Westwind

recommendation

Post by Paige Hua

If your holidays are anything like mine, then you spend a decent amount of time traveling to visit family. Because, admit it, more family equals more presents (or in my case, more red envelopes). However, those hours upon hours of nothing to do can get boring. Here are four books from a variety of genres that are long enough to keep you entertained on your holiday travels and short enough to finish before those dizzying spells hit from endless passages on bumpy roads.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Set in New England during World War II, A Separate Peace takes a bit of a twist on coming of age stories and speaks on what friendships can really be like. Knowles’ writing easily takes you back to your own moments of your youth where sometimes even the best of friendships suffers from envy. At 208 pages, this novel is fitting for any holiday travel as Knowles also beautifully describes New England snowfall during Christmas time. Not to mention, this story is a wonderful reminder to be thankful for the friends you have around you and to take greater care in how you treat them.

The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

A wonderful read for any lovers of Rupi Kaur’s style of poetry and can be easily finished in perhaps a short train ride. These poems hit deep and will resonate with anyone who has suffered the trials of being a woman. Yet, it also goes beyond these trials and tribulations as well; there’s a wonderful poem about the uncertainty that is often intertwined with being an English major. Perfect for anyone who needs some reassurance before settling in with family or with some hot chocolate for the holiday season.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

In my opinion, young adult fiction has a bit of a bad reputation these days, but this little novel is sure to restore some faith in the genre. Although, be warned, you might want to sit in the backseat for this one because it is almost guaranteed to put you to tears. I recommend you go into it as blind as possible, but just know that Sáenz does a beautiful job describing the effect words can have on us and why we as readers can cherish them so much. This is just such a short, sweet, and meaningful novel for any trip and especially warming for the holidays.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

This novel was definitely one that took me by surprise. At 110 pages it was no arduous read; however, be willing to suspend your disbelief as Eagleman proposes some wild tales for the afterlife. Eagleman writes of forty mind boggling situations that is sure to not only get your mind working during any long travel, but also remind you to be grateful for the short life you are given. Boredom suddenly seems like a dangerous thing because, as Eagleman so graciously points out, you spend two years reliving it in your afterlife.

Post by Rhiannon Wilson

It’s February, and that means everything will be a bit rose-tinged for the next few weeks. Regardless of your relationship status, Valentine’s Day can be stressful, with tension perforating your good mood until it resembles white lace—without the fun decorating aspect. Why not cozy up with candles, some form of chocolate, and dog-eared pages this holiday? Legends are not totally clear as to why Saint Valentine was martyred, but the cause of your enjoyment will be much easier to see with these lovely books to keep you company.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke

This 20th-century Austrian poet had a life filled with travels and discourses with very smart women. The result: a plethora of mystical poems, musing on love and nature that resonate even if you can’t read in the original German or French. Rilke uses classical Greek motifs and characters in some works, such as the Sonnets of Orpheus, allowing an easy connection point for anyone familiar with tragic romances. His lines are especially beautiful when spoken aloud….or taken completely out of context for a Valentine card that you could pretend to have written. Construction paper, anyone?

Courtesy of Goodreads

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

This is a fantastic, comprehensive book that everyone should read if they want to improve their relationships and emotional health. bell hooks is widely regarded as a feminist authority on recovery and dissecting the patriarchy. In this novel she describes how people have internalized prejudices, only to let them out in intimate relationships. Her range covers more than romance, however, extending to familial and platonic connections, making it a valuable read for everybody.

Courtesy of Goodreads

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

In the humble opinion of this English major, this Pulitzer-winner has everything a person could want in a novel: adventure, kisses, and super-detailed descriptions of punching Nazis. Chabon’s plot charts the origins of the American comic book industry through the tale of two cousins in 1940s New York. Some of it was even researched at the UCLA libraries! There is a heartbreaking romance, but love seeps through every line, from the commitment to art to friendship and loyalty. The best part? It’s nearly 700 pages!  If you’re stressed about Valentine’s Day plans, you’ll be occupied for at least a week.

Courtesy of Goodreads

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

This novel is pure romance, in the standard genre sense. Waters is known for lesbian literature in different time periods, and this Victorian take makes for a suspenseful read. A pickpocket is hired to swindle an heiress of her fortune, and the multiple character perspectives that the narrative uses creates a stunning picture of how strangely a conspiracy could unravel. If you want something fun to watch, you’re in luck! The BBC adapted the book for a mini-series in 2005, and Park Chan-wook directed another version in 2016; he sets the film in Japan-occupied Korea, and the plot twists are different enough from the original novel that both leave the reader happy.

Hopefully, these books will entertain you and your partner, or at least give you something fun to talk about with your crush.

 

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