Bored at Home? Here’s an Insight into My Holiday Reading List

Back in my school days, when I didn’t have concrete plans with friends and distractions like Netflix, Instagram and YouTube weren’t invented yet, sometimes I’d spend my holidays huddled under a blanket reading for hours at an end.

I’d start reading my book in the morning and I’d get so absorbed in the stories of the lives of the characters that I wouldn’t even realize when the morning turned to evening and the evening turned to night. And, as I sat for those countless hours tethered to my book, beyond the golden glow of my bedside lamp – outside – the air cooled, the sunlight dimmed, traffic jams became thicker and my windows became foggier. On colder days, my mom would surprise me with a mug of hot chocolate and a plate of fried potato smilies.

It was cozy, it was bliss.

But now in my adulthood things are very different. For one, time is so limited – it’s not so often that I can sneak in a lazy afternoon dedicated just for reading. For the other, it’s not so often that I can find a book that I can truly disappear into. Because finding a good book is like having the feeling where nothing else matters in the world, nothing except for the story that is etched into every page.

And, just as there’s nothing more comforting than escaping into a parallel world; there’s also nothing as catastrophic as not knowing which book to read when you have such little time to do it. Besides, I really hate it when I have to lose a chunk of my reading time to find the correct book.

In case you’re in a similar predicament (wondering what to read) and given it is Republic Day although coinciding with a Sunday, which is technically a holiday – taking inspiration from the Brain Pickings weekly blog – I’ve drawn up a list of five recommended books from my holiday reading list, that could help you find a similar escape that I so often long for:

    1. My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh

Holiday reading listThis is a story from the pre 9/11 era told from the point of view of an unnamed but very beautiful and very blond narrator. With 2 dead parents behind her, a major in Art History from Columbia, a massive inheritance, a best friend with a brand obsession, a boy friend with a girlfriend and an inefficient therapist – as the story commences we realize she  has just one goal in life: to fall into a chemical induced state of hibernation.

What I liked about this story is that even though her life appears seemingly flawless, albeit the death of her parents – there are still parts of her existence – through her thoughts that inevitably leads us to the answer of the question that no one ever asks: despite everything, why do we feel the way we do?

Here’s an E-Pub link for I pad users.

      1. Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler

Holiday reading listSplit into different seasons, this book follows the story of 22-year-old Tess who comes to New York and gets a job at a high class restaurant as a back-waitress. Told from her perspective – as she navigates her way through the world of wine and food – which from Danler’s descriptions, you can almost taste – she finds herself getting increasingly drawn to the intriguing but impenetrable inner circle of restaurant’s senior server, Simone and the Kierkegaard loving bartender, Jake.

I read this book in the summer of 2018, during my train ride from Malaga to Barcelona. It gave me the delicious distraction I needed during the journey, and given it is Danler’s first book written over a seven-year period, with inspiration drawn from her own back-waitressing days – it was written in a beautiful narrative. It would be brilliant for a quick reading escape.

Here’s an E-Pub link for I pad users.

        1. The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick

Holiday reading listThe movie was good, but as it always is: the book is way better. You may have seen one perspective of the complexities of the human mind from Ottessa Moshfegh’s book, but this one takes you on a whole new journey.

Once again, told from the perspective of the narrator: Pat Peoples; this story follows his life after being newly released from the Baltimore Psychiatric Hospital, which he was admitted to due to the breakdown of his marriage to Nikki. If you’ve ever loved someone as much as Pat loves Nikki, you’ll realize that the arc of this story is based on the silver linings theory – which Pat views as the end of his ‘apart time’ with his wife. And so, he embarks on a journey of self improvement – devoting every aspect of his being to win her back – only to eventually realize that he never actually will.

More funny than sad, along the way you can’t help but develop this un-mistakable empathy for Pat.

Here’s an E-Pub link for I pad users.

          1. I was Told There’d be cake – Sloane Crosely

Holiday reading listIf you think inspiration can’t be drawn from the mundane, this book will change your mind. From volunteering at the butterfly exhibit in the Natural Histories museum, to making a cookie in the shape of her (former) boss’ face, this book is filled with comedic trials and tribulations of the author’s everyday life.

I wouldn’t put it as book that will stay with you for days after you turn the last page, but it will surely draw you into the chaos and comedy of the author’s life, one personal essay at a time.

Here’s an E-Pub link for I pad users.

            1. Catch and Kill – Ronan Farrow

If you’ve been following the Harvey Weinstein scandal since it first broke out in the New Yorker in 2017, then you’re really going to like this book.

Written in short and easy to understand chapters – Ronan Farrow gives you a complete breakdown of everything he endured – including but not limited to – Israeli Intelligence operatives, a woman named Stella Penn Pechanec with more alias than you have socks, months of being surveilled, a phase of paranoia and a slew of women who’ve not just been violated, but even unabashedly suppressed – that lead him to uncover every little fact and every little detail of his Pulitzer Prize winning piece of journalism.

Here’s an E-Pub link for I pad users.

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