Some people bake cookies, some sip hot cocoa and watch Netflix. Others, well, others read books. Potentially even books they’ve already read. Nothing quite says Winter Break for me like cozying in with a comfort book and some fuzzy socks. These five books are some of my favorites, and I will be revisiting them this Winter:
- PRIDE AND PREJUDICE BY JANE AUSTEN
It was an effort in self-constraint not to include more than one Austen novel. The sense of stability and resolution paired with witty female protagonists make classics like Pride and Prejudice and Emma a constant temptation in times of stress. I find myself craving the characteristic banter of an Austen and find myself fantasizing about a man as simultaneously insufferable and irresistible as Mr. Darcy (there really is no one like him). Austen’s characters, particularly her young heroines, are both relatable to the modern reader and satisfyingly separate from their world. Her novels eloquently balance elegance with humor, romantic fantasy with reality, modernity with historic escapism.
- THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER BY STEPHEN CHBOSKY
My go-to since freshman year of high school, this coming-of-age classic never seems to tire. Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower was perhaps one of the first times I remember feeling deeply connected to the characters. The friendships feel tangible and authentic, the conflicts realistic and relatable. Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, I am convinced everyone will notice bits of themselves in the characters. The book’s format, written in letters to an anonymous “you,” renders it immensely personal, engaging the reader directly and conversationally.
- LITTLE WOMEN BY LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
I know I said no more Jane Austen, but I didn’t say no more classics. I have read this book an embarrassing amount of times, so I can personally testify it becomes more comforting each time you read it. There is nothing quite as endearing and beautiful as growing up with the March sisters. As readers, we experience Jo’s ambition, Beth’s empathy, Meg’s care, Amy’s frustration, Teddy’s heartbreak and Marmee’s wisdom. A coming-of-age and a classic all in one, Little Women is the best of both worlds.
- SUBMARINE BY JOE DUNTHORNE
Easily one of the most eccentric novels I’ve read, I have never laughed out loud (in public) and cringed (visibly, in public) as much as I did while reading Submarine for the first time. I’m not easy to please as far as comedies go (historically), but this is actually one of my favorite books. It’s insanely detailed, bizarre, and Oliver is the single most unique and unpredictable narrator I have come across. Plus, if you’re not a huge reader, the film adaptation for this one actually compares to the book and the soundtrack is impeccable.
- SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO
“No mourners, no funerals.” Sure, this is a fantasy heist story, but the character dynamics are incomparable. Even though there are six “main characters,” they’re each incredibly well-developed. Six of Crows might hold the record for me for the highest number of favorite characters. It’s quite literally impossible to choose a favorite from them. It’s also worth mentioning it was (partially) adapted for the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix, but the show took quite a few liberties and even left out a couple of key characters, so it’s no replacement for the book.
So, if you’ve read or heard of any of these, this is your sign to reread it. Or, if you haven’t, give one a go. There’s a solid chance it might be a new comfort book for you, too.