I already know which “serious” books I’m reading this winter break (and “serious” is in scare quotes because I don’t really believe in categorizing books like that), but I don’t have any plans for fun reading.
I am a strange reader. I hardly ever just “like” books. Either I dislike them, or I love them. The middle term is not “like” but rather “am interested in”; there are many books that I’ve read for school which I’m not in love with, but which (for a complex and generally more intellectual set of reasons) I am interested in.
I also don’t love many books anymore, it seems. I want to change that. And this is where you come in! I have found most of the books I love through the recommendations of friends who loved them first, and I’m reaching out to see if anyone else has suggestions for what I should read.
My current favorite books include, in no particular order:
- Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series
- Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
- Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series
- Sabriel by Garth Nix
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Heart’s Blood by Robin McKinley
- J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
- Holly Black’s Curse Workers trilogy-in-progress
In general I’m really interested in books with:
- strong female characters (who have positive relationships with other strong female characters!): note, protagonist need not be female
- interesting emotional relationships between characters, the development of which somehow matters to the plot
- sci-fi that’s more on the anthropological side of things, like LeGuin
- urban fantasy: any time magic coexists with the real world I’m hooked (even if it’s coexisting with a real historical world, or this coexistence has created an alternate world), but to keep me hooked the book has to think about how magic impacts the everyday instead of just allowing characters to escape from it
- a generally positive worldview, or at least a belief in the power of humanity to persist against struggles and create things of beauty (even if those things don’t last)
And it would be really hard to sell me on:
- vampires, fairies, zombies
- anything in which the (probably white, probably male) main character wanders through his ennui, contemplates his place in the world, is dissatisfied with life and his job and his relationships, then discovers (probably via the help of some quasi-spiritual experience that appropriates and/or romanticizes the pain and suffering of less fortunate others, and/or via a manic pixie dream girl) that all this pain and suffering is somehow worth it, man, and we gotta keep movin’ through it
- anything where there isn’t a sense of emotional connection to the characters, or some other kinds of emotional engagement that leads to a feeling of payoff at the end
- anything that doesn’t demonstrate basic knowledge of grammar and style
If for some reason you are really into this and want to know more you could check out my Goodreads account.
Also because this didn’t show up explicitly above, I should mention that I love YA books and I especially love reading them over the holidays because they’re like brain candy compared to the stuff I read for school (and also some of my favorite books of all time are YA).
So, dear followers and people here via the tags: What should I read over break?