By Devon Butler
Baby it’s (very, very) cold outside. During these cold winter months, there is nothing better than lighting some candles, making tea and curling up with a book. I’m constantly seeking new books to read, whether scouring a cozy bookstore or perusing listicles of the “best books to read,” but I find I’m always more inclined to pick up a book when it comes recommended. So snuggle up and let’s get to the 5 books you need to read this winter.
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
The Nest follows the wealthy Plumb family but the “nest” (aka. the children’s inheritance) won’t be accessible until the youngest daughter turns 40. It’s an easy read with several relatable characters and story arcs. Plus, I love the way it paints New York (especially Brooklyn). Family dynamics are always interesting to read about, especially when written with such precision and insight.
If you haven’t read anything by Jennifer Egan I recommend checking out Look At Me. She’s an excellent writer who gives such remarkable details that it’s easy to get lost in a character’s mind. She is the kind of writer who crafts stories that have you thinking of them long after you close the book. Manhattan Beach (another New York-based novel) shows a side of New York/Brooklyn during World War II that makes you want to google everything to see if it really happened. It also has some intense (albeit weird) sex scenes if you’re into that.
Holy hell, this book destroyed me. On the surface, Sport of Kings is about a family who owns a horse farm in Kentucky and the inner workings of horse racing. It is, however, a sweeping epic following two families, one black, one white, and how their worlds collide. It will probably make you cry, whether for the brilliantly crafted story or for the beautiful language itself.
W. Somerset Maugham
I’m going to throw it back now, to the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage because it’s one of my all-time favourite books. It’s a more traditional bildungsroman novel and though written over a hundred years ago, it’s super relatable. The main character, Philip Carey, is somewhat of an outsider trying to figure out his life (hello quarter-life crisis) and falls into a tortured affair with a waitress. It’s slow to start but I promise it’s storytelling at it’s finest.
Made into a 2010 film of the same title, Barney’s Version is a funny, disturbing and frustrating tale that follows Barney’s three marriages and their dissolution. But wait, there’s also murder! Barney is an unreliable narrator but you’ll soon find out why. You’ll still hate him, but you will love this book.