Top 10 books that should be on your Christmas list this year

BY BRIANNA BECERRA

As Christmas rolls around this year, bookworms all around the world are patiently awaiting the arrival of new novels that they can tear into. As an avid reader myself, I have a mile-long list of books that I want to see under my tree this year. If you’re unsure about what to get that bookworm friend or just want to dive into something new, I ranked the top ten books that should be on your Christmas list this year.

#10- The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

After reading Fahrenheit 451, I decided to pick up another work by Ray Bradbury. This is a collection of 18 science fiction short stories for those who love to dig into dystopian worlds. It is perfect for anyone who does not want to fully commit to a novel, as the broken up short stories allow for a variety of different plot lines. Even though I have never been much of a science fiction fan myself, this is definitely worth a read.

#9- Invictus by John Carlin

Sports based novels have never been something that I have gravitated toward, but Invictus holds a captivating plotline steeped in political turmoil. It follows Nelson Mandela as he seeks to unite South Africa, and it is a clear example of how sports can bring people together. I would have never chosen this one on my own accord, but I am grateful that I was required to read it for AP Seminar. It was an easy read and pushed me out of my flowery fiction-loving box.

#8- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

I have always found myself fascinated by psychology and the human mind, so reading a non-fiction book that explored those areas was an easy decision. Malcolm Gladwell explains the psychology behind quick thinking, effectively showing how subconscious biases affect human behavior. Though this may sound like a boring read, I hung onto every word, hoping to glean some sort of knowledge and learn how to check my own bias.

#7- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

This novel is considered by many to be one of the literary classics. It showcases childhood emotions and family relationships as the Ramsays and their eight children stay in their summer home. This was the first work I read by Virginia Woolf, and her attention to detail and underlying themes have drawn me to more of her novels. To the Lighthouse is a great starting point for those who want to dive deeper into Virginia Woolf’s world of classics.

#6- Emma by Jane Austen

Emma is definitely not the first Jane Austen book that you should read. Its length can be quite intimidating, but it is absolutely worth the time investment. The plot follows Emma Woodhouse as she tries to play matchmaker for her friends, but she continually fails each time. The feminist undertones and Emma’s fiery character drew me in, and the constantly changing plot held my attention. This is an easy choice for any Austen lovers.

#5- The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

This is a perfect selection for your feminist friend. Through her poetry, Lovelace fights against gender roles and elevates the idea of girl power. Although poetry has never really been to my liking, the brevity of the poems combined with the sheer emotion of the words kept me hooked. If you want to add a book of poems to your collection, this is a really great choice.

#4- Atonement by Ian McEwan

Though the first 100 pages were painfully slow, the plot picks up shortly after and never slows down. Atonement is a novel that truly explores perspective, showing how an individual’s twisted perspective on a situation can be absolutely detrimental to others. A gripping plot combined with high emotions marries together to create the beautiful work that is Atonement

#3- Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

I would have never picked up this fictional piece of black literature if it had not been on my AP Literature summer reading list. The plotline follows Janie Crawford as she learns to understand what true love really is, going through several husbands along the way. The constant twists and turns of this novel kept my attention, and the journey of Janie’s self-discovery is so inspiring.

#2- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It is probably abundantly clear that I am a Jane Austen lover. Pride and Prejudice was the first novel of hers that I ever read, and it will likely be a favorite of mine for life. I connected on a deep level with the independent nature of main character Elizabeth Bennet, and I watched in awe as she fell in love with the man that she least expected. This is a classic that everyone should read. The movie is pretty good too, but read the book first.

#1- Educated by Tara Westover

This is yet another novel that I was required to read for school, and I dreaded it due to the fact that it was nonfiction. I quickly learned that my prejudice against nonfiction was absolutely ridiculous, as I gripped onto every single word of Educated. This memoir follows Tara Westover as she pulls herself away from her family’s ignorant mindset by pursuing a college degree. This was not easy, though, as she never attended any sort of school. I was inspired by the sheer willpower that it took for her to catch up with the rest of her peers, eventually going on to study at Harvard. I devoured the entirety of this 352 page novel in a matter of two days, as I could not bring myself to put it down.

Bring some joy into someone’s life this season by gifting them with a book that will keep them occupied during these trying times. Reading is a great quarantine activity, so now is the perfect time to check out the novels listed above. These books can likely be found at any chain bookstore, but you can try your luck at The Bookshelf in downtown Wadsworth as well. Merry Christmas, and happy reading!

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