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Pick up a good read for winter break

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 22:12

Winter break is the perfect time to kick back next to a fire and read a good book. During the semester it can be difficult to find time to pleasure read, especially when you have eighty pages of Descartes to read in an evening, so here are a few suggestions to pick up for the month long winter recess.

1. “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is thinly veiled literary cocaine, or books that are terribly written (such as any harlequin romance or anything Dan brown) yet thrilling and addictive. Her smart plot lines and smooth writing style disguise the fact that she wants to pull the reader in with a sensational story that pose a complicated moral question. “The Storyteller” is no exception. The novel is of a young woman who befriends an elderly man with a horrifying past. Sage, the daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors is shocked when she discovers her new friend was an S.S. guard. Doesn’t sound shocking enough? Sage is forced to make ethical and legal decisions after her new friend asks her for a difficult favor. Pick this one up if you have a lot of concentrated free time and can spare a few hours to sit down and read continuously.

2. “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls
Whereas Picoult crafts a story that grabs the reader for its sensationalism, Walls has readers captive with the details of her childhood moving around with her destitute family. This is not a “feel good read” by any stretch of the imagination with its descriptions of violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and homelessness, but the vivid portrait of those who lives on the fringes of American society is a lasting experience that leaves the reader feeling empty and questioning how society lets children, in particular, suffer in such miserable ways. At only 288 pages this memoir is an easy read that can be easily picked up for a flight, a road trip or a quick read on a lazy weekend. Need more incentive to read this one? Its been picked up by Paramount Studios for a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence who will also make her debut as a producer.

3. “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai
The world was rocked when reports of the Taliban shooting a 15-year-old Pakistani girl point blank on her way home from school surfaced. Malala Yousafzai was a well known and vociferous advocate for female education in her native country, and courageously stood up to the oppressive Taliban ideology. This act and her continued activism has garnered acknowledgement in the form of nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize and TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. Her autobiography is a stunning look into the events that shaped her life and strays from sensationalism and drama, simply stating the facts and expressing her valid and interesting thoughts.

4. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth
If you went to see “Catching Fire” last week you can’t have missed the action packed theatrical trailer for the film adaptation of Roth’s “Divergent.” The novel is the first in a series of three and revolves around the life of Beatrice Prior, a young woman living in futuristic Chicago. Humans of the future are not allowed to chose their talents and aptitudes, instead they are tested for a series of five talents (amity, candor, abnegation, erudite and dauntless). Prior is resistant to all five and is considered “divergent” which is dangerous in their society. Not fitting into any of the designated factions, Prior struggles to belong and soon discovers a strange plot brewing in the city. Expect excellent action sequences and suspense from this one.

5. “Winter’s Bone” by Daniel Woodrell
If you’re pining for a little methamphetamine action after the dramatic end to “Breaking Bad” look no further than “Winter’s Bone.” This novel rose to fame after a 2010 film adaptation starring Jennifer Lawrence brought the ingénue to fame. Despite that, the novel is a masterpiece in and of itself with its gritty descriptions of poverty and daily life in the Ozarks. The main character, Ree, is burdened with taking care of her family because her father is on the run after being arrested for producing methamphetamine and her mother is mentally ill. Upon discovering that her family will be evicted if her father’s bond isn’t posted, Ree sets out on a dangerous and harrowing journey to find him and save her family. The novel is an exciting journey for the reader, but often is disturbing and shocking. After you finish you can bring the harsh reality to life by watching the excellent movie.

 

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