eNoters! We are so close to springtime!
Birds, bees, apple trees, and sunscreen. It’s almost in our reach. But when the sun comes back, we lose our (completely viable) excuse to stay in after school/work… with our fuzzy slippers & snowflake jammies, bingeing on Netflix or absorbed in a book all night.
Let’s be clear: coming from an introvert, I never condemn these practices any time of year. But the other people of the world expect, yah know, some sort of human contact every now and then. *sigh*
So, let’s take advantage of the coming months’ gift of socially acceptable pajama-donning YOU time. Here’s some great winter-themed reads to keep you cozied up inside:
1) Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
This “travelouge” from Bill Bryson is a light-hearted, humorous, and endearing tale of a first-hand adventure of the Appalachian Trail. Chock-full of interesting characters and almost a stream of conscious commentary, it will keep you laughing out loud or flipping pages.
You’ll either want to get out and hike yourself, or stay in your reading nook. Either way – contentment achieved.
Not to be confused with the catchy Disney flick, Frozen is the first book in a YA fantastical fiction series is about a mystical, post-apocalyptic world covered in ice (yeesh… I got chills typing that).
You’ll follow along with the protagonist, Nat, as she tried to find a non-frozen haven. Therapeutic, right?
3) Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Obviously a classic, but the Chronicles of Narnia stand the test of time as a wonderful winter-themed read to take you away on an adventure. Author C.S. Lewis sets the stage for conquering the Ice Queen and restoring peace & tranquility (and green things!) to Narnia.
I personally keep my copy nearby all winter for a quick escape into the wardrobe of Spare Oom.
4) Game of Thrones series
If you haven’t been told by a Stark “winter is coming” a time or two (or twenty), then you’re missing out. These medieval fantasy masterpieces have it all: romance, deceit, politics, triumph, endless twists, and dragons. Rawr.
Pro tip: The audiobooks are a wonderful way to digest the complex characters and plots. Narrated by the legendary Roy Dotrice, they are sure to keep you on your toes (and… ears?) for many, many hours.
5) Life As We Knew It
This novel is told through the diary of 16-year old protagonist, Miranda, as a meteor striking the moon causes the world to dive into natural disasters and extreme temperature changes. Life As We Knew It kick starts a best-selling series as Miranda copes with this new, unexpected world.
Sip empathetically on your hot chocolate as snowpocalypse, tornadoes, and tsunamis run rampant.
6) The Golden Compass
Another classic, the Golden Compass is a go-to during winter. Lyra is forced to chase after a mysterious “particle” dust in the Arctic; the dust is rumored to be able to unite the universe. You and Lyra will face shape-shifting soul creatures (Daemons), dimensional worlds, and armored polar bears (of course).
This high-rated graphic novel is a coming of age tale involving first love, budding (and unappreciated) creativity, and loss. The artwork of the graphic novel is as beautiful as the storyline, and might be a good change of pace from traditional novels.
It is a monster of a book (clocking in at 600 pages), but that just means the relatable characters and frosty adventure will keep your fuzzy-feelings around that much longer.
Let’s hear from you: what books help you get through the winter months?
Food makes everything better. Using it as a motif, or repetitive symbol, in literature makes reading all the more delicious. Who would not wish to take a bite out of Madame Bovary’s ultra-chav wedding’s Savoy cake, or know for themselves exactly how bad that gruel was in Oliver Twist. Check these ten famous literature munchies and see why they make great food…for thought!
10. Cucumber Sandwiches- The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde’s 1895 play The Importance of Being Earnest opens in a glamorous West London bachelor’s pad belonging to the dandy Algernon Moncrieff. “Algy” asks his butler to prepare cucumber sandwiches for his aristocratic aunt, Lady Bracknell. Algy’s best friend Ernest asks, “Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young?” The issue concludes with Algy’s mindless eating of all of his aunt’s sandwiches prior to her arrival, only to claim to her later that there were no cucumbers in the market “even for ready money.”
So why are cucumber sandwiches considered extravagant? Although cucumbers originated in India over 4,000 years ago it was not until Queen Victoria’s appointment as Empress of India in 1877 that the influence of the national products, such as the cucumber, fully entered the British culture. Once the sandwiches hit the royal table for the first time, the upper and middle classes caught wind of it and made them their signature afternoon tea snack. Following the very Victorian tradition of imitating everything that the Queen did, these once-dubbed “beautiful” people solidified the connection between the cucumber sandwich and “poshness.”
9. Eggs- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
In Frank McCourt’s 1987 Nobel prize-winning memoir Angela’s Ashes, the egg symbolizes hope, wishes, and indulgence. This guileless motif is juxtaposed to the dire living conditions of the Irish Catholic McCourt family. Young Frank tells us in chapter IX that he has plans for “that egg” that he would get the Sunday after his father gets the first paycheck from his new job. The plan: To “tap it around the top, gently crack the shell, lift with a spoon, a dab of butter down into the yolk, salt, take my time, a dip of the spoon, scoop, more salt, more butter, [and] into the mouth”. Yummo! Eggs are described with particular candor, as they represent a luxury that the McCourts, with their never-ending financial woes, could hardly afford.
Sadly, no one gets any eggs. Malachy, Frank’s father, ends up squandering all of his paychecks, leaving his family to fall deeper into their cavernous money hole. But lady luck helps Frank once he leaves Ireland and reaches America: he gets to work at a restaurant, and hunger is no longer an issue for him! After hunger is satiated in the novel, food becomes a motif for American excesses, complete with dreams of a jumbo shrimp chasing Mrs. Angela McCourt down the street. The novel is not about food, but you get the idea.
Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re looking for a costume idea, we’ve collected our top 10 literature-inspired outfits here by level of difficulty, so you can look bookishly awesome no matter how much time you have on your hands.
1. Ishmael, from Moby Dick
You’re just one name tag away from “Call me Ishmael.”
2. Fifty Shades of Grey
Witty and racy. Head to your local hardware store for some free color sheets and you’re done! Read the rest of this entry »
Well, no. That title probably goes to this…
However, it is possibly the worst cover of a classic novel ever published.
(Wait, are you saying Henry James’ 1891 novel The Turn of the Screw isn’t actually about screws?!)
No. It’s not about screws.