably be waiting till 2021 for the next instalment, it’s the perfect time to sink yourself into some Sanderson. 

The Communist Manifesto – Friedrich Engels & Karl Marx 

If ever there was a time to destroy the fantasy that Capitalism works, it would be about now. While containing less luminous snails, Engels & Marx make some pretty good points, that are especially of relevance as we watch the major economies around us fold. The Communist Manifesto is definitely the easiest text to start with Marx theory. 

Before you know it, you’ll be carrying your own hammer and sickle everywhere you go.

Depression and Other Magic Tricks – Sabrina Benaim

If perhaps, you’re finding it difficult to sustain attention for periods longer than the average TikTok and are too tired to carry your hammer and sickle, poetry may be more to your taste. Depression and Other Magic Tricks is a reflective collection that focuses on Benaim’s power as much as her depression. Benaim writes in a way that asks the reader to let go of what we believe poetry should be, and soak into her gorgeously intricate exploration of what it means to be powerful. In a time where many of us are scared of what the future holds, and are chastising ourselves for our inability to focus, Benaim’s collection is a reminder to be soft with ourselves, especially in hard times. 

Especially now. Especially if you have been fretting about not having touched the surface of a book for months.


Savannah Murray  – Arts & Lifestyle Writer