Dealing with family members, buying gifts, traveling – it can all get overwhelming fast.
So it’s important to give yourself a break every now and then and there’s no better way to do that than with curling up with a good book.
Reading is more than just entertainment, it’s highly therapeutic. It sparks your imagination, let’s you mentally escape from your daily stresses, improved your reading comprehension, and keeps your mind sharp.
Even better, reading encourages you to expand your range of thinking, broadens your knowledge base and enhances your ability to communicate with others.
All in all, reading is a way to revitalize your mind. So if you’re seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, here are some great not-so summer books to check out.
1) Wintering by Peter Geye
A sequel to the novel, The Lighthouse Road, the Wintering is set in the northern Minnesota wilderness and is loaded with such visceral imagery of ruggedness and isolation that you’ll feel totally lost in harsh but beautiful wilds. Gaye’s depiction of life for the area’s inhabitants – both the past generation’s described in the book and for some living there today – seems dead on. The story itself is quiet and subdued, but it carries a lot of emotional weight, and if you liked the book’s predecessor, you’ll be more than pleased with this one as well.
2) The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime by Toshio Ban (translated by Frederik L. Schodt)
“The Disney of Japan”, Tezuka is a cutting edge innovator who’s massive influence on Japanese pop culture has produced work that is amazingly brutal, cute, transcendent and adventurous all at the same time. Not exactly speed reading, the 900-page biography is presented in Tezuka’s trademark manga style and while it doesn’t give you anything in the way of juicy revelations (it’s an officially sanctioned bio after all), it does offer a fascinating look at how his work was formed out of postwar Japan.
3) Voyager: Travel Writings by Russell Banks
A compilation of essays where Banks looks back at a career of writing and traveling, ultimately concluding that both practices are forever linked. Each essay starts by introducing a location’s (the Caribbean, the Everglades, Dakar, Scotland…) rich history, and from there our less-than-perfect narrator stumbles across the landscape. The first essay involves Banks embarking on an almost dreamlike spiral through the Caribbean’s lush islands as he courts his 4th wife, resulting in deeply hidden desires and long-buried secrets coming to light.
4) The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
If supernatural fiction is your thing, you’ll definitely want to check out this book published by the U.K.’s acclaimed Tartarus Press. This is actually Hurley’s first novel, and it’s a serious chiller about a young boy, “Tonto” Smith, in London whose family travels to the Moorings, a house standing over a menacing swath of Cumbrian coast called the Loney. Hurley lures readers in with happenings that seem just beyond our natural world, keeping you hooked by never quite revealing explanations as to what’s actually going on and offering an eerie tale that examines family relationships and religious beliefs.
5) Allegheny Front by Matthew Neill Null
While the lion’s share of our nation’s myths and folklore come from the old west, the rough mountainsides and black hollows of early Appalachia are just as captivating and quite a bit eerier. Null is a native West Virginian and his book of short stories chronicle a span of 200 years that combines a study of relationships, violence, and beauty. With Allegheny Front, Null creates dark, vivid landscapes, focusing on how the imagery of where we live and shape the way we perceive the world. The result is a rich, fascinating portrait of one of North America’s more foreboding regions.
6) The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
With books flying off the shelves at American college campuses, The Sleep Revolution’s look at how sleep deprivation – particularly with regards to students – can have severely damaging effects on our physical and mental health. Huffington’s message is one that’s both a warning and empowering; by improving our quality of sleep, we can live a more balanced, fulfilling and calmer lifestyle.
6) The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
In King’s latest collection of short story thrillers, he puts together an array of stories that include themes of guilt, the afterlife, mortality and how we might live our lives a little differently if we could know the future and alter the past. Included with each story is King’s commentary on how, when and why he wrote each story and it’s every bit as fascinating as the work itself.
So whether you’re looking for thrills and chills, self-improvement, of a captivating biography this holiday season, the books listed above are a great place to get started.
So kick back with a mug of cocoa and a great book! It’s a great way to enjoy the holiday season and will give you the well-earned break you need from everything else!