Holiday reads at home

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By Tess Skelly, Third Year, Politics and International Relations

The Croft Magazine // Between keeping up with assignments, societies, and friends at university, it often feels like there’s not much time for students to have to themselves. But with reading week coming up, now is a great time to pick out a new book. Here are Tess Skelley's five fiction and non-fiction books to keep you entertained on your break.

Educated by Tara Westover – There’s a reason President Obama called Educated ‘remarkable’. Westover grew up in rural Idaho where she and her six siblings were homeschooled by their Christian fundamentalist parents. Educated is her memoir of growing up in and eventually leaving a household where education was sporadic and based on the Bible, and where physical, mental, and emotional abuse at the hands of her unstable dad and older brother were expected. Now, Westover holds a BA from Brigham Young University, a PhD from Cambridge, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. Educated explores Westover’s journey for an education, bringing her farther and farther away from her family and community, and whether it’s possible to reconcile that space.

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⭐️ REVIEW ⭐️ Educated - Tara Westover . Quick take: I don't typically include star ratings in my reviews here because I feel like the value of the stars is so subjective, but I have to say that this was a five star read for me and will definitely be in my Top 10 of the year. . Educated is a memoir that reads like fiction. It's the story of Tara Westover, a girl who was raised by a survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, who was kept out of school (and not even home schooled), who never saw a doctor or was given any western medicine, and who suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a family member. Against all odds, Tara leaves her family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University. This is the story of Tara struggling to reconcile two different identities - her educated self and her family self. She attends BYU, she receives scholarships for higher education, she earns her PhD, and yet she is desperate to be accepted by her family despite the violence and mental illness that consumed her childhood. . I don't read a lot of memoirs - I tend to only pick them up if I'm already interested in the author - but this one blew me away and I'm so glad that I caved to all of the bookstagram buzz. This is an emotional and captivating read that I would recommend to anyone - not just lovers of nonfiction. . Have you read Educated? What are your thoughts? . . . #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #allthebooks #bookaddict #booklover #bookish #bookphoto #bookcovers #bookcommunity #bookreview #bookreviews #bookaccount #booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #igreads #bookworm #booklove #books #book #booklife #readinglife #readersofig #instareads #tarawestover #tarawestovereducated

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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou – What happens when a technological giant and the star of Silicon Valley turns out to be based on a completely fake product? In 2004, Elizabeth Holmes created Theranos, a company she believed would one day create a machine that could run all blood tests from a drop of blood and be kept in people’s homes. By 2014, Forbes estimated Holmes’ net worth to be over four billion dollars. A year later, Carreyrou began publishing a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal questioning the legitimacy of the company; two years later, Holmes’ estimated net worth was zero, where she was charged with fraud and a potential 20 year prison sentence. Bad Blood is Carreyrou’s follow up where he explains how one of the biggest tech coverups was able to grow to such proportions without having a working product.  

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – Flynn’s second novel may not be as well known as Gone Girl or Sharp Objects, but it’s just as creepy, thrilling, and suspenseful. Libby Day’s family was murdered by her older brother, Ben, when Libby was a child. 25 years later and cash-strapped, she agrees to talk to a group of amateur investigators about the massacre for a fee, and from there starts investigating the murder herself.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – Set in a dystopia, Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth meet as children while at boarding school. A teacher lets slip that they are actually clones of real people created to be organ donors, and once they have fulfilled their purpose, they will die. As they grow up and date of donation looms closer, a love triangle forms as they try to find out whether true love will be enough to save them. Beautiful yet subtle, Never Let Me Go is a brilliant exploration of humanity, hope, and the value society places on love and life.

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer – Arguably Krakauer’s most famous book, Into the Wild is about Chris McCandless and what drives people to the wild, even when that drive results in pain and death. McCandless is controversial; people either see him as an idealistic romantic who should be admired for his unwavering love of nature, and or an idiot who should have brought a map into the backcountry. To defend McCandless, Krakauer adds in some autobiographical chapters describing his strained relationship with his dad and his own experiences in the wild to draw parallels.


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