Sunday, December 13, 2015

All I Want for Christmas is... More Books

It's finally the holiday season, and you know what that means--peppermint mochas, lots of lights, and cozying up by the fireplace. But when I'm snowed in for the day and have nothing to do but cuddle up in a fluffy blanket, I'm going to want a good book in my hands. So for Christmas this year, I asked for several great books to keep me entertained all season long. Here's a list of my top 5 reads in case you're looking to add to your winter book collection, too.

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
     This is a World War II novel, which is what initially grabbed my attention. The story begins when the Allies start shelling the French city of Saint-Malo to drive out Nazi troops. From there, we follow Laure, a blind French girl who had previously escaped to Saint-Malo with her uncle, and Werner, a radio expert in the German army who is stuck in the city when the attack begins. Through a series of short, well-crafted scenes over both perspectives and myriads of time, we are presented with a bittersweet and haunting love story.

2. In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
     Set in winter of 1992, three groups of teenagers go to see the movie version of a famous comic book series. Adam goes in a last-ditch effort to win over the girl he's crushed on for years in Florida before he leaves for good. Sharon (an avid fan) skips school in Cincinnati so that she can appreciate it without her annoying friends. And in Chicago, Phoebe and Ollie are at the movie for a first date. This story follows the characters for two decades, watching them cross the globe and become entwined in friendship, ambition, sex, and tragedy.

3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
     This story follows Rachel, a girl who takes the same commuter train every day. Every morning, the train flashes past suburban homes and stops where Rachel watches the same couple eating breakfast on their deck. It's almost as if she knows them: Jess and Jason. Their life seems perfect (not unlike the life she's lost). And then something unexpected happens and everything changes. Rachel must offer everything she knows to the police and becomes entwined in what happens next, as well as who is involved.

4. Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
     Area X is a remote and lush location that has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. What was left of human civilization has now been taken over by nature. The first expedition returned with reports of a beautiful landscape; every member of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died when the members turned against each other; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months, died of cancer. This story follows the twelfth expedition.

5. Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
     If you're a fan of Mad Men, this book might be for you. Anna Wyatt is an account executive, recently divorced, and has done a lot of emotional cleansing. But now she's 40 and can't figure out what she needs. As she tries to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book that offers her unexpected insights and takes her to a romance writers' conference. Now she needs to sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner (and meet the author who inspired her to take control of her life) in order to win the account.