Saturday Read: 4 & 1/2 Books for Break

So you’re home for break. And it’s wonderful. But what are you going to do with all that downtime for the next three weeks?

How about do a little reading for pleasure? You know what I’m talking about, right? The kind of reading you can do without a highlighter. Without making annotations. Without a 12lb textbook that hurts your arms as you attempt to read it in bed.

Yeah, that’s right. The good kind. For a reader like me, winter break means catching up on all those books I’ve been missing out on thanks to the hundreds of pages of History reading my professors assign nightly. If you’re looking for some good books to pass that time at home (or on a warm beach somewhere) with the parentals, allow me to recommend a few of my favorites. If you do anything over this break (besides watch TV and eat leftovers) you must pick up at least one of these:

1. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Anyone living in North America has had some experience with Native Americans and the hardships that they face. But how much do we really know about their lives, their world and their culture? “Ceremony” tells the tale of a young Native American war veteran who returns to the reservation where he grew up. To help him cope with the trauma surrounding his experiences, the elders of the community decide to conduct traditional ceremonies and healing rituals. This book provides great insight into the ancient traditions of Native Americans, which is incredibly interesting (who said you can’t learn for pleasure?). It also happens to be a “Penguin Classic” so the writing is most definitely exceptional.

2. What is the What by Dave Eggers
This recommendation comes straight from CollegeCandy’s wonderful editor. She is also probably the tenth person to recommend it, so I decided I had to give it a go. “What is the What” is a fictionalized memoir of Valentino Achak Deng, a real hero and refugee of the Sudanese civil war. After years trying to piece a life together in refugee camps, Valentino makes his way to America, where he finds that perhaps the hardships of making a life there may be greater than his time in Africa. Most people believe that once a refugee is in America or another “safe” land, their life becomes a fairytale; as we see in this story, that not the case. “What is the What” is a fascinating story and a powerful read; definitely a good one to sink your teeth into over the break.

3. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Everyone is familiar with the Wizard of Oz and, of course, the mysterious villain, the Wicked Witch of the West. But, just like any other villain, the Wicked Witch has her own story. Gregory Maguire has taken this strange, misunderstood character and weaved an entire biography, explaining every evil thing she does. I just love the creativity of the author and how he leaves no stone unturned, from her strange color to her capture of Dorothy and her relationship with Glinda, the Good Witch. The musical “Wicked,” which was inspired by the book, is probably more well-known than the book and certainly a lot “brighter” as far as storyline goes, but the book is captivating. From the way Maguire addresses social issues to creative way he weaves in the story of Oz as we know it, you won’t be able to put this down.

4. Get into a SERIES!
This one is a bit more general, but with all the free time you’ve got for the next few weeks it’s the perfect time to get into a series. There are so many out there, but here are a few recommendations:
Twilight: Duh. The books aren’t worthy of a Pulitzer, but the story will definitely suck you in.
Harry Potter: If you haven’t picked up a HP book, now’s the time. Regardless of the audience these books were intended for, anyone and everyone will enjoy this series.
Something Borrowed: It’s a total beach read. Your typical “girl in New York on her quest for love,” but they’re good. And quick. And really, really good.

There are tons more out there, so get to that bookstore and search!

4 & 1/2. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
I don’t care if I reviewed this one a month ago (that’s why it’s only a half).  YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. I find myself still thinking of it and how wonderfully it is written. The lesson in this book is just so absolutely profound. I don’t think I can even write down in words how awesome it is and the feeling I got while reading the ending. Just read it. Do it,.

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