Winter is almost here!–and while that means getting a heavy use out of my winter jacket and desperately trying to avoid slipping on the ground, it also means that first semester’s coming to a close. My first three months at St Andrews have been crazy. The hardest part being barely able to balance my workload with my free time. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my English module and the wonderful books I’ve read, it doesn’t leave much time for pleasure reading. Eager to get back into it, I’ve created a short list of books that I want to read this winter. Some are new releases, and other titles that I’ve been wanting to pick up for a while!
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
I consider reading The Handmaid’s Tale for my literature class in high school to be a blessing–I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring Offred’s narrative, admiring her courage and scorning at the societal constructs of Gilead. Set in a near-futuristic dystopian world, the novel explores the place of women who have been stripped of their right to read, earn money, and lead an individualistic life in 1980s America. Offred, our protagonist, is a handmaid. These women are basically sex slaves with the purpose of reproducing for upper-class families, where the toxic environment of Gilead has rendered most infertile. Without spoiling too much, the sequel answers all the questions that have left everyone guessing and theorizing about the fate of Offred since the first novel.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Written by the author of the highly acclaimed novel–The Night Circus–comes another recently released novel (November 5th) with a fascinating premise. Falling within the realm of mystery and fantasy, the novel revolves around Zachary Ezra Rawlins who discovers one of his childhood stories in a book filled with timeless tales of people from all around the world. Certain clues lead him to a masquerade party in New York, and then a mystical underground library which is a collection of several worlds. This novel is written in multiple pov, as Zachary meets several new people along the way. “The Starless Sea rejects old stories: it makes its own” (The Guardian), and I’m excited to see how it does so.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This classic was published in 1854, and considered a feminist novel with a strong lead, perfect for the fans of Pride and Prejudice. As Margaret Hale is forced to move to northern England for the sake of her family, she comes across the terrible living conditions that people face during the rapid rise of industrialization. Motivated by bringing social justice, she absolutely despises the mill-owner, John Thorton, but comes to realise that there is more to the picture than she thinks. I look forward to reading this novel and the course Hale takes on her newfound passion for political causes and love life.
Lovely War by Julie Berry
This new young adult historical-fiction weaves in greek mythology and World Wars I and II to tell the story of 4 people with intertwined paths. Brought together by music, our protagonists’ stories are told by Aphrodite and other greek Gods with an emphasis on the role of women, post-war effects, and issues of race. It has received excellent reviews, and I can’t wait to see how the distinct elements of the novel will play out.
One Day in December by Josie Silver
It’s been a while since I read a contemporary, “chick-lit” novel, and this seems like the perfect pick for winter! Embedded in the age-old trope of “love at first sight”, the novel explores the destinies of Laurie and Jack whose paths cross unexpectedly with an undeniable spark between them. Unfortunately, the next time they meet, Sarah (Laurie’s best friend), introduces Jack to her as her new boyfriend. I look forward to reading this heartwarming, cozy romance novel with a focus on the crazy turns life takes.
Happy winter reading to all of you!