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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Review: Books to get cozy with during the holidays

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As the holidays arrive, Life & Arts Writer Amy Steward provides book suggestions for the winter season. 

 

With the winter holidays around the corner, now’s the time to be on the lookout for books to curl up with by a fire, read on the journey home or peruse while eating pecan pie. Here are five reads spanning multiple genres that are ideal for cuddling up with in the cold weather.
“Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie

Set on a glamorous train running through snowy European countryside, this 1934 mystery is a classic holiday read. Detective Hercule Poirot is returning home to London after solving a case in the Middle East when a man approaches him asking for protection. Disliking and distrusting him, Poirot refuses the job; the man is found murdered soon after. With the train stuck in a snowdrift, Poirot investigates the eccentric passengers — who all have motives and secrets — in a classic whodunit featuring twists up to the very end.

“Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love” by various authors

These thirteen interconnected short stories — each written by a different author but set in the same place — build the adorably cozy world of Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s tough questions are kneaded, rolled and baked. Food, love and a little bit of everyday magic make this a quick and lovely read. And it’ll make you hungry for some homemade cookies and pie.
“Shutter Island” by Dennis Lehane

For those looking for something spookier to curl up with, “Shutter Island” follows US marshal Teddy Daniels in the 1950s as he investigates a patient’s escape from a mental institution on an island. Trapped on the island by a hurricane, Daniels discovers more about the hospital while becoming less connected to his own reality. Despite clever clues and foreshadowing, the ending will still be a shock.

“The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks

This book has been fascinating audiences for nearly 40 years, and although it’s science, it reads just like fiction. Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks describes his weirdest, rarest and most intriguing cases in a surprisingly simple way. This includes the title case and many more, such as the man who believes it’s 1945, the medical student who woke up with a superhuman sense of smell after a night of partying and the man who is convinced his leg belongs to someone else.

“Greenglass House” by Kate Milford
“Greenglass House” is middle-grade fiction, but as someone who didn’t discover it until they were much older I can confirm it’s a perfect quick winter read for all ages. Twelve-year-old Milo lives in his family’s ramshackle inn that rarely gets visitors over Christmas. However, five mysterious strangers all check in on the same night. Before long, Milo goes from having a relaxing holiday break to getting tangled up in lost treasure, spies and ghosts in some classic winter storytelling.

Didn’t see anything that caught your eye? Here’s my list of honorable mentions:

  • “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson – a spooky classic ideal for late-night reading

  • “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr – a well-written novel set during World War II guaranteed to bring smiles and tears

  • “Dreamland Burning” by Jennifer Latham – a historical fiction exploring the Tulsa race riots from present and past perspectives

  • “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier – a thriller set in an isolated English mansion that’s been entertaining audiences for nearly a century

  • “Winterfolk” by Janel Kolby – an unusual point of view where an unhoused teen leaves her clearing in the woods to explore snowy Seattle for the first time

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About the Contributor
Amy Leigh Steward
Amy Leigh Steward, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Leigh Steward is a neuroscience student from Boerne, Texas. She joined the Life & Arts desk as a writer in Fall 2023 and became the assistant Life & Arts editor in January 2024. She now serves as editor-in-chief, beginning in May 2024. Outside of The Battalion, she's involved in MSC Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow, TAMIN Building Researchers and Innovators in Neuroscience and Society, and the Society of Undergraduate Biology Students. After graduation, Amy plans to pursue a master's and PhD in neuroscience and go into research, academia and scientific communication.
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