My Favorite Book Picks for the Winter Season

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we’ve grinded past the stress of midterms, and are much in need of a holiday to relax, unwind, and invest in a few days of self-care. For myself and many others, we will be taking advantage of the upcoming holiday vacations to curl up on the couch, or in bed, with a good book — a book of our own choosing that we aren’t required to read for class. The question then becomes, with the limited amount of time we have over Thanksgiving, and the generous amount of time we have over Christmas, what books should we read? Whether you are an avid reader looking to use this time to embark on a literary spree, or simply want one good book to become intimately familiar with over the holidays, check out the list below for some undeniably great options.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Mitchell tells the story of an ongoing war between two coalitions of people in possession of fantastical, transcendent abilities and a young woman whose unique brainpower inevitably ropes her into the conflict. Told through the perspectives of five unique characters whose fates all intertwine, The Bone Clocks is a riveting tale of the magic that lies hidden in our world, and the people who can access it.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild, a captivating novella that can be read in a fairly short amount of time, is the perfect choice for those who want to feel the icy call of the north over the winter holidays. The book, narrated by Buck, tells the story of a sturdy farm dog who is displaced from his home in southern California and forced to work as a sled dog in the Yukon, London. He shows how despite generations of domesticity, the instinctual call of the wild remains hidden within us, waiting to awaken.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt’s first novel is a masterpiece that will pull you in and make you forget every aspect of your surroundings as you turn page after page dying to know what happens next. Young, impressionable Richard attends college in Vermont and soon becomes enraptured with a group of classics students whose program he joins. Thus begins the dark and exquisitely written tale of Dionysian ritual, murder, and the detrimental implications that follow. Read this novel on a cold day, curled up on the couch with a warm drink. It is sure to fascinate.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

When people think Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is usually the first novel to come to mind. But The Blind Assassin is an exquisitely well-written novel that elevates storytelling to an entirely new level. The novel draws you in from the moment you turn to the first page and learn that the narrator’s younger sister, who you will follow for the majority of the story, perished from the fatal “accident” of driving her car off a bridge. From that moment on, you enter an intricate and fascinating matrix of storytelling that combines the lives of two sisters into an otherworldly and wonderfully creative novel within a novel.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

A sad, yet touching, novel about friendship and unshakeable faith in the role one is meant to play in their time on Earth. Irving’s novel isn’t my typical read, but I felt drawn in by its endearing humor and memorable protagonist. Through the eyes of his best friend, we follow the life of the small, outspoken character of Owen Meany whose certainty in self and capacity for breaking expectations leaves a lasting impression on all who pick up this book.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

If prose can assume the form of poetry while still remaining true to the form of a novel, Deathless would be the resounding example. There is no other way to describe this book other than simply beautiful. The combination of the Bolshevik Revolution with Russian mythology creates a dark and gorgeous tale of love and war, Deathless isn’t a novel that you read, but that you absorb. It will leave you torn between turning page after page to learn what happens next, and putting the book down momentarily in order to take in the beauty of what you just read.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Whether you are traveling or cozying into your couch for the holidays, The Alchemist is a book that will take you on a journey. A short and simply written story that can be read in an afternoon, you will remember The Alchemist long after you’ve finished the final page. It is a tale of adventure, growth, magic, and fulfillment of one’s dreams. Beautiful in its simplicity, there is a reason why this novella has touched the lives of millions of readers. It reveals that we all have a journey to embark on and a destiny to complete but, the treasure comes from your time on the road and the people whose lives you change forever.

These seven books have undoubtedly been some of the greatest reads of my life. Hopefully, one (or even all) caught your eye and will lead you first, to the bookstore, and then, to a quiet, cozy place to unwind and read over the holidays!

 

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