hello, my loves! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe!
I recently watched Jess from sunbeamsjess’ Wintry Book Recommendations, and it inspired me to create my own wintry TBR. I don’t typically choose my reading lists based on the seasons, but what the hell! It’s never too late to try something new.
I realize it’s not winter for everyone, but I hope you all can still find some decent recommendations.
Without further adieu, onto the books!
Since I’m not a seasonal reader, I’m not exactly sure what makes a “winter read,” so I’m kind of winging it. Personally, I’m in the mood to read longer books, quite a few classics, and books set during the winter time, of course, so that’s exactly what this TBR contains.
A Tale of Two Cities & Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Much like Jess said, it wouldn’t be a true winter reading list without some Dickens, so I decided to include two!
I’m not going to lie, I’ve never read a Dickens novel — I tried starting A Tale of Two Cities a few months ago, but I ended up putting it down (mood reading, amirite?). Of course, I know the plot of A Christmas Carol thanks to the movie adaptations, but I’m ashamed I’ve never read a Dickens book.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to finally put one of these beauties on my Goodreads “read” shelf!
Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh
To be fair, I technically have already started reading Eileen — well, a page or two.
I have no idea what this book is about, but I’ve heard wonderful things about Ottessa Moshfegh’s other book, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Funny enough, I didn’t even realize Eileen was one of her books until I took a double take at the cover — not much gets by me, obviously.
Even though I’m unfamiliar with the plot, I decided to incorporate it into my wintry reads solely based off the cover: the isolated car, the snowflakes falling, the red and black contrast. I love it all!
I’m also super stoked to pick this up simply because it gives off character analysis vibes, which we all know I LOVE. I mean, it’s called Eileen, so what’s this woman all about?
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
If you’ve been following me since the beginning of my blog, you’re probably tired of seeing Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina plastered on a ton of my TBRs. Hopefully, this will be the last!
Around the winter time, I always have the urge to read hefty, chunky books or a small series, so what better time to pick up Anna Karenina? Plus, the snowy buildings on the cover, as well as the outfit, screams winter season!
Anyone up for a buddy read to keep me motivated? Or maybe I can host one on my Instagram? Let me know if you’d like to see that!
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (Reread)
Before I get called out and dragged in the comments, no this is not a very “wintry” read, but hear me out.
I read this last year for my dystopian British novel course, and I completely fell in love with Burgess’ violent British society, as well as our “humble narrator,” little Alex.
I decided to include A Clockwork Orange into my wintry reads because it deals with a lot of reflection, which I seem to do a lot of when daylight savings hits and the days get shorter and shorter. With discussions of free will, violence, and a deep-dive into Alex’s complex character, A Clockwork Orange is a perfect read for my winter season. Plus, it’s a pretty short read.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
Forgive me for my horrid copy of Wuthering Heights — I really need be on the lookout for a single copy soon.
Much like Dickens, I’ve never read Wuthering Heights — cue the “boo’s.” It’s yet another one of those novels that I’ve been meaning to get to, but never got around to it. I always see this book recommended for the fall season, so I’m going to see if that also rolls over into winter (fingers crossed!).
I’m feeling very hopeful about my reading endeavors for the next few months!
I’ve had a lot more time and motivation to read lately — I can only thank the cold weather. Do you all feel more productive during the winter, or is it just me? I’ve been feeling a lot more creative, and I have so many ideas to do so many things. Tis the season of reflection!
Let me know what you all are excited to read in the next few months! Stay safe!
I’m back yet again after a long break — I promise I can explain. Life has been stressful and busy, and my mental health hasn’t been the best. I wasn’t reading anything, and what I did read was never consistent (as you’ll see in a moment). I felt like I had nothing to write about!, and I ended up falling into a self-deprecating abyss. I decided it was time for a little break for rejuvenation purposes, and I think it helped quite a bit, even though I am a bit nervous to be writing again, tbh.
But enough about my inconsistent and hectic life; we both know you’re here for the book content!
A Change in Reading Pace
I’ve always been a read-one-book-at-a-time gal (except while in college, of course), but I’ve now found myself with quite a hefty stack of half-read books. I’m not sure if it’s my habit of reading at least 4 books all at once in college for classes, my poor attention span, or if I’m simply developing into a mood reader.
There’s so many books that I want to catch up on reading, and my reading seems to show that. Why read one at a time when you can read all of them at the same time? At least that’s what my brain has been asking me.
Plus, I’ve been picking up books when I’m in the mood to read them rather than planning to finish a single book before moving on to the next. In all honesty, I’m just experimenting with the way I read to see what works best for me. Of course, it’s a little jarring and stressful trying to keep up with each story plot/characters and the anxiety-inducing feeling that comes with hardly ever finishing a book, but it has helped me read a lot more. If I’m not feeling a book, instead of DNFing it and giving up on it completely, I simply put it down for the time being and pick up something I’m actually in the mood for. So far, this change has been a great way to tackle my reading slump because I’m reading what I’m enjoying at the time rather than forcing myself to finish a book I’m really not feeling.
10/10 recommend experimenting with your reading process!
The Reading List
This list mostly consists of classics, along with a short story anthology. As you might notice, a few of these books have been included in past posts, but your girl hasn’t read much in the past few months. Cut me some slack!
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (ReRead)
In times of stress, you tend to stick with the familiar. That’s exactly what made me pick up one of my all-time favorite books, yet again, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
I’m pretty sure Tess was the first classic I ever read — thank you, E. L. James, for the introduction — and I’ve held it close to my heart ever since. With the anxieties revolving around the election (thank god we’re finally done with dumby Donnie) and the stresses that naturally come along with being a part of society, I desperately needed a comfort read to distract me, and Hardy has provided yet again! Since I already know and love the story, it’s effortless to kickback and enjoy.
I have a good feeling I’m going to be finishing Hardy’s novel very very soon!
The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this book; because of that, I haven’t picked it up in about 2 months. However, I refuse to DNF it! Even if it sits on my shelf for months, or even years, to come, I have a strong intuition that I’m going to finish The Catcher in the Rye one day.
Honestly, I have no idea why I feel the need to complete this book, but I’m sticking with my gut feeling. Talking about it now makes me want to jump back in and contemplate whether or not Salinger had a bet with his friends to see who could use “goddam” the most in one novel. I quickly understood why this was once banned.
Candide – Voltaire
As a lover of French culture and satirical heroic quest stories, I had to start Voltaire’s Candide, and I’m loving it so far. Since it’s a short book, I thought I would be able to finish it in one sitting, but my slow reading brain said otherwise. I only have about 50 pages left, so I’m hoping to finish it pretty quickly.
The dark humor and Candide, the main character, reminds me a lot of Apuleius’ The Golden Ass (read my review of it). It has the same over-the-top, absurd plot points with an unlucky character as the start, but The Golden Ass made me laugh more than Candide so far. I can’t wait to do a full review of this one soon!
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
You guys, you don’t understand how happy I am to finally start understanding the memes and jokes surrounding Dorian Gray. They’re spot on, honestly.
With the extensive philosophical ideas and conversations embedded in this story, I’m definitely taking my time reading it so my brain can fully digest it. I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I finish Dorian Gray, but I’m super excited to discuss it with you all when I’m done!
His Hideous Heart – Edited by Dahlia Adler
Edgar. Allan. Poe.
That’s all you really have to include in a book description and I will eat it up.
His Hideous Heart is an anthology composed of short stories inspired by Poe’s writings, as well as the Poe’s original works. I started it in October hoping that I would finish it in time for a Halloween-y post, but I had less time to read than I thought and ended up only getting through about half of it.
Even though I thought it’d be a faster read, I’m still enjoying the stories a lot! I love seeing Poe’s classic tales revamped and modernized by talented, popular writers. The fact that you also get all of the corresponding Poe stories in the same book is pretty awesome, too.
Honestly, I have no idea whether to finish this and put a review out immediately after or wait until next October to post my thoughts. Which would you all prefer?
As you guys might be able to tell, I have quite a bit of reading to catch up on. I’m in the process of adjusting my schedule to make more time for reading and writing, and I just wanted to thank you all for being patient with me! This year has been a whirlwind of a time, and my life feels scattered all over the place in return.
I’ve been feeling super inspired to write more posts lately, so I hope to have more fun content out soon for you all! ❤
Of course, I’ll be posting my thoughts about all of these books whenever I get around to finishing them. Stay tuned 🙂
“Zoe, it’s the end of February. It’s a little late for this, don’t you think?”
To answer: Yes, I know we’re already two months into 2020, but my seasonal depression is just now starting to wear off. So, as they say, there’s no better time like the present!
Ever since graduating in December, I haven’t really read much of anything. After spending almost two years consecutively binge-reading books assigned by my professors, I decided I deserved a well-deserved break from reading.
However, that break has lasted two months, and I’m ready to start finally reading some books again!
So, without further ado, I present a list of 20 reads and re-reads that I want to get to in the 2020 year.
To begin, I thought I’d share which books I want to re-read. These re-reads mainly consist of classic literature that were previously assigned for my classes, as well as some old favorites.
1. The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
Even though The Divine Comedy technically consists of 3 epic poems (Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso), but when combined, they truly stand as one cohesive narrative and story. Plus, since they’re poems, they’re pretty quick reads.
After taking the best Dante course in college (shoutout to Dr. Reid), I completely fell in love with Dante and his incredible story of literally dragging himself out of his own hell and finding acceptance and love within himself.
Since our class was assigned to read The Divine Comedy twice, this will be my 3rd re-read of this epic poem. Every time I read it, I feel like I’m taking a new journey and still finding things buried within Dante’s masterpiece, and I’m really excited to see what I discover this next time around!
2. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles was the first Victorian classic, and perhaps the first classic ever, that I read. This novel really paved the way for my love of Victorian literature, such as the Brontë’s and the infamous Jane Austen, as well as my entire literature endeavors.
Of course, I’ve always loved reading ever since I first learned how to read, but as my life started getting busier with cheerleading practices and jobs in high school, I didn’t have as much time to read. I first went to college thinking I was going to be a veterianarian, but complicated chemistry classes and THIS BOOK helped me decide to change my entire future.
Because Hardy’s book holds a sentimental value close to my heart, I’m really excited to pick it up again and see if it still holds up!
3. Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L. James
I’m sure everyone will judge me for this re-read, but hear me out.
There’s obviously a lot of controversy surrounding this series, but I completely fell in love with it when I first read it. I’m still a pretty big Fifty Shades stan (I’ve watched all of the movies too many times to count), but I’ve only read the books once. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED these books, but I am interested to see if I’ll still be rave about them the way that I do.
James’ book is sentimental to me much like the way Twilight is. A guilty pleasure, if you will. It is also how I found out about Tess of the D’Urbervilles in the first place, as well as the publishing world. So, even if I don’t end up liking it, I can still thank the Fifty Shades series for helping me find my love of literature.
4. Paradise Lost – John Milton
Honestly, I’m only putting this on here to try and hold myself accountable for re-reading this soon.
I was lucky enough to have an amazing professor that assigned and taught our class Milton’s entire epic poem recalling The Fall of Satan, as well as Adam and Eve.
However, with 18 credit hours and tasked to help organize and campaign for the 2018 Milton Marathon, I didn’t exactly have the time to “fully grasp” (aka not finish) the entirety of this poem.
Basically, I want to re-read it just so I can say that I read it all.
Now here’s a list of books I’ve been dying to get to, but keep pushing them to the side.
5. Various Plays – William Shakespeare
I’m a hoe for Shakespeare. Let’s just get that out now.
My first college English course was Shakespeare, and I was literally obsessed with anything Shakespeare for months (especially Richard III). To be honest, I miss that feeling.
In all honesty, I would love to finish all of his plays by the end of the year, but let’s just say “various” in case that doesn’t happen so I can feel better about myself.
6. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
I actually start this novel a few weeks ago and just never picked it back up.
Even though this is one of the most famous Victorian classics, I have no idea what it is about, and I’d like to keep it that way.
I have a feeling this one will be another favorite!
7. 11/22/63 – Stephen King
Yet another book I started a few weeks ago and sadly put down (are you seeing the pattern yet?).
I have yet to read a Stephen King book, and I refuse to stay that way this year. I’ve definitely spoiled myself by already finishing the Hulu series adaptation of this novel, but I couldn’t stop myself from watching it. James Franco in the 1960’s? Yes, please.
I’ve only finished one chapter of this so far, and I’m already enjoying it so much. I know when I pick it up again, I’m not going to be able to put it down. But who ever complained about that?
8. Astrophil and Stella – Sir Philip Sidney
Another classic set of poems that I have yet to dive into. As a lover of complex and difficult romantic relationships, I’m really excited to get into this juicy love affair.
Other than the love affair, I’m not very familiar with what Astrophil and Stella is about, but it’s just one of those classics that you know is incredible.
9. Doctor Faustus – Christopher Marlow
Fun Fact: I thoroughly enjoy exploring adaptations of Satan. No, I’m not satanic.
But I do love when writers create “Satan” figures that are deep, complex, and resonate a lot with what it means to be human, evil, etc.
I could go on forever about my research on Satan as a fictional character, but we’ll save that for another time.
10. Various Poems and Prose – John Milton
Somehow, I took a 3 month course all about John Milton and his works, yet I feel like I’ve only begun to crack open the interesting character that is Mr. Milton.
As I stated earlier, I would like to try to get a re-read in of Milton’s Paradise Lost, but I’d also like to explore his work even more. This man took 6 years off to “study” (basically reading a lot), so he must have quite a lot of influences.
Milton always stated he was destined for greatness, so let’s see what his other works are all about.
11. City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
Again, ANOTHER book I put down and never picked up. Why do I do this to myself?
My friend Matthew swears by The Mortal Instruments series, and, apparently, so does the majority of the BookTube community.
I know a lot people read these growing up, much like Harry Potter, but I guess I was too infatuated with Edward Cullen at that time to really broaden my horizons.
I flew through City of Bones, so I’m sure I’ll finish City of Ashes super quick once I finally pick it back up again.
12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
Again, I know what you’re thinking.
“Zoe, shouldn’t this be in your re-read section? Everyone has read the Harry Potter series.”
I wasn’t interested in anything Harry Potter until around 2016. Of course, I’ve watched all the movies now, and I’ve even been to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando a couple of times. However, I’ve never read the books.
I do remember “reading” through the first book a few years ago, but I can hardly remember anything about it. So, here’s to a thorough read through.
13. Various Poems – John Donne
I’ve always heard John Donne being compared to Fifty Shades and other erotic ideas, and I’m honestly here for it. Surprisingly enough, I’ve never read any of his poems, even though I love Fifty Shades.
I have no idea what to expect, but I’m ready for the raunch.
14. Wilder Girls – Rory Power
I remember when this book came out last year, and everyone created all this hype around it. I always tried to start it, but classes and family kept getting in the way.
Apparently, Wilder Girls has a similar premise to Lord of the Flies, which I still haven’t read, but I believe it has something to do with being stranded/quarantined. I’ve also heard there’s body horror in this book, which really isn’t my thing, but I want to be invested in the hype, if there is any hype to be had.
15. Animal Farm – George Orwell
George Orwell’s 1984 completely changed my life. Naturally, I’m ready to pick up more of his works as fast as I can.
I love how Orwell tackles the issues of social classes and inequality, so I’m super pumped to finally get to another one of his well-known works. From what I’ve heard about Animal Farm, it seems like it might compete with my love for 1984.
And the list goes on
To be quite frank, I originally planned on making this post 20 books instead of 15, but I didn’t realize how little my TBR truly is (at the moment, anyway). However, as we all know, the TBR list is constantly evolving and basically endless. There are always books, both old and new, that are always popping up on my radar.
Will I get to all of these books? Probably not.
Would I like to try to get to all of them? Hell yeah!
Apparently, this year seems to be a catch-up on all of the classics I have yet to read, as well as a few modern books here and there. I hope you found some new books, poems, or plays from this list to add to your own 2020 TBR!