This holiday season, with all that time on your hands (and all that family to avoid), here are a few books, broken down by category, that should definitley make it on to your December reading list.
To Have a Holiday Laugh
1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns); by Mindy Kaling
If the holidays stress you out (as they do me,) you’ll do well to dive into a humorous book this winter. Mindy Kaling, who started out as a comedy writer of The Office fame, is surprisingly funny and a relatable writer.
2. The Year of Living Biblically; by A.J. Jacobs
Most holidays around this time of year are steeped in religion of one sort or another. This book takes it to the extreme, exploring a lifestyle of literal biblical interpretation and how modernity gets in the way.
To Contemplate the Future ... or Lack Thereof
3. 12.21; by Dustin Thomason
There are countless books and websites on the topic but this apocalyptic adventure is the one on my book list this holiday season. Just remember to finish it before December 21.
4. Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100; by Michio Kaku
Just in case the world doesn’t end next month, take the holiday reading season to flex your brain muscles by with theoretical physicist Michio Kaku as he explores the science-fiction sounding future of the next century.
To Keep Up with Your Favorite Authors
5. The Casual Vacancy; by J.K. Rowling
Following a series that birthed a generation of aspiring wizards, I think we are all a bit curious if J.K. was able to do it again. In her first novel geared toward adults, Rowling spins a tale of dark comedy and hidden intent when a perfect English town is seized with conflict and greed.
6. Telegraph Avenue; by Michael Chabon
Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon released a much-anticipated seventh novel this fall. Set in our reality, yet seen distinctly through Cabon’s unique eyes, Telegraph Avenue follows the story of two friends running a used vinyl store and in the face of adversity, child rearing and with some prescient politics thrown in for good measure.
To Take on an Intellectual Challenge
7. Infinite Jest; by David Foster Wallace
The best part about assembling a holiday reading list is that time is on your side. Maybe you won’t completely devour this 1,000+ page book but you can get a head start at the very least. An added bonus if you’re not one for family bonding: say this book is for class and effectively ignore your family for the holiday.
8. Foam of the Daze; by Boris Vian
If you’re done with the formulaic, predictable love story then this is the novel for you. Boris Vian’s seminal work is a surrealist take on the beauty of life and love. Don’t let the jarring disjoint from reality deter you, this novel is heartwarming and packed with meaningful layers.
Some Movie Rre-Reads
9. Cloud Atlas; by David Mitchell
This book is quite an endeavor and a worthwhile one at that. Not only do you get six stories for the price of one, the structure and writing in this novel is groundbreaking and enthralling. Moreover, if you plan to see the movie, you will be lost without having read the book.
10. Assassination Vacation; by Sarah Vowell
Instead of reading a biographic tome, get into the Lincoln spirit by diving into this hilarious quest for the most outlandish memorabilia and untold stories of the four presidential assassinations. At the very least you will never forget the unlucky four: Lincoln, McKinley, Garfield, and JFK.
The Perks of being a Wallflower; by Stephen Chbosky
One of my favorite books in high school, the author not only wrote the screenplay but directed the film as well. You don’t get any more authentic than that. The main character is one of the most endearing fictional heroes I have encountered.