Winter in New York City is expected to be cold and snowy, as usual. For many, that means outdoor activities like sleigh rides, ice skating, or building snowmen. While those are not at all bad ideas, sometimes it’s nice to stay inside, in the warmth of your own home, instead. In those moments, one of the best ways to keep yourself occupied is a good book and a warm drink.
Books are an escape, a way to beat winter blues, and to get caught up on reading that you may have ditched during the summer, when activities were more plentiful and the weather too nice to remain inside. For my own interest, I looked up some recommended titles on goodreads.com, to tackle this season. Below I’ve included five which piqued my interest.
Go Set A Watchman (Synopsis from Goodreads) Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch–“Scout”–returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt.
City On Fire (Synopsis from Goodreads) From post-Vietnam youth culture to the fiscal crisis, from a lushly appointed townhouse on Sutton Place to a derelict squat on East 3rd Street, this city on fire is at once recognizable and completely unexpected. And when the infamous blackout of July 13th, 1977 plunges it into darkness, each of these entangled lives will be changed, irrevocably.
Beatlebone (Synopsis from Goodreads): It is 1978, and John Lennon has escaped New York City to try to find the island off the west coast of Ireland he bought nine years prior. Leaving behind domesticity, his approaching forties, his inability to create, and his memories of his parents, he sets off to find calm in the comfortable silence of isolation. But when he puts himself in the hands of a shape-shifting driver full of Irish charm and dark whimsy, what ensues can only be termed a magical mystery tour.
Slade House (Synopsis from Goodreads): Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.
The Dying Grass (Synopsis from Goodreads): William T. Vollmann tells the story of the Nez Perce War, with flashbacks to the Civil War. Defrauded and intimidated at every turn, the Nez Perces finally went on the warpath in 1877, subjecting the U.S. Army to its greatest defeat since Little Big Horn as they fled from northeast Oregon across Montana to the Canadian border. Vollmann’s main character is not the legendary Chief Joseph, but his pursuer, General Oliver Otis Howard, the brave, shy, tormented, devoutly Christian Civil War veteran. In this novel, we see him as commander, father, son, husband, friend, and killer.
This time of year can be disheartening for a lot of people. The snow is pretty at first, but it gets old quickly. Additionally, it’s not unusual for many to waste snow days in bed or flipping through channels to find something on TV. Change up the routine, find and purchase some interesting books. It can’t hurt to learn a little while you’re hibernating, awaiting for the return of spring.