Today I wanted to do something a little on the delinquent side. Most folks who’ve ever been in a classroom setting, whether high school or university, has probably had that one class that was unbelievably boring! It may have been the person teaching, or just the subject matter. Whatever the reasons, the class sucked and it was a gigantic chore to get through without snoozing and cruising.
During my university years, I had many courses that I found to be sensationally boring. I am the kind of learner who absorbs whatever I read when I need to. As such, after reading the textbook and doing my homework, the lectures felt painful to get through. More oft than not, they were regurgitated nonsense of everything I studied the previous night. Since listening to music was out, I would bust out with books and read. Being the sadist that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed how much this annoyed teachers. They would call on me to answer questions, expecting me to fail, and I would kick total ass. Mwahahaha… But that’s a whole other story.
For today’s post, I’m going to share with you five books that helped me fly through some agonisingly boring classes. If you are a student of any kind, maybe these books can help you sit through some terrible lectures.
5. The Legends of Dune Trilogy by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
This trio of books was one of my addictions while I was in college. Unlike the very first novel from the series, Dune by Frank Herbert, these novels are far less dense and much easier to get swept away in (although Dune will always be my number one favourite from the franchise). If any of you have ever read the ultimate science-fiction classic, know that this trilogy takes us all the way back to the beginning foundations of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, introduces us to almost all of the technologies used in the universe of Dune, and generally just shows us how everything started. The trilogy gets a lot of shit, I will be straight. But in my honest and personal opinion, it’s an extraordinary set of books that should be read by anyone who’s a fan of Dune, or simply in the market for revolutionary hard sci-fi. There is such massive amounts of lore and history in these novels that it makes the entire universe that much more fascinating. Each book spans over 700-800 pages, yet I blew through one book during two or three classes (about 6 hours total), they are just that fucking good.
4. The Cylon’s Secret (Battlestar Galactica) by Craig Shaw Gardner
Based off of the 2004 science-fiction television series, this novel takes place deep in space where Tom Zarek discovers Omega Station: a scientific instalment veiled in secrecy beyond the edges of charted space. As Tom visits Omega, he quickly realises that this station is not occupied by humans, but Cylons! As a fan of the TV serial, this book had me utterly drowning in the pages with a starving eagerness. There were plot twists I never anticipated. Its contents are subtly referred to in specific episodes of the show as well. The writing isn’t brilliant, but it is excellent in regards to the story it tells. The Cylon’s Secret is one of my favourite novels from this universe.
3. South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
This short novel from renowned author of Japanese magical realism, follows a man named Hajime. Born in the 1950s, he grew up during the postwar years, as post-colonialism helped to reshape modern Japanese society as we know it. He gets married and has a couple of wonderful daughters. Yet there’s a nagging sense of spuriousness about the success he’s found in life. A boyhood memory of a strange, lonely girl named Shimamoto begins to cloud his heart as he questions everything he knows. This was one of the very first Murakami novels that I read. It’s extraordinarily written with prose that is simple and subject matter that sweeps you from page to page with subtle anticipation. I blew through the entire novel during an hour and a half lecture. It’s the type of book that leaves you wanting more as you ponder the messages left behind.
2. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Another Murakami gem, the novel follows two individuals during the spoopy, late-night hours set in the city of Tokyo. A boy and a girl come together and spend the evening talking, exploring each other’s personas, and understanding their own inner struggles. This has much more magical realism aspects to it than South of the Border, West of the Sun and is the perfect novel to read if you want to seriously get acquainted to Murakami’s unique and strange storytelling style. It was mesmerising. The novel does an excellent job of examining the human psyche in terms of emotions, family dysfunctions, and a few other common psychological conflicts. The prose is lush with surrealistic subtleties and magical metaphors. Another book I blew through via a single class period.
1. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
The ultimate motherfucking dystopian classic on government conspiracies, Battle Royale is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. Out of all of the titles I have listed in this post, this novel is the one that I refused to put down. I would walk out of the classroom still reading it! There are many, many reasons why I believe this book is a feat of genius, however, for the sake of this post, I will just say that it’s sensationally written. The exploration of how the human mind handles and process situations of extreme fear and anxiety is magnificently astounding. It’s unforgiving in it’s brutality and violence, so those who are sensitive to such material should proceed with caution. One very important thing to know about Battle Royale: The 2009 edition is the BEST edition. The 2014 edition has a new translation that severely tones down the content and there are lot of translation errors in regards to contextual situations. If you can, please read the 2009 edition, which was translated by a Japanese person! I’ve included a photo of the cover below!