Winter Reading: Your Chance to Escape

Art by Kate Nugent.

Stories have the ability to take us into new worlds and renew our minds, and now that winter break is here, there’s plenty of time to start a journey into the pages of an eye-opening novel.

Whether you’re planning to spend your holiday vacation at the beach or in your living room, a book is the perfect complement to a relaxing experience. You’ve certainly been reading pages upon pages of textbooks and articles for school, but this is different — this is your chance to take reading back as a passion instead of as a requirement.

The thought of your eyes scanning words for academic meaning may be dizzying for you, but everything wonderful about life requires taking a step of faith into a world unknown. So, let your heart wander into a field of fresh pages with these personal book recommendations for your winter break. Who knows where they’ll take you…

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A House for Mr Biswas by V. S. Naipaul

This is a life story of a man who encounters many trials and tribulations in the small Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. His life, though difficult, is filled with real, honest moments of sacrifice, love, confusion and rage. The novel delivers an alternative story of growing up and finding your place. It’s not an easy journey, but rather a raw and true glimpse at life in a rural village which, for protagonist Mohun Biswas, is filled with many crazy adventures under the hot Caribbean sun.

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The Zoo by Christopher Wilson

Want to experience foreign politics in a simple and exciting way? The Zoo provides a comfortable and personal way to understand Joseph Stalin’s authoritarian regime in the Soviet Union. The satirical novel will fill your heart with every emotion as you plunge into the life of 12-year-old Yuri Zipit, who is the narrator of the novel. His fun and honest adventures are extreme, but are made palatable through his young mind’s reflections. As the story unfolds, you’re sure to be reminded of the clever, simple thoughts of a child, and the way in which, as adults, we’ve come to complicate and embellish our world without reason.

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We Were Liars by Emily Jenkins

Summers on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts may seem fun and luxurious, but the opulent life of Cadence Sinclair Eastman is filled with secrets that are hard to believe. As past and present are juggled around through alternating chapters, Cadence takes the reader on a journey to before, during and after her accident – but even she can’t recall everything. The novel promises to take you to a world where secrets are kept secret and family ties are knotted tight… and if anyone asks what happens at the end of the book, just lie.

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Psycho by Robert Bloch

This novel is an American classic; you might have even seen the 1960 film adaption or one of its sequels, but if you haven’t, read the book first. The setting is the infamous Bates Motel: the only place open on a late and rainy night when Ms. Crane checks in. All seems calm and ordinary… until the unthinkable happens. This famous horror novel will have you at the edge of your seat, wanting to find out just what happens to Ms. Crane and who operates the Bates Motel? Psycho will have you piecing the puzzle together until the very last pages.

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The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Journalist Jeannette Walls writes a haunting memoir of her nomadic childhood that will leave you rooting for her the whole time. This book follows Walls from her infanthood to adult life as her family navigates life with four children and limited job opportunities in mid-century America. Her travels are filled with wonder, hope, adventure, and loss. Regardless of the life you’ve lived until this point, this is a story of family bonds we can all learn from  and no matter what, family sticks together, through the ups and downs — and no one knows that better than the author.

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Delve into a tale of mystery and coming of age. Twins Jude and Noah have a fragmented relationship and not even their bond made in the womb could withstand the trials the pair faces. Both are missing the full picture; between their mother’s death, handsome boys and untold scandals, the twins uncover secrets about one another. The timely new age, young adult fiction novel is filled with beautiful imagery and prose, focusing on the themes of love, family and friendship.