Books to warm you up this winter – The Observer


With over a foot of snow already under our belts, we can safely say that winter is in full swing. Besides, what better way to beat the cold than with a good book? Whether it’s a whirlwind romance, a gripping historical novel, or a powerful memoir, reading can reignite your imagination and give you a much-needed break from the madness of college life. Any seasoned bookworm would agree that reading a good book can be just as satisfying as watching a Hallmark movie around the holiday season. That’s why, in Spirit of Winter, I’ve compiled a list of books from different genres that are sure to give you the warmth that only strong characters and an engaging storyline can provide.

“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by VE Schwab

E. Schwab is best known for her novel Vicious and her Shades of Magic series, but her recent standalone novel The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue has recaptured readers’ love for her imaginative plots. This centuries-old historical fiction/fantasy novel follows the life of Addie LaRue, a young 17th-century French woman cursed to live forever but forgotten by all who meet her. Almost as if to offer us a snapshot of history, LaRue navigates the world and the story as she tries to understand her curse, find her purpose, and maybe even form a lasting bond with a worthy love interest. Her tale of loss, hope, and adventure is built through rich tone, intelligent pacing, and Schwab’s talent for detailed worlds. This novel is a must read if you’re looking for a whimsical story that will keep you reading all night.

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

Readers of my memoir 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 as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life as she mourns the loss of her mother – her most important connection to Korean culture. In developing this story, Zauner’s narratives of various Korean foods and cooking techniques serve as a vehicle to uncover a complex mother-daughter relationship. While the focus is on the heartwarming story of redefining one’s identity, Zauner also uses her deep and honest prose to emphasize the extremely harrowing nature of mortality and the value of holding on to one’s culture and memories. This unique memoir clearly deserves a read this winter.

“A Day in December” by Josie Silver

This Selection is a contemporary romance novel that focuses on the budding relationship between the two main characters, Jack and Laurie. As the title suggests, the two have a fleeting first encounter at a bus stop on a snowy December day – one that leaves both characters longing for a second. The book follows the couple’s journey to reconnect and rekindle their original flame while navigating the meaning of intimacy and the uncertainty of adult life. Unfortunately, the couple finds additional strain in their relationship as opposing parts of their personalities are brought to the fore – but we learn that this only strengthens their bond in the long run. Overall, this whirlwind winter romance is sure to have you swooning over love and that rare happily ever after.

“The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

Another denizen of the fantasy genre is “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. This is the story of a strange library with an infinite number of books, each containing a description of a different reality in which an individual might 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 teaches its readers about the uncertainty and instability of life; The novel shows that regrets, hardships and deception are an inevitable part of human experience. Additionally, unique 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 that description isn’t encouraging enough, take a look at this quote:

“Between life and death there is a library, and in that library the shelves go on forever. Each book offers an opportunity to try a different life that you could have lived. To see what it would be like if you had made different decisions… Would you have done anything differently if you had the opportunity to undo your regrets?”

Needless to say, The Midnight Library is a must-read new release.

While the recommendations have ended, the reading opportunities have only just begun. If this list isn’t extensive enough, consider surfing through Goodreads or Barnes and Noble, or ask a fellow reader about their favorites. Whichever you choose, say goodbye to the cold winter winds with your choice of hot beverage, a fluffy blanket and a reading experience you’ll never forget.


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