There’s nothing like curling up in a warm blanket and reading a good book while the snow comes down, especially after finals are over and there’s no academic stress to get in the way. Give your brain a break from the academic literature of the school year this winter break and unwind with these five wintry books that celebrate the holidays or commemorate the season.
5. “The Shining” by Stephen King: Nothing beats a snow-covered horror story and a cup of hot chocolate on a winter day. The now-classic story of Jack Torrence’s descent into madness, and his son’s desperate attempt to save his father from the evil he knows lingers in the snow-boarded haunted hotel, never ceases to lose its luster. With King’s masterful storytelling and more than enough spooky imagery, this tale speaks to how powerful isolation, and the human spirit, can be.
4. “The Gift” by Cecelia Ahern: This holiday mystery follows the thriving yet miserable Lou Suffern, whose success in the business world is soaring, even as his family life falls to shambles. When Lou offers a job to a seemingly homeless man in order to get more information on his colleagues, he gets more than he bargained for — suddenly, the man seems to have telepathic abilities and super speed and looks exactly like him. If typical mushy holiday stories aren’t for you, this bizarre Christmas caper is a great twist on the genre.
3. “Kwanzaa Klaus” by James Henry: This humorous, quick-paced novella follows Darryl Blueberry, who only wanted to give his son the best Christmas ever — and show up his ex-wife’s boyfriend in the process — but ends up directly on Santa’s naughty list instead. After stealing Santa’s magical sack of toys while saving him from being mugged, Darryl now has to fix the ruined Christmases of all the children who never got their presents. Although Christmas is over, Kwanzaa has just begun – and with the help of a gassy reindeer and a few holiday trowles, Darryl must find a way to make each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa magical — for the children he cheated, his son and even for himself.
2. “How to Spell Chanukah… And Other Holiday Dilemmas” edited by Emily Franklin: This collection of essays about personal experiences and reflections on Chanukah is a great opportunity to gain perspective on what the holidays are truly about. Each author shares personal, witty and, at times, heartbreaking stories about the beloved — or sometimes not — holiday of Chanukah. This is a perfect read for anyone who loves memoirs but can’t seem to find the time to commit. With its short essays, it’s the perfect go-anywhere read.
1. “The Tenth Circle” by Jodi Picoult: Any of Jodi Picoult’s works are a tour-de-force, and this wintry story of tragedy, heartbreak and losing yourself in hardship is no exception. Picoult takes a turn in the heads of six characters following the rape of Trixie Stone, the main character’s daughter. While Trixie tries to navigate her life following the assault, her father attempts to balance his wife’s affair and his desperate fear of backsliding into the person he used to be. Grounded in the unforgiving wintry atmosphere of Alaska and Dante’s depictions of icy Hell, this novel easily blends the pace of a mystery and the storytelling of a classic novel to create a seasonal masterpiece.