At the time of writing this post, we were a couple of days away from ‘Blue Monday’ which is when they say, the holiday hangover hits you hard, and summer still feels like a distant dream.
If like me, you live anywhere in the proximity of the northern hemisphere, you’d probably agree that going into hibernation should be made legal in January!
And whilst we can’t exactly do that (not yet, at least!), I decided to do the next best thing and put together a small list of books that you could snuggle up with over the dark and gloomy winter days. Nothing too stressful, just a list of beautiful books, with captivating prose and a hint of escapism.
I hope you’ll find something you like. Happy Reading!
Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri
There is a soothing kind of beauty to Jhumpa Lahiri’s books. And I have always felt that her short stories are better than her novels. With eight short stories in Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri takes us on a journey from Seattle to Rome, into the lives of sisters, daughters, friends and lovers, each story more emotionally complex than the former.
My favourite one of these remains the titular ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ where we meet Ruma, who is struggling to come to terms with losing her mother, and the surprising discovery of her father’s newfound closeness with a new woman. Jhumpa Lahari at her best!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
I will admit I only picked up this book to find out what the hype was all about. I was infact determined to find faults with it just so I can be that one who busts the myth around bestsellers.
But Gail Honeyman delivered a stunning debut novel and an ever more endearing heroine in the form of Eleanor Oliphant. If fictional BFFs exist, then Eleanor is a friend I want, that’s how much I could relate to her and her awkwardness.
Most importantly though, the book discusses the very real issues of mental health and childhood trauma in an extremely sensitive manner, emphasising the importance of why it is okay to not be okay and why there is nothing wrong in asking for help.
Persuasion – Jane Austen
While I love Pride and Prejudice, and will read / watch it at a moment’s notice, a little- known fact is that Persuasion is in fact my favourite Jane Austen book. Also, it’s got one of my most favourite quotes of all time!
Anne Elliot once refused Frederick Wentworth, as his connections were deemed to be below her. Eight years later, Wentworth is a celebrated captain and Anne is unmarried, with a mountain of financial problems ahead of her. Will love get a second chance?
With its mature protagonists, and a subtle understated romance, in Persuasion Jane Austen has moved away from her traditional themes of witty romance and society comedy. This is her final finished work and remains a firm favourite amongst many Austen fans.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Leisl finds an abandoned book in the graveyard, and soon she learns to read and to enjoy reading – leading her to steal books from libraries and the dreadful Nazi book-burnings. However, soon enough war is at their doorstep and Liesl’s family decide to hide a Jewish street fighter in their basement thus turning Liesl’s world upside down.
Set in Germany of 1939, and narrated by Death, this book is above all, a love affair with books.
The Book Thief is one of those books that will leave you teary eyed and remind you of the beauty of words and the enduring power of books.
The Martian – Andy Weir
Is there life on Mars? Or better still, can we make Mars inhabitable for humans?
These are the questions Andy Weir explores in The Martian, when a team of NASA scientists travel to Mars and then, as his rotten luck would have it, Mark Watney gets left behind during an emergency evacuation, with his team thinking him dead.
Written in a witty dialogue, mostly as journal entries, this book is the perfect escapade especially if like me, you want to escape this planet for a little bit and introspect on the enduring human quality of survival against all odds.
P.S. The movie missed out all the best bits, although Matt Damon was really good 🙂