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The Daily Illini

Books for the beach and the couch

Jacqueline Betthauser, Staff writer

Even though I wish that I was going on a relaxing, vacation this winter break, the reality is that I will return home to endure the cold winter. However, despite my lack of vacation, I am excited for the break because I can snuggle up under and blanket and still travel — through reading books.

Books can bring you to a variety of settings from the comfort of your own couch, bed or on-the-go. While it may be hard to find time to read for pleasure during the school year, winter break is a great time to catch up on the books you’ve been waiting to read. Though reading is not everyone’s favorite pastime, I believe that there is at least one book out there that each individual will enjoy immensely.

Title: “The Maze Runner”

Author: James Dashner

Genre: Science Fiction

This novel is about a young man who wakes up in a lift and can’t remember his identity or where he came from. This lift has transported him to the Glade, an unfamiliar location within a complex, menacing maze with no known exit.

The book follows the young man, Thomas, as he struggles with his identity, friendships with the other boys — and girl — in the Glade, and being stuck within the maze. Read this book if you enjoy mystery, suspense, action and drama. This book is interesting as it evolves into a whole series that depicts a dystopian future plagued by a seemingly incurable disease. Furthermore, this novel has been made into a movie, as has the next in the series, so reading this book will also prompt an awesome movie night.

Title: “The Selection”

Author: Kiera Cass

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Calling all “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” fans! If you enjoy these dating shows, then this book is absolutely perfect for you. This novel follows a young woman, America Singer, born into an impoverished dystopian society, as she is selected as one of 35 women to have an opportunity to date and potentially marry the prince of this society, Prince Maxon.

This book is a great choice for  all lovers of romance. “The Selection” has a dreamy prince, a love triangle and a unique dystopian setting. Also, this book is the first in a series of five, so the other novels can extend this romance after you give in to temptation and binge read this novel in one sitting.

Title: “And Then There Were None”

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery Fiction

This is the perfect book for anyone who loves mysteries. The novel starts with eight people receiving invitations to go to Soldier Island for various reasons. Once all of the invited individuals are on the island, they are killed one by one. The identity of the killer is no easy mystery to solve and requires a very attentive reader. Readers that appreciate the dark, creepy and twisted will love this novel.

Title: “Ready Player One”

Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: Science Fiction

This novel is a fantastic way for people who enjoy playing video games to combine this interest with reading. “Ready Player One” takes place in a dystopia that is especially different from others, as a lot of it is contained virtually.

This novel centers on Wade Watts as he attends classes, interacts with others and entertains himself all within a game, the OASIS. The OASIS can be best equated to the virtual reality gaming systems of today, such as the Oculus Rift.

This novel follows Wade’s adventure as he searches for something within the game that could change his whole life outside of the game. I would recommend this novel to people who enjoy gaming, scavenger hunts and even the 1980s as this story contains a nostalgic homage to that time period.

Title: “The Deal”

Author: Elle Kennedy

Genre: Romance, Fiction

“The Deal” is the perfect winter romance as it follows the creation of a relationship by using and even enhancing the classic tutor-turned-love interest story line. The book is written from the perspective of the two main characters: Garrett, whose life is dominated by hockey, and Hannah, who aspires to be a singer. The dual perspective gives a more holistic view of the blossoming relationship.

This book has funny, sexy, romantic and dramatic elements to it, making it very relatable for college students. If you love romance novels, then you will never want to put this one down. Additionally, “The Deal” is the first novel in the “Off-Campus” series in which each book is written from the perspective of another of Garrett’s teammates, providing a variety of characters that different readers can relate to.

Title: “Outliers”

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Genre: Nonfiction

“Outliers” is a novel about success. Gladwell analyzes the factors that make certain people successful, not focusing on traits, but instead on their surroundings and situations. This book gives real examples of what factors — including culture, time period, time of the year born, family, upbringing and more — contribute to making people successful and how such factors impact people in general.

I would truly recommend it to everyone as it is an extremely interesting read. The examples that Gladwell gives are so fascinating that the reader learns so much about the world and the people within.

Title: “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”

Author: Trevor Noah

Genre: Autobiography

You may know Trevor Noah from his role as host of The Daily Show, the position he took over from Jon Stewart in 2015. In “Born a Crime,” Noah writes about his childhood in South Africa under apartheid.

The book is funny, moving and honest, and tackles topics ranging from race relations to his time in high school copying CDs and being a disc jockey.  Since its release in mid-November, the book has received praise from professional reviewers and readers alike and is on the New York Times Bestseller list.This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys learning about history and cultures around the world or those who just want to learn more about Noah as he hits his stride on The Daily Show. When planning for the winter remember your coat, hat, scarf, gloves, boots and a book or two.

Curling up with a good book is the perfect activity for a snowy day — so make sure to stop by your local library or to ask your Secret Santa for some reading material.  I encourage you to give one of these books, or just any book a read over break.

Jacqueline is a freshman in LAS.

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