The biting wind, the raining sleet, and the puddles of ice are all great reasons to stay inside where it’s warm and cozy. Spending a quiet evening alone with a book might be just what you need. Now is your chance to catch up on all the reading you meant to do last year. It’s also a great time to get started on all the amazing must-reads of 2017.
Here is a list of 10 great books to keep you busy this winter, and before you know it spring will be here.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Although this book was originally published in 2007 in Korean, the English version, translated by Deborah Smith, was just published last year. The Vegetarian tells the allegorical story of Yeong-hye, a married woman living in modern day South Korea, from the perspective of those around her. Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian after experiencing an especially violent nightmare, but her decision is not only about giving up meat, it is about the total transformation of a person who decides not to pretend any longer. This book is sensual, violent, shocking, and provocative.
And, if you read it and love it, you’ll be happy to know Kang’s second novel, Human Acts, will be published in English later this month.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
Another anticipated novel for 2017, The Lonely Hearts Hotel follows the lives of two young lovers, Rose and Pierrot, who grow up together between the world wars, dazzling the city and each other with their great talents as a dancer and pianist. Separated as teenagers and thrown into the city’s underworld, both dream of one day reuniting and realizing the extraordinary dreams they imagined together as children.
O’Neill’s last two books were shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, so this will surely be worth the read.
Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Seinfeldia is a comedic behind-the-scenes look at how the iconic, and much beloved, sitcom became a reality. It starts with Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld going out for a late night cup of coffee, and ends with over 40 millions people tuning in to watch Seinfeld every week. The book delves into the impact the show had on New York City itself, and why it was so immensely popular. It also provides fans with answers about where the cast is now.
Armstrong is an entertainment writer and TV historian, so she is able to provide an in-depth take on the show that changed television and continues to be relevant today.
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
One of the most highly anticipated novels of 2017, Son of a Trickster, is scheduled to be released in February. Although this is her first book in over a decade, Robinson won the Writers’ Trust of Canada Engel/Findley Award in November of last year, for the books she has already written, and in expectation for her upcoming novel.
The first book in a trilogy, this is a coming-of-age story about a teenage boy named Jared. The reader soon realized Jared is not your ordinary 16-year-old; there is something more going on. Blending indigenous beliefs and pop culture in a surprising and interesting way, Robinson has created a darkly funny story about talking ravens, murderous otters, dysfunctional families, and characters you won’t soon forget.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Heilig’s debut YA fantasy takes the reader from the past to the present and back again. This is the book to read if you want to sail far away from reality, on a legendary trip through time. Although technically considered a teen novel, this book is for anyone who loves a good adventure.
The book follows 16-year-old Nix who, along with her father, uses old maps to travel freely through time on a pirate ship with one exception: each time and place can only be visited once. Excitement abounds until Nix’s father tries to save her mother and change their own past, putting Nix’s whole existence into danger and threatening her one chance at love and happiness.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures is a true story following the lives of four black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during World War II and the Cold War and helped power some of the most important moments of American space exploration. It’s a story about feminism, discrimination, civil rights, and so much more. This amazing story recounts the careers of these women, their fight against racism and segregation, and the changes they made to their country.
Before you see the movie, pick up a copy of this New York Times bestseller and find out what all the fuss is about.
Little Heaven by Nick Cutter
As the quote on the cover reads, this book is “gripping and terrifying.” If that sounds like you’re kind of book, this should be at the top of your must-read list for 2017.
Taking place in midcentury New Mexico, the story follow three incompatible mercenaries who are hired to complete a mission; rescue a young man after he is taken to a remote settlement called Little Heaven. As they will soon realize, Little Heaven is actually a dark haven of madness, paranoia, and terror, and they will have to fight together if they want to survive.
Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall by Suzette Mayr
Dr. Edith Vane, an English scholar at the fictional University of Inivea, is just trying to sort out her life. Unfortunately, her girlfriend, colleagues, washing machine, and the demonic hares of Crawley Hall just won’t let her succeed. This book is described as “an unholy collision of Stoner, The Haunting of Hill House, Charlie Brown, and Alice in Wonderland,” which is an intriguing combination to say the least. It’s a quirky, emotional satire full of interesting and twists and turns.
This is Mayr’s first novel in six years, and well worth the wait.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Another New York Times bestseller, Homegoing is Gyasi’s powerful debut novel about love, history, race, and family. Effia and Esi, two half-sisters, are born in different villages in 18th century Africa. One sister marries an English colonist and lives a life of comfort, while the other is imprisoned and sent to America as a slave. This story reaches from the tribal wars of Ghana all the way to 20th century Harlem, revealing the amazingly resilient human spirit.
This is a well-researched story about the inevitability of history, the search for identity, the strength of love, and the horrific impact slavery had on so many lives. It is an immense accomplishment for a debut writer.
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Lemire, a Toronto cartoonist, just published a bestselling book with Gord Downie, and has moved on to another cherished Canadian character: the hockey player. Derek Ouellette’s sports career is over and has been replaced with fighting and drinking. In an effort to escape their self-destructive lives, Derek and his long-lost sister, who is running from a dangerous ex-boyfriend, seclude themselves in the woods where they reconnect with the land, their heritage, and each other.
To be released in April, this beautifully illustrated graphic novel will be the last book on your winter reading list.
Also on RNR: