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I Recommend Adding These Books Onto Your TBR List This Holiday Season

Before I start, I would like to preface this article by saying that I am by no means an expert of books. I am definitely a noob when it comes to figuring out which ones are good and which ones are… not so good. I like what I like. My philosophy with books is quite simple actually. I read to escape reality for a while. Let’s just say, I want to travel to a different world without having to pay the price of a plane ticket (considering I am a broke college student). Any book that allows me to do that is honestly perfection.

Getting lost in a book is my favorite hobby. However, I still have not been able to make it a habit that I follow every single day. Despite the joy reading brings me, I still tend to struggle through each book. It is important to mention that my slacking has nothing to do with how good the book is. I just can not seem to rip through a new book each week. At the beginning of this year, I set a goal of reading twelve books (one per month). Although this did not seem impossible in the beginning, as soon as school began in September, my goal became a far-fetched dream. The month of December is approaching — presenting a break from school. I am definitely planning on finishing my current read, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, during that time while I am cozied up in my Christmas pajamas and fuzzy socks. For anyone who is planning on getting back to that book grind during Christmas break, here are some suggestions from this amateur book reader AKA me.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book is an absolute treasure and has gone on to become my absolute favorite novel. The story is narrated by Death and follows the journey of a young girl named Liesel who lives in Germany during WWII. While dealing with the horrors of living in a world torn by war, Liesel finds peace in reading books that she steals from different places. It is an enduring story about life and death and everything in between. Without giving too much of it away, I just want to say that this book will break your heart into a thousand pieces while simultaneously filling you with hope and joy. The book is a slow and long read, but every second you spend reading this book will be worth it. I am so glad that this book came into my life and I will forever cherish it.

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

I found this book through my favorite app to have ever existed. This app has brought some great books, fun claw clips, and great songs into my life. Any guesses as to which app that is? TIKTOK, DUH! One day I was scrolling through my TikTok “For You” Page, when Hank Green popped out of nowhere. In the video, he was reciting a paragraph from the book. That is quite literally all it took. I ran to my Amazon account and ordered the book immediately and I do not regret it one bit. 

The Anthropocene Reviewed is a collection of essays and stories where John Green writes about the most bizarre things, from topics of sycamore trees to the likes of the soda, Dr. Pepper. This book felt like a warm hug. It is written in a way where you do not feel bogged down by information, but instead, you just feel more connected to yourself.

Definitely one of my favorite reads in recent times, so do give it a go. (P.S. My favorite chapter is about the sycamore trees.)

The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini

Before I begin writing about this book, I just wanted to let you know that I am a sucker for sad things. I really have not been able to figure out why that is but I love sad things. My favorite playlists on Spotify are named “sad songs to cry to” or “staring at the ceiling at 2 am.” I deliberately watch movies that make me cry (A Walk to Remember is my go-to). My book choices also tend to fall under the “books that will make you sob” category and this book is exactly that.

The Kite Runner is a story of two boys: one who comes from a wealthy family and one who is the son of the servant of the same rich family. It follows the friendship that blossoms between them. It is set against the heartbreaking and war-torn country of Afghanistan. It is a story about love, redemption and sacrifices. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. The sadness in this book does not just hit you out of nowhere. It creeps in page by page, chapter by chapter. Regardless, don’t forget to have a box of tissues ready. 

If anyone does pick up any one of these books, please feel free to share with me how you felt about them. My email is saleenad@uci.edu.

In case you’re interested, the next three books on my TBR list are:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

saleena dhakal

UC Irvine '24

“A stranger to his own home”. I remember quickly jotting this down in my journal in class as we were watching Hamlet during my senior year in high school. It’s a sentence that has resonated with me ever since. Hi, I am a first-generation college student who has been on this journey of finding her identity ever since I moved to the United States at the age of twelve. I would like to say I am nowhere close to reaching the destination but slowly and steadily I am definitely getting there. And, when I am not trying to find deep meanings out of simple things in life, you will find me either watching Friends or jamming out to One Direction, or doing both :).
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