Lookie lookie, some bookies

Abby Buckner, Associate A&C Editor

New bookworms can be spotted unwinding in the solarium as they swipe through a story on an iPad or taking a break in the library with a coffee and book, transporting away from college stress and embracing reading to relax. App State students are picking up more books, and not just the academic kind. Recreational reading is a quiet hobby growing in popularity on campus, with many students discovering a new appreciation for books. 

For freshman exercise science major Mya McClarty, reading is a new interest she said she adopted this semester to decompress before bed.

“You enter into someone else’s life in a way, throughout the whole book you get to be someone you’re not. It’s really nice to get away from your own life sometimes,” McClarty said.

With the arrival of spring semester, winter winds and freezing temperatures welcome shivering students back to campus. Boone’s snowy blanket offers enchanting winter ambience, arguably best enjoyed by gazing out windows from the warm indoors. When cabin fever becomes increasingly challenging and Netflix isn’t satisfying anymore, reading provides an easy escape and entertainment for students.

Certain book genres are garnering more interest than others. Whitney Bevill, the humanities librarian at Belk Library, shared that adult fiction, young adult fiction and thrillers are the most popular genres on campus. She accredited part of the increase in popularity to BookTok, a passionate bibliophilic corner of TikTok dedicated to readers and writers that surfaced during the pandemic.

Those looking to dive into a new story can find a collection of leisure reading books available on the first floor, typically displayed with a curated seasonal theme. The lowest floor also provides an expansive assemblage of books to wander through. For some readers, juggling a paperback while snuggling into a cozy blanket cocoon can be a hassle. While that new book smell is addicting, purchasing books can get expensive and physical copies are not always available at the library. Some students have revamped their reading techniques and turned to online sources as a solution. 

“The pandemic changed people’s reading habits,” Bevill said. “We’ve seen a 93% increase in the use of e-books and audiobooks as people have adapted to e-readers, reading on their phones and audiobooks.” 

Digital reading creates easier access to new or niche books, allowing each reader to find a story to satisfy their interests. OverDrive is App State’s platform for recreational reading and offers a multitude of popular books in English, Spanish, German and French.

Finding the time to read with a busy schedule can be a challenge. Campus organizations host numerous events and, paired with Boone’s multitude of outdoor activities, there are oodles of endeavors to explore. The myriad of community activities available can fill up the day, but readers are still making the time to peruse their favorite stores to find new books waiting to swoop them off their feet. 

“I find reading to be the ultimate de-stresser, it lets you get out of your head for a while,” said Jade Rabah, senior creative writing major. “Books have a unique power to make you feel. They can give you so many perspectives on the universe.”




A good read is a great way to romanticize and de-stress your life. Here are some recommendations of popular books amongst students to add to your reading list:


“I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy

“’I think we have five copies which have been constantly checked out since the book’s release. It is definitely the most popular nonfiction leisure book right now,” Bevill said. The memoir by the “iCarly” star Jennete McCurdy shares her experience as a child actress with in-depth details of her career. She focuses on her complicated and heavy relationship with her now deceased mom, who pushed McCurdy toward a career she never wanted.


“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Mass

This popular “Beauty and the Beast” retelling is one of the star stories of BookTok. The first book of the series starts off the ongoing series with strong female characters, romance and self discovery. Mass takes the reader through unexpected twists and turns, telling the story of a 19-year-old huntress brought away to a magical land where secrets and dangerous Fae reign.


“Verity” by Colleen Hoover

“‘Verity’ was so good, I read that book in one day,” McClarty said. Colleen Hoover is one of the most popular authors both in the media and on campus. A psychological thriller you won’t want to put down, this story follows a struggling author who is offered the incredible opportunity to finish a famous book series in lieu of its original author who is medically unable to finish her series. She agrees to move into the author’s home, but quickly discovers there is more to the story than what meets the eye.


“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller

“This book will break you, but I love Madeline Miller,” Rebah said. Miller will win your heart and break it at the same time with her adaptation of “The Iliad.” This myth retelling follows the perspective of Patroclus as he and Achilles grow up. Together, they face the challenges and demands of Ancient Greece to create a story that is sure to satisfy any Greek mythology obsession.


“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

This science fiction pick is a popular read on campus, Bevill said. A young woman named Nora finds herself between life and death in a large library. She is given the opportunity to change her life as she travels through all the lives she could have lived, while searching within herself to find purpose.