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With over a foot of snow already under our belt, I think we can safely say that winter is in full swing. That being said, what better way to beat the cold than with a good book? Whether it be whirlwind romance, gripping historical fiction or an empowering memoir, reading can reignite your imagination and offer you with a much-needed break from the craziness of college life. Any veteran bookworm would agree that reading a good book can be just as satisfying as watching a Hallmark movie around the holiday season. So, in the spirit of winter, I have compiled a list of books across various genres that are sure to give you the warmth only powerful characters and an engaging plot line can provide.
“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V. E. Schwab
E. Schwab is primarily famous for her novel “Vicious” and her “Shades of Magic” series, but her recent standalone, “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue,” has recaptured readers’ love for her imaginative plots. This centuries-spanning historical fiction/fantasy novel revolves around the life of Addie LaRue, a young French woman from the 1700s who is cursed to live forever but be forgotten by everyone she meets. Almost as if to offer us a snapshot into history, LaRue navigates across the world and throughout history as she seeks to understand her curse, find her purpose and perhaps even form a lasting bond with a worthy love interest. Her story of loss, hope and adventure is uplifted by a rich tone, smart pacing and Schwab’s knack for detailed world-building. This novel is a must-have if you’re looking for a whimsical tale to keep you reading all night long.
“Crying in H Mart: A Memoir” by Michelle Zauner
For my memoir readers, you should consider picking up the 2021 Goodreads Choice Award winner, “Crying in H Mart” by Korean American author Michelle Zauner. A powerful narrative, this book follows Zauner’s journey of trying to pick up the pieces of her life whilst grieving the loss of her mother—her primary link to Korean culture. In developing this story, Zauner’s recounts of various Korean foods and cooking techniques serve as a vessel to expose a complex mother-daughter relationship. While the emphasis is on the heartwarming tale of redefining one’s identity, Zauner also uses her deep and honest prose to highlight the intensely harrowing nature of mortality, as well as the value of holding tight to one’s culture and memories. Clearly, this one-of-a-kind memoir deserves a read this winter.
“One Day in December” by Josie Silver
This pick is a contemporary romance novel that focuses on the budding relationship between its two central characters, Jack and Laurie. As the title suggests, one snowy day in December, the pair have a fleeting first encounter at a bus stop—one that leaves both characters yearning for a second. The book follows the couple’s journey of reconnecting and rekindling their initial flame, while also navigating the meaning of intimacy and the uncertainty of adult life. Unfortunately, the couple face additional strains on their relationship as clashing parts of their personalities are brought to the forefront—yet we come to learn this only strengthens their bond in the long run. Overall, this whirlwind winter romance is sure to have you swooning for love and those rare “happily ever afters.”
“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig
Another resident of the fantasy genre is “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. This is a story of a peculiar library with an infinite number of books, each with a description of a different reality an individual could live. In the novel, Nora Seed is faced with an opportunity to change the course of her professional and personal life, with the Midnight Library as her only resource. The story hinges on the lessons it conveys to its readers regarding the uncertainty and instability of life; the novel demonstrates that regrets, hardships and misdirections are an inevitable part of the human experience. Furthermore, unique from others in its genre, “The Midnight Library” uses the library and its books to seamlessly blend fantasy concepts with the reality of humanity and life. If this description isn’t encouraging enough, take a look at this quote:
“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
Needless to say, “The Midnight Library” is a must-read new release.
While the recommendations have come to an end, the reading possibilities have just begun. If this list isn’t expansive enough, consider surfing through Goodreads or Barnes and Noble, or ask a fellow reader for their favorites. Whatever you decide on, say goodbye to the winter windchill with a hot drink of choice, a fuzzy blanket and a reading experience you’ll never forget.