Colder weather + darker days = more time indoors. That’s why the winter months are among my favorite for curling up with a good book (or six). Whether you need an excuse to stay under the covers a few more hours or are headed off on a winter wonderland vacation, here are a few suggestions for your reading list this winter:
“Seven Days of Us” by Francesca Hornak
After spending time abroad treating an epidemic in Liberia, Olivia Birch returns home to England to see her family for Christmas. But how much family time is too much? Olivia is about to find out when she learns she’s been exposed to a deadly virus, and the entire Birch family must be quarantined together for a full week. It’s not long before the tensions are running high, fueled by bickering, arguments, and exposed secrets. You’ll likely see yourself in the dysfunctional Birch family as they navigate their high drama—and ultimately cheer for their reconciliation. Filled with humor and heart, this novel might make you hug your family a little tighter this Christmas.
“The Ninth Hour” by Alice McDermott
In a fictional early 20th-century Brooklyn, the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor are well-acquainted with suffering, caring for the family of a patriarch who commits suicide, a woman in need of daily care after losing a leg, and abused and neglected children. And yet, the sisters trudge on, always committed to prayer and service to those in need. The convent takes in Sally and her mother Annie after a family tragedy, and their lives quickly become interwoven with the mission of the Sisters. The love that the humble, yet bold Sisters show for the least of their community is inspiring; and, although complicated, the message of mercy, forgiveness, and sacrifice will help remind you of all to be thankful for this season.
“Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward
Recent winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, this captivating novel is part ghost story, part haunting family drama, and part social commentary. It deftly explores racial tensions and injustice in the South, as experienced by a multi-generational, biracial family stretched to a breaking point by drug addiction, violence, and a prison sentence. Despite their heartbreaking circumstances, the author finds humanity, empathy, and hope in the characters, who are searching and desperate to make themselves whole. It reminds today’s reader of all there is yet to learn from our own personal and historical dark pasts.
“Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News” by Kevin Young
Sometimes tensions can run high at holiday gatherings: your uncle revives old family drama you remember quite differently, or political disagreements make sparks fly. You may want to keep the peace and instead quench your burning desire to set the record straight with this read. From forgeries like the Hitler Diaries and imposters like P.T. Barnum to the pervasive emergence of “fake news,” Kevin Young explores the history of hoaxes and the impact these stretched truths have on society today.
“Artemis” by Andy Weir
As the days grow shorter, you may find yourself longing for a vacation to escape to a new climate. And that’s exactly what rich tourists from Earth do when they visit the lunar city of Artemis. Jazz Bashara calls Artemis home, and she agrees to make some cash on the side by working as a smuggler. She soon finds herself wrapped up in seemingly too-good-to-be-true get-rich scheme with one of the wealthiest inhabitants. It quickly develops into high-stakes corruption, and Jazz’s main mission soon becomes simply making it out of the heist alive. The author of “The Martian” writes a grippy, out-of-this-world story to cure your winter blues.
Originally published on December 17, 2017.