The break is finally approaching. That brief month wedged between two stressful semesters, when classwork comes to a halt and suddenly we find ourselves able to sleep more than five hours per night and regain some of our mental clarity. So, what do we do with all this extra time and energy? Maybe you are lucky enough to take a vacation, or maybe you are looking to get re-inspired after a hectic semester. Quite possibly, you just need a page-turner to accompany you through one too many lazy days spent at home. Whatever the case may be, this comprehensive guide to your winter break reads should be of some assistance.
What to Read When You Want to Feel Something…
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo: Amy Schumer
If you have the time and desire to oscillate between deep-belly laughter and extreme shock, this book should do the trick. As the Washington Post warns, “this is not solely a breezy beach read.” Schumer candidly describes some of the most intense, hilarious, and memorable moments of her life in this collection of essays.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
A poignant memoir of a family that, despite all of its failings and despair, was able to maintain love. Jeanette follows her life through homelessness, poverty, abuse, and betrayal. The story is gripping and emotional but what is most significant is the life and compassion that Jeanette is able to find after. And now with a movie rendition released, I highly suggest you read the book first.
What to Read When You’re on the Beach…
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
Although the it’s third in a trilogy (Crazy Rich Asians), you do not need to read the other two before jumping into this. The novel follows the events that ensue after Nicholas Young finds out that his grandmother is on her deathbed. When he rushes to see her in her final stretch, he finds his entire family back to stake claim in her amassed wealth. Despite its plot, this book is full of comic relief and enjoyable to read, the perfect accompaniment to a tropical vacation.
Conversations with Friends: A Novel by Sally Rooney
A truly 21st century read, the book follows the story of two college-student best friends, Frances (the narrator), and Bobbi after they find an unexpected connection with an older married couple. The story is told seamlessly through in person conversations as well as texts, but this is no “ttyl.” The novel is funny but also extremely intelligent; a highly recommended beach-read.
What to Read When You Want to Get Inspired…
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and has a lot to share in this novel full of personal stories, research, and advice. Her essential point is that gender biases still exist in workplaces everywhere and research proves this to us, but that we must change the conversation by “leaning in.” And while she is strong and admirable, she is also honest, funny, and compassionate. Her novel is inspiring to say the least and a must-read for all women seeking to enter the work world.
The Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff
An eleven-year-old panhandler and a busy executive forge a lifelong friendship in 1980s Manhattan. This true story begins when Laura, successful NYC sales representative, decides to stop and take Maurice, a young homeless boy, to lunch at McDonalds instead of giving him spare change. This novel truly transcends the trite message of “doing good,” but instead leaves you uplifted and inspired that the smallest gestures in life can matter.
What to Read When You Don’t Want to Stop…
The Girls by Emma Cline
A lonely teenager finds herself deeply involved with an infamous cult and its magnetic leader. The location is Northern California and the time period is the 1960s, and the book includes all that comes with this setting: music, peace, drugs, and sex. Although a playoff of the Manson Family cult, the book takes a unique approach, following the story not from the eyes of the cult leader, but from one of its most compelling members. Allot some time to read this one, because you won’t want to put it down.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
This suspenseful legal thriller shouldn’t take you more than a day or two to fly through as you furiously follow the murder case of a middle school student found stabbed to death in a park. The prime suspect? Our main character, 14-year old Jacob Barber. The gripping details of the case coupled with an emotional portrayal of a family in distress will have you changing your opinion with each page that you turn.
If you haven’t read for pleasure in some time, you’ve likely forgotten how satisfying it feels to lose yourself in a good book. Whether it’s a gripping murder case or an inspirational memoir, it definitely is not cramming for an exam. So, whatever your plans are this break, consider making reading a new book part of those plans.