I enjoyed seeing the winter break reading recommendations that some of my peers in the library science program made last December. It inspired me to do an iteration with members of my cohort this year.
Many people associate librarianship directly with books and reading. While there is a lot more to the profession, reader’s advisory remains an important skill for a lot of librarians. I thought it would be fun to test out my skills in recommending a title, and to hear what my classmates wanted to recommend. I hope this helps you find some new titles for your to-be-read list.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Recommended by Hannah Ermi
After recently learning that Greta Gerwig will be remaking Little Women (and that Emma Watson and Meryl Streep will also be there), I decided that a holiday reread of the original book was necessary. I love the book and it is one the first books that I remember really enjoying as both a kid and an adult. It centers around a family of four girls during important parts of their adolescence and adulthood in America during the Civil War. It features strong female characters, period-specific drama, and timeless relationships and stories that I love returning to. I’m hoping Greta Gerwig can really bring the story to life in a new way next December.
Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
Recommended by Isabel McCullough
I’ve read several of Joan Bauer’s novels and loved them, particularly Hope Was Here and Peeled. Her stories have a wonderful sense of sincerity and candor that I find heartwarming. Not wanting to rush a good thing, I’ve been slowly working my way through her published works. I think the holiday break is a perfect time to read the next one on my list. Close to Famous is about a baker who dreams of starring in her own cooking show. What story could be better to curl up with, hot chocolate and baked goods in hand?
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Recommended by Ruby Williamson
I am very excited to read Of Fire and Stars — I picked it up a few years ago on a friend’s recommendation and never got around to reading it. Now that I’ll have some downtime while traveling, I will finally have a chance to get some reading done! It’s a young adult fantasy novel about a princess who has been promised to a prince since birth; however, upon reaching the prince’s kingdom, she finds herself forming a romantic connection with the prince’s sister instead.
Of course, magic powers and malevolent plots are involved, because it wouldn’t be a young adult story if the stakes weren’t impossibly high. I’m just super stoked to see two kick-ass girls fall in love and save the day! Plus, there is a sequel (Of Ice and Shadows) coming out next year, which I am equally excited to read.
How Long ‘til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin
Recommended by Sabrina Unrein
I am a huge fan of N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth novels, which each won the Hugo award for best novel in their years of publication. That series of consecutive wins was historic in the world of science fiction and fantasy. The Broken Earth series is a genre-bending, female-driven story. It is also a biting social commentary that confronts some of the systemically oppressive institutions on which our society was built. I expect this collection of short stories does the same. It just came out at the end of November, and I purchased it immediately. I cannot wait to see what she can do with short stories, which promise to fuse “magic into the mundane.”
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Recommended by Georgia Westbrook
I’ll be reading If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin this winter. Yes, the movie version is coming out shortly, but the story itself is a timely one, both because of the challenges the characters face and because of the love story that anchors the struggle against those obstacles.
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
Recommended by Alicia Leathers
Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors, and his new book “Killing Commendatore” just came out in October. His fiction is generally described as “dreamlike” or escapist, with many sci-fi, fantasy, and surrealist elements. Murakami’s books are fun to read, but they always make me think. I almost always find some interesting reference to history or pop culture to look up later, like the Japanese colony of Manchukuo after reading “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.”
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Recommended by Heather Elia
Over break I plan to read Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi for a number of reasons:
- After some very difficult and dense reading for my fall courses, I’m in the mood for something short and easy.
- I’m interested in Youth Services and am a huge fan of children’s literature. This middle-grade novel based on Hindu mythology sounds both informative, exciting, and a good way to recommend diverse books to the young people I know.
- It has received Starred Reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus and promises humor, action, and girl power.
- How can I resist a story where the heroine lights a forbidden cursed lamp and unleashes a demon whose mission is to awaken the God of Destruction? It begs to be read as soon as possible.