12 Books to Read During Those Cold Winter Months

As I sat down to write this article, I had a brilliant plan. It was going to be all about female leads in “nerdy” things, like Doctor Who or Captain Marvel. But then I got distracted and now we are here. (Don’t worry, the “nerdy” article will still be written). As I sat down to write this article my computer was loading Google Drive very slowly, so I picked up the book I have been reading for the past 2 months now (Room by Emma Donoghue). Usually, I read through books pretty quickly but, with the homework load this semester and my general indifference towards this book, its taken me a bit longer to finish it.

This morning though, I woke up with full intentions of doing my homework, but after my cup of coffee, I picked up Room. All of a sudden, it’s three in the afternoon and I am almost halfway done and my homework is laying in wait. I had completely forgotten about that feeling when you get sucked into a story to the point where the whole day spins by in a flash. Even as I write this article, my book lays open next to my laptop in hopes I will pick it up again. The only thing I want to do is sit and finish this book. This feeling of reading a book so good you can’t put it down is such an amazing feeling, but you need to find the right book for that. Here is a list of books that left me sitting in my room all day while I read them. Hopefully you find one that intrigues you as such!

1) The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son trying to make it the coast after a nuclear war wiped out the nation. This book is not like your typical YA dystopian novel, no one gets magical superpowers or any of that. The Road is all about the relationship between a father and son, and the risks that a father takes for their children. It is a bleak, realistic look at a post-nuclear society. This book is good for those who are looking for a bit of a challenge and enjoy novels all about survival.

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is a historical fiction YA novel, but it is perfect for all ages. It is about a girl named Liesel who lives in Germany during World War II. She becomes infatuated with books and stories, especially when a young Jewish man takes refuge in her family’s basement. This book is my all-time favorite book. It will make you laugh and cry ( be prepared to have a box of Kleenex next you). It is a bit longer, but the story moves at such a quick pace you won’t even notice. Bonus: Max Vandenburg is one of literature’s most flawless characters. This book is perfect for those who enjoy historical fiction, World War II, or just really classic stories.  

3) Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes is a unique “law-thriller.” It is about a small town school shooting and the trial that happens in the town afterwards. The sitting judge’s daughter was one of the injured students in the shooting. It’s told between the past and the present of the trial. There are multiple narratives written throughout, but the main ones are the judge, her daughter, the shooter, and the lead police on the case. In true Jodi Picoult fashion there is a massive plot twist at the end that you won’t see coming (a la My Sister’s Keeper). This book is perfect for those who love law dramas, Jodi Picoult novels, or realistic fiction.  

4) The Shack by William P. Young

The Shack is the acclaimed novel that became the famous movie with Octavia Spencer in 2016. The Shack is about a father whose daughter is kidnapped and dies in a shack out in the woods. Years late, he gets an invitation to go back to the shack, where he meets God. This book is great for Christians and non-Christians alike. It talks of forgiveness and trusting when you don’t feel like. For those who have seen or read The Life of Pi, there is a plot twist at the end that is reminiscent of that. This book is perfect for those who are struggling with forgiving someone, having a hard time, or looking for a great story about what might be beyond this world.

5) Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice is a psychological fiction book about what happens when a famous Harvard professor gets early onset Alzheimer's. The point of view is from the professor and as her Alzheimer’s progresses, the reader can see it with the train of thought. This book is really great to understand what Alzheimer’s does to a person’s mind and what happens as it progresses. It is really helpful for those whose relatives might be suffering from it. It is a good story, but you will definitely want a box of Kleenex next to you as you read it. This book is great for those who are intrigued by psychology, have seen the movie, or want to understand more about Alzheimer’s.

6) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

If The Book Thief is my favorite book, then this is my second favorite book of all time. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is written all in letters between the characters, and nothing like the Netflix movie. It is about a woman writer named Juliet Ashton, living in post-WWII London. One day she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams, describing a book of hers that he has. It is a charming little story, full of laughter, only a little sadness, and the greatest ending of all times. After reading it you’ll want to tell everyone you know to take two weeks to read this book. This book is perfect for historical fiction lovers, romantic-comedy lovers, or anyone looking to be inspired to break the mold of society.  

7) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Everyone (besides my mom) has already read The Hunger Games, I know that. But it is on the list because it is a quick read and re-reading books can lead to catching details that you might have missed the first time. For those who don’t know, The Hunger Games is about a girl, Katniss Everdeen, who takes her sister’s place in the annual Hunger Games. This sparks a movement to be born. The book was the start of the dystopian YA trilogies and one of the most iconic love triangles. This book is great for those looking to reread a beloved book, read a quick YA novel, or wants to join the bandwagon a couple years late.   

8) The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This is the book that turned into the movie that is known and loved. The Help by Kathryn Stockett is yet another historical fiction book on the list, but it is not set in WWII (shocking, I know). It is about a young white girl who just graduated college and moved back to her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. There she takes on a project that will change the lives of her and the black maids that work for the wealthy families in Jackson. This book will make you die laughing and also make you cry (but only a little). It is perfect for more historical fiction lovers, those who have seen the movie, love the idea of a woman centric novel, or are interested in the civil rights movements of yesterday and today.

9) Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I have a complicated relationship with Little Bee. Despite what the publisher’s blurb tells you, it is not magical (or, it wasn’t to me). You might be able to find the magic within it though. It is a short little novel, making it a quick read. It is definitely relevant to today’s conversation of refugees. It is hard to explain the book without giving away spoilers, so I’ll reiterate this from the blurb: “It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t.” (Bookbub) This book is perfect for those looking for something really funny, but relevant to today’s current events or those looking for a good realistic fiction novel.  

10) Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

This is also in my top ten favorite books, surprisingly. Cutting for Stone is about the twin brothers of an Indian nun and a British surgeon, living in Ethiopia. Their lives create different paths, but ultimately they end up in the same place. It is a book full of relations between family, friends, and love interests and how these relationships can affect one another through time. Again, this book will make you laugh and cry (this crying trend was not on purpose). It is perfect for those who love a little bit longer books, medical fiction, or love books with well thought out characters.

11) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is definitely the nerdiest book on the list, because almost everyone I know had to read this non-fiction book for high school science class. It is about the development of HeLa cells that are the first immortal sets of cells which keep reproducing and the surrounding race controversy that followed. It is a really good read for those interested in medicine or race relations or just really love non-fiction books. A word to the wise though, the writing can be hard to understand as it is written from a scientist perspective.   

12) Room by Emma Donoghue

The final book on this list is the book that I am now almost done with. (Note: I say that once I cross the halfway mark of a book). Room by Emma Donoghue starts off slow and, in my opinion, a little odd. But once you get past the first part, the story picks up pace. The novel is what the movie with Brie Larson is based off of. It is about a five-year- old boy who lives with his mom in a room created for them by their captor. The book is a little bit of a thriller but mostly it is a counterpart to The Road, showing what a mother would sacrifice for her child. This book is perfect for those who love the movie, or love an in-depth look into parental relationships. 

Along with this article I’m adding the book list that I am reading from at this moment and where all of these books came from, in case you just can't get enough.