After spending the whole semester reading thousands of pages of biology textbooks and classic literature, winter break is the perfect time to catch up on reading you actually want to do.  When getting out of bed is too hard, and you aren’t quite in the Netflix mood, you can’t beat staying curled up in bed with a good book. If you are in need of some recommendations to read, I’ve put together a list of books that were popular in 2013 that you may have missed while  you were too busy studying.  I haven’t read any of these yet either, but they are all now on my own personal must read list, so we are in this one together.

1. This House is Haunted, by John Boyne

This House is Haunted, Cover

If you like old-school ghost stories and the style of Charles Dickens, then this intriguing tale set in 1860s England is the perfect choice for you.  The story is about a 21 year old girl left to take care of 2 children in what she quickly discovers is a haunted house.

2. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half, cover

If words aren’t necessarily your thing, there is no harm in diving into a more grown-up picture book.  Brosh also runs a popular blog, and by combining awkward stories and goofy pictures, the tales in this book should be relateable to any college student.  Perfect if you love books, are in desperate need of a good laugh, but also have a brain that needs a break from dense reading material. There is a picture of a dog on the cover, and that was all I needed to spark my interest in this one.

3. On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes, by Alexandra Horowitz

On Looking, cover

Alexandra Horowitz is a psychology professor and cognitive scientist, and is amazingly talented at explaining her observations in a way that regular people can understand and enjoy.  Her other book, Inside of a Dog, is no joke one of my favorite books, and I am excited to see that she has another book out.  This time, she discusses what she learned while walking around the same neighborhood with 11 different people, ranging from a physician to a child, and looks into explaining how the same thing can look different to different people.

4. Some Kind of Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce

Some Kind of fairytale, cover

When you are stuck in your house with nothing to do, sometimes it is best to embrace a cliche and just get lost in a really good fantasy novel.  In this tale, a girl disappeared for 20 years, and one day, suddenly returned to her family claiming to have been lost in a fairy tale world, believing she had only been gone for 6 months.   The book isn’t just a typical fantasy story, and instead also gets into the emotions of the characters, even the ones who didn’t get to go to the fantasy worl.

5. Blue Is the Warmest Color, by Julie Maroh

Blue is the Warmest Color, cover

I am totally not a graphic novel fan, and most of the ones I’ve read have been completely male oriented.  I wish I liked them more though, because I am definitely a fan of the concept, and the illustrations are usually pretty cool.  This one is about a young woman discovering her sexuality, and is a beautiful coming of age love story.  The novel was made into a move in French, and won an award at the Cannes film festival in 2013.  If you are hesitant about the graphic novel scene, this could be a good place to jump in.

6. Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Wonder, Cover

This book is technically for kids, but the story and message are definitely things that adults should be reminded of.  The main character, a fifth grader named Auggie, was born with a facial deformity, and the book describes his experience with mainstream schooling.  The book also includes the points of view of the people around him, like his sister and her boyfriend, and will cause readers of any age to think about kindness and acceptance.

7. Flat-Out Love, by Jessica Park

Flat out love, cover

Sometimes, you want to read a love story, but don’t want a straight girl meets boy they fall in love but something tragic happens but wait they are in love again story.  Clearly, this book is still about love, but the story is presented a little differently.  The main character, a college freshman, ends up moving in with her mom’s friend’s family when she can’t find an apartment, and eventually the temporary situation starts to feel permanent as she falls in love with the family, one member in particular.

8. Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park Cover

Ok so this is technically a Young Adult book, but it seems like the story is one that even older young adults will still find relevant.  It is about finding your first love, and heck, I know plenty of college students who haven’t found that yet.  It seems like a very cute story, and will do a great job of distracting you from your own disastrous love life.

9. The Age of Miracles: A Novel, by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles, cover

This novel was named one of the best books of the year by a lot of important people, like Oprah. In a time where every movie or novel is about some sort of dystopian society, this one stands out from the crowd. The author has also done a TED talk about fear and the imagination, so if you are a TED talk person, you would probably enjoy reading this on multiple levels.  Also if you are struggling with change, read this and you will feel all of the feels.

10. Falling Into You, by Jasinda Wilder

Falling Into You, Cover

I know I mentioned not wanting a cliche love novel a little earlier, but I lied, usually a sappy, silly love story is all I really want to read.  There is nothing like a good romantic sob story to not make you want to put a book down until it is finished.  This one looks incredibly sad, and I almost need a tissue just after reading the synopsis. “I wasn’t always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his little brother, Kyle, first.”  Ok, sign me up please.

Disclaimer: My descriptions of these books are probably borderline terrible, so just check out the links in the headings or do some Internet surfing of your own and you will probably grow significantly more interested in checking out a few of these titles.

What will you read over winter break?