3 Must-Read Books This Winter

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, it’s shaping up to be a snowy winter in the Northeast. Apparently, the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 might actually be colder than a usual northeast winter, which I certainly did not think was possible. Despite the uncharacteristically warm weather that has had me wearing shorts for the past week, my Boston brain is not fooled. I know that the cold is coming for us.

Luckily for us BU students, the school has extended our winter break by a whole week in January, giving us from December 19 (depending on when your exams fall) all the way to January 25 off from school. That is a lot of free time to be warm and inside. Reading is a great way to use that time productively! Don’t get me wrong, I have many hours set aside for watching Netflix. But to keep my brain active for the whole month of January, I’ll need to mix in a few books. Here are some of my favorites!

  1. 1. "Call Me by Your Name" by André Aciman

    view of city florence italy

    Some people might recognize this title as the 2017 film starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer (which I also highly recommend watching), but in a statement I’m sure everyone has heard before, I’ll tell you that the book is better. That is some high praise coming from me because I love Timmy.

    Aciman’s writing is raw and intense, and he makes you fall in love with his characters and their relationships. The story follows 17-year-old Elio in the summer of 1983 in Northern Italy as he navigates his sexuality. The man who changes Elio’s life is named Oliver, who is interning for Elio’s father over the summer. I won’t spoil anything, but a lot happens over the course of the summer. The story will give you hope, break your heart, and then do it all over again.

    This is one of my favorite books for so many reasons, but mostly because Aciman’s writing is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Call Me by Your Name is a beautiful story of love and loss.

  2. 2. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

    greyscale photo of braided hair woman

    This book is a Nobel Prize winner, so my love for it is warranted. I read this book for a class at BU, but I truly enjoyed reading it. The story follows Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl living in Ohio in the years following the Great Depression. Pecola struggles with her image and she longs intensely to be the beautiful blonde, blue-eyed woman that society has portrayed as the only way to look beautiful. The story follows Pecola as she enters puberty and deals with abuse from almost everyone around her, especially her family. As she finds herself more and more alone, Pecola fixates on her need to have blue eyes to be beautiful.

    This is by no means an easy book to read. There are very difficult scenes to get through, but Morrison’s story is so important for recognizing the damaging effects of societal norms and obsession with one specific kind of beauty. The Bluest Eye can be difficult to get through at points, but it is a very worthwhile read.

  3. 3. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    This one is a classic. I first read this book when I was a junior in high school, but I have read it many times since and it never gets old. I’m actually not sure I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like Gatsby. It was also made into a movie in 2013 starring the amazing Leonardo DiCaprio—but again, the book is better.

    The story follows Jay Gatsby, a very rich man who is painfully in love with Daisy Buchanan. He spends the story trying to impress her with extravagant parties, cars, and clothes. However, something happens that changes the way readers see the great Jay Gatsby, and it leaves them wondering whether he ever was actually great.

    Fitzgerald paints a picture of Long Island in the Roaring Twenties that pulls the reader into the story. The Great Gatsby is a rollercoaster—it’s quick and exciting, and it leaves you thinking about it for a long time afterwards.

Each of these books deals with love, loss, and personal identity, but through starkly different characters and in starkly different ways. If you want more recommendations to avoid getting bored during our winter break, check out the New York Times Best Sellers list. Happy reading!

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook​, follow us on I​nstagram,​ check out our ​Pinterest​ board, and read our latest Tweets​!