Top Four Books of the Winter

When I wrote my list of top five books last summer, I got the idea in my head that I was going to do this twice a year. School has me busy, but I get winters and summers off, so during that time I was going to read a lot and then choose the best five books from that particular vacation and run with it. Seems foolproof, no?

Yet here I am, barely getting started, and I have to break tradition. I read plenty of books this winter, but as luck would have it, I just didn’t enjoy very many of them at all. So here we have my top four books of the winter, and you can blame school for that for starting so early. (It’s actually starting at a perfectly reasonable time, but I’m sad break is over, and I personally feel like my school did not put forth its best effort to alter the space-time continuum, or whatever would make this break last longer.)

House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. This was a weird, weird book, but I’m so glad I picked it up. This was a book that really managed to get in my head, which I suppose was its purpose, but it did it so very well. The story was genuinely interesting, and even if on its surface it was simple, it had the benefit of being written (and formatted) in a way that added so much more to it. It felt like there was a lot going on without being overwhelming or confusing. It’s probably not for everyone, but it was an excellent read.

Born With Teeth, by Kate Mulgrew. Here’s one I wanted to read just because I admire the author, and I don’t use that word lightly. It hasn’t just been her roles in various TV shows, though I will say Captain Janeway was an inspiration. Reading this book felt like I was listening to her speak, in the best possible way. The book is more or less a story of her life, but it’s the writing that really makes it come out, all the emotion and passion and excitement of her life. It was uplifting, it was heartbreaking, and written as only Kate Mulgrew could write it.

Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson. This was my first Sanderson book, and it’s easy to say who recommended him: everybody. The world wouldn’t let me sleep until I picked up one of his books. And I’m so very glad I did. This book in particular was a good, quality fantasy, the type of which I’ve been missing. It was a long read, but I was glad of it. It’s been so long since a good fantasy book really sucked me in the way this one did. Nearly everything about it was excellent, and many of the questions I had at the end were answered with: Oh, there’s a sequel. This is a series I will definitely be following up on, and Mistborn in particular is probably one of my new favorite books ever.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. I’m not actually sure why I picked this up. It isn’t a book everyone I know has read, and nothing about it really stood out to me. But I felt like a long adventure, and this was definitely both. I remember, after reading about a dozen chapters, feeling that enough had already happened in this book to fill three separate books, but this one was just getting started. It took a while to get through it, but it was worth every minute of it. There’s something about this book that made me feel as though I were inexorably involved in the characters and their stories, as though I had known them for years before even starting to read. It’s an older book, but definitely a fantastic read.

I wish I had at least one more to post about, but maybe summer will bring me good luck again. In the meantime, it’s back to the grind of school and sneaking in what writing I can during my fleeting instances of free time.

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