The cold is the perfect time to throw on your favorite pair of fluffy socks, comfy clothes, and a fuzzy blanket. So grab that cup of hot cocoa with three mini marshmallows and settle into your couch, or bed, and get comfortable because here’s a list of the top ten books you should read – or reread – this season.
1. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
This science fiction novel is not an easy read by any means, but it is rewarding to reach the end. The story takes place on a foreign planet named Gethen, but is referred to by outsiders as Winter for its perpetually cold climate. Follow along as Genly tries to convince the Gethenians to join the Ekumen, a collection of over eighty planets.
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
As an avid reader and a high-key Harry Potter fangirl, I could not help but put this on the list. If you have never read this series, it is a must. Right now. Stop reading this list and go pick up this book. And there’s the added bonus that you get to watch the eight movies after reading all seven books!
3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
This book is very underrated, just like its movie counterpart. If you aren’t into tales of adventure that include humor, love, mystery, and sword fighting, then this book isn’t for you (But who isn’t into all of those? Especially all in one place!). At the very least, I highly recommend that you snuggle up and watch the movie adaptation, which of course isn’t as good as the book, but is still a classic, must-watch nonetheless (with Andre the Giant in it!).
4. The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt
I only just read this book recently and would have never picked it up if it wasn’t required for one of my courses, but it was fantastic and is now one of my favorites. Be warned, however, this book is not an easy read. The book begins following the mother of a genius child and often the paragraphs cut each other off mid-sentence. It can be hard to follow the train of thought that stops on one page to be interrupted by philosophy or high-level math, only to pick back up where it left off two pages later. But the ending – and the meaning throughout – will shock you. Plus, you have the time, so why not try?
5. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This book is a quick read for those of you that might not have the time of a month-long winter break that college students receive, but it is still a classic. When I first read this book about a group of boys alone on an island, left to fend for themselves, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. But I never put the book down. Watch as boys try to lead one another, survive in the wilderness, and wait in hopes of rescue.
6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Now, this classic is a perfect read for the wintertime. I’m sure you’ve seen, or at least heard of, the many adaptations of this old tale by Charles Dickens. But have you ever actually read the original work? Even if you have, get into the holiday spirit by revisiting the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. And watch some of those adaptations when you’re done.
7. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This fantasy novel of a young Indian boy who gets lost at sea in a small lifeboat with only a tiger as a companion after a shipwreck is beautifully written. This is my all-time favorite book, and there was no way this wasn’t making it onto the list. The end of the story leaves you questioning everything you knew, or thought you knew, while reading along. To make it even better, the language Martel uses is so vivid, descriptive, and just plain beautiful, that it sucks you into the work. The movie is also a cinematic work of art – but make sure you read that book first!
8. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
This YA novel is another quick read for those who want to cross off some names on their list. It follows two teenagers with CF, who must always stay five feet apart to not worsen their diseases. But something changes between Stella and Will the more they spend time together. There’s no way you’ll be able to read this without your eyes watering up, and maybe even slipping a tear or two.
9. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Another science fiction novel, but one that most likely will not end in the way you expect it to. This classic may not be too far off from what our future could hold, if we let it go that far. Read through the disturbing society that is the Brave New World, that contains traces of our own society left behind.
10. The Odyssey by Homer (Translated by Emily Wilson)
The Odyssey is such a classic that everyone should read it at least once in their lifetime. I highly recommend the translation by Emily Wilson. There are an innumerable amount of translations of Homer’s work, but Wilson is the first woman to publish one. In interviews, she goes into depth about how her point of view as a woman helped to shape the tale in a slightly different manner, including points of saying servant versus slave.
I could have easily expanded this list past ten with so many more must-reads, like Ready Player One, The Percy Jackson Series, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, or The Hobbit. But we only have so much time on our hands, and so much space in our memories to choose which books to read next and add to our mental lists. I hope that you were able to connect to at least one of these works. Enjoy your fuzzy socks and fluffy blanket while watching the snow drift past your window this winter with one of these ten in your hands!