Best reads for December

Harley Marks, Opinions Co-Editor

December: a month brimming with emotion as holiday shopping stress, new year goal setting, and completing the Fall semester accumulate simultaneously. To cope with this somewhat tumultuous season, I find myself reaching for novels that offer escapism, mystery and wistfulness every year. 

Although it is hard to find recreational reading time during these stressful few weeks of finals, maybe you can be inspired by this list, and pick up one of these books when you return to the comfort of your home for winter break. 

These six novels consist of thrillers, romantic fiction, memoirs, classics, and even re-imagined classics. No matter what genre you like to read, I guarantee there will be a book on here for you. So get your blanket, turn on the yule log and cozy up with one of these amazing works. 

The first story I want to highlight is titled “HesterA Reimagined Tale of The Scarlet Letter” by Laurie Lico Albanese. This novel features main character Isobel Gamble, a young seamstress who sets sail from Scotland with her husband Edward in the 1800s.

Edward, an apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, is forced to flee to Edinburgh due to his accumulating pile of debts. However, soon after arriving to the “New World,” Edward abandons Isobel, forcing her to support herself with few resources, isolated in a new country. 

This book is a modern retelling of Hawthorne’s classic “The Scarlet Letter”, and I believe many of you will like it even more than the original, as it delves into motifs of love, courage and fate. Not to mention the writing in this story is undeniably beautiful. 

The second novel worth your time this December is Matt Haig’s “The Midnight Library.” If you are one for thrillers, literature and dramatic choices, this is the book for you. “The Midnight Librarytells the tale of a library filled with an infinite number of books.

This isn’t your normal library though, as it is filled with books and stories of what your life could’ve been if you made different choices. Protagonist Nora Seed is faced with the choice of changing her entire life, with a different career, relationships and completely morphed life goals all at play. 

The Midnight Libraryis a story that forces us to beg the question: what makes life worth living, and what possible dangers are posed from regretting your past choices?

In a similar fashion, Duchess Goldblatt’s memoir, “Becoming Duchess Goldblatt”, addresses life’s biggest questions; how can we reclaim life after grief? What slivers of positivity can come from loneliness, and lastly, how can joyous escapism keep spirits high?

This story is the perfect blend of reality and imagination, as readers are guided through the account of how the Twitter pseudonym Duchess Goldblatt, and all of her wit and love for humanity, came to be from seclusion of the real-life writer who created this character. 

If you are looking to dip your toe into the world of autobiographies but aren’t quite sure if you can commit to a dense/heavy one, “Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is a great first place to start. 

Hopefully these books can provide you with some solace as we enter this cold (and often dreary) winter season. 

Honorable Mentions:

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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