Kindle books, iPad or paper: Good books to read during the winter holidays

Whether you’re reading digitally or in print, what are you reading over winter break? (Credit: Mariana Eguaras)

Whether you’re reading digitally or in print, what are you reading over winter break? (Credit: Mariana Eguaras)

Now that finals are done, your time is your own during the winter holidays. Need something to do? How about curling up with a good book? Whether you prefer paper, Kindle books or filling your iPad with books from the iStore, you’ll find good books to read in all formats. If you need ideas for a good read, check out these suggestions. Happy reading!

Good reads recommended by faculty

The folks at George Washington University tapped their president and faculty for a list of good holiday reads. Their results were presented in a December 8, 2013 article by Emily Holland for the GW Hatchet newspaper titled, “Looking for books to read over winter break? President Knapp has some ideas.”

The list includes:

  • “Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us” by Duncan J. Watts
  • “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
  • “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

More faculty recommendations came from the arts staff at the Herald Tribune newspaper. In their December 13, 2013 article, “12th annual New College holiday book guide,” they solicited book reviews from the faculty at New College of Florida. Each recommendation came complete with a description of the book and its place in literature.

According to the arts staff, “For the first time, however, many of our reviewers have turned not only to books that children and young adults will enjoy, but also to books that transcend these categories, that speak to all audiences, young and old, in a compelling way.”

The list of suggested reading includes:

  • “The Way We Live Now” by Anthony Trollope
  • “Back to Blood” by Tom Wolfe
  • “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” by Timothy Egan
  • “Still Alive: A Holocaust Childhood Remembered” by Ruth Kluger

Top reads of 2013

Steve Paul of the Kansas City Star newspaper compiled a reading list in his November 30, 2013 article titled, “100 ways to celebrate the written word.”

Paul’s list includes:

  • “The Maid’s Version,” by Daniel Woodrell
  • “Bobcat and Other Stories,” by Rebecca Lee
  • “Good Kings, Bad Kings,” by Susan Nussbaum
  • “Necessary Errors,” by Caleb Crain
  • “A Delicate Truth,” by John le Carre
  • “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks,” by Amy Stewart

Catch up on the classics

If you’re ever in need of conversation topics you can’t beat talking about books. It helps if the other person has read the same book too. What books have been universally popular among readers? You’ll get a good idea from Katie Lepi’s December 12, 2013 article for Edudemic, “The Most Popular Books Of All Time.”

Lepi’s article includes an infographic illustrating the list of popular reads, which includes:

  • Homer’s “The Odyssey
  • Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”
  • Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”
  • JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”
  • JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”
  • Richard Adams’ “Watership Down”
  • JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter”
  • George Orwell’s “1984”

If you like sci fi

If your taste runs to science fiction then be sure to check out National Public Radio’s (NPR) August 8, 2011 list titled, “Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books.”

The list was compiled from the votes of more than 60,000 participants. In summing up their efforts NPR concluded, “Our panel of experts reviewed hundreds of the most popular nominations and tossed out those that didn’t fit the survey’s criteria (after — we assure you — much passionate, thoughtful, gleefully nerdy discussion). You’ll notice there are no young adult or horror books on this list, but sit tight, dear reader, we’re saving those genres for summers yet to come.”

The NPR top 100 list includes:

  • “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkein
  • “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
  • “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
  • “The Dune Chronicles” by Frank Herbert
  • “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells
  • “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
  • “The Foundation Trilogy” by Isaac Asimov
  • “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut

What’s the best book that you read in 2013? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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