VIRGO: 23rd of August - 21st September

What is written in the stars for the Virgo’s literary future? 

So far we have seen how the first four signs, Aries, Taurus and Gemini built up a sense of self and its material and intellectual dimensions, while Cancer added a spiritual aspect and notion of the self through time and memory. Then we saw a great shift as the conquistadorial Leo leapt into the world announcing its conquest of the collective self, which derives its identity from its social context. Now this sign, the sixth in the zodiac and far from luxuriating in its inheritance, has instead a sense of responsibility in organising the somewhat unruly self. Like Gemini, Virgo is governed by the planet Mercury, associated with communication, quick thinking, and mental energy. But where Gemini had the tendency to use its intellectual abilities to explore the self through existential musings, Virgo, in contradistinction, seems to feel obligated to use its intellect to solve the existing problems encountered by the self, caught in its varying societal structures. Situated amongst the zodiac as the problem solver, Virgo’s are then seen to inherit qualities of the analytical, the practical, the critical, the methodical and the creative. 

With this in mind, it seems natural that the best books for a Virgo are those that critique the workings of the world. These could include non-fiction books of course, but I see Science Fiction as a great, creative, alternative that can similarly hold the function of deeply criticising and analysing the world around us. Naturally, dark academia vibes are sure to hold up for the Virgo as well in this case. So keep reading for some recommendations in these genres!

1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This satirical novel uses the classic sci-fi device of time travel as a way to challenge the ideologies of war. A whimsical and short read, yet with enough deep and engaging ideas to have a long-lasting impact. This novel may just fit the bill for a critical Virgo to explore some challenging themes.

2. Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin:

An examination of gender and social roles in an alien world of androgyny. A classic in the world of Sci-fi, Ursula is known for her criticisms of real society through her use of outlandish narratives and settings to explore alternative ways of living than our own. 

3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood:

A dystopian earth, where women are even more oppressed than usual. A must-read of Atwood’s, especially for a Virgo that will appreciate the dystopic devices that draw eerie parallels to our modern society.

4. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer:

A group of biologists explore the mysteries of the nightmarish ‘Area X’. Exploring themes of identity, the environment and “annihilation”, this relatively spooky novel might just have all the elements for an engaging read for a Virgo

5. If We Were Villains by M. L Rio:

A mystery set within a dark academia aesthetic with theatrical parallels to Shakespeare that aptly imbues the sense of the critical and academic yet, creative Virgo. Comes highly rated by Booktok for the vibes. 

6. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler:

A sci-fi novel that provocatively and expertly tackles issues of climate change, racial and social inequality, identity and empathy. The novel follows a young woman with “hyper empathy” who feels the emotions of others intensely. 

7. Recursion by Blake Crouch:

This Sci-Fi, Thriller philosophises the functions of memory through the plot device of a mysterious disease that affects one's memories, replacing them with entirely new ones. In addition, this novel tackles themes of identity, time and technology, while maintaining an engaging mystery. Perfect for the analytical Virgo to apply their problem-solving skills to.

8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:

The perfect fusion of Sci-fi and dark academia to end off this list, written by a Virgo, Mary Shelley herself! A classic that is certainly worth checking out if you haven’t already, as it deals with significant themes that are still relevant two centuries later.

Being ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, many Virgos may also have the gift for writing. If this feels like you, then now is the time to take advantage of the writing competitions, or send through your piece for Unsweetened’s 2022 submissions and unleash your celestial creativity! Of course, being ruled by Mercury, there are also too many talented Virgo writers to even list here, but some include; Roald Dahl, Agatha Christie, Mary Shelley, H.G Wells, Stephen King, George R.R Martin, Tolstoy, D.H Lawrence, Jean Rhys, Hanya Yanagihara, Jennifer Egan, John Green, John Locke, Paulo Coelho and many more! Thank you to all our Virgo readers and writers!

Yasmin is a content curator at the UNSWeetened Literary Journal.