By Sarah Lee
As the deadlines for assignments draw near, I am sure most of you will be spending your nights burning the midnight oil. As the pressure mounts, some of you may resort to taking short breaks every now and then. Instead of spending that time on your computer, why not use it to indulge in some good literature?
No money is needed at all. Did you know the second floor of the Monash Library has a section dedicated entirely to fiction? Once the elevator doors open, just head towards the right side of the floor, where you will stumble across two aisles of bookcases labelled “Language and Literature.” With the plethora of novels available, you should be able to find one to suit your taste. Below are just some of the many books offered in the library.
Horror aficionados, why not try putting Stephen King down for a moment and go old school? Back in the 18th century, it was Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde which sent shivers down the spines of Victorians. This classic tale explores the duality of human nature and the constant struggle of good versus evil within us. Screaming for more? Try sinking your teeth into the works of Edgar Allan Poe, gothic horror’s best loved writer.
Are you broke but still craving for the adrenaline rush that comes with a credit card swipe? You might just find yourself captivated by Sophie Kinsella’s beloved Shopaholic series. You may not be able to go shopping, but at the very least you’ll be able to find a soul sister in Rebecca Bloomwood, the sympathetic heroine who can never seem to resist a good bargain. Her hilarious exploits will keep you entertained throughout the novel. It will also, of course, serve as a reminder that it is always better to be short of a Denni & George scarf than to be in debt. The first novel in the series is called The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (US edition: The Confessions of a Shopaholic). You’ll be able to find the complete collection in the library, with the exception of the latest addition Mini Shopaholic.
Lastly, for those of you willing to discover something new, I suggest exploring the genre of magical realism, a literary style which weaves magical elements into what seems like an otherwise ordinary universe. This particular genre emerged in the 1950s and is largely attributed to Latin American literature. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez is one of Latin America’s leading magical realist authors and you can find his novel Love in the Time of Cholera (El amor en los tiempos del cólera) here in the library. The story is a common one of forbidden love, but García Márquez is able to utilise magical realism in a way that intensifies parts of the story, such as the emotions felt by the main protagonist.
So what are you waiting for? The next time you reach for your smartphone during one of your short study breaks, head over instead to the second floor of the library. You’ll find yourself immersed in an entirely different world altogether.