What to Read This Winter, Based on How You Want to Feel
From a Silicon Valley memoir to a novel about an influencer-centric future.
Updated Oct 11, 2018 3:49 PM
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After the fanfare of the holiday season ends, winter can admittedly feel a bit bleak. It seems like there’s hardly anything to get excited about, save for eventual spring. But there are a few things you can look forward to now through February—10 things, to be exact. When the weather outside is frightful, we have plenty of books for you to curl up with inside.
Whether you’re craving a thriller set in a dystopian future or you’d rather dive into a thought-provoking novel about class divisions and gender dynamics, these options will captivate you so thoroughly that you’ll hardly even notice the snow starting to stick outside. Find your pick and preorder it now so you have it in hand right when the weather forecast is starting to look especially grim.
If You Want a New Perspective…
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Elevator pitch: A babysitter for a successful woman is falsely accused—on camera—of kidnapping, and the aftermath rocks them both.
Ideal reading scenario: While drinking your first cup of coffee of the day—it will wake you up twice as quickly.
The gist: This exploration of racial tensions and privilege reveals that the best intentions don’t always stem from sheer goodwill.
Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey
Elevator pitch: If you poured over Three Women this summer, here’s another sharp, fictional take on desire.
Ideal reading scenario: Alone at a bar with a good drink in hand.
The gist: Written through conversations between the female characters, this novel digs for truths about feminism, sexuality, pain, motherhood, and more, pushing past stereotypes and expectations.
Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston
Elevator pitch: Tales from the Harlem renaissance by a celebrated writer—including eight that were previously lost in old periodicals and archives.
Ideal reading scenario: On a long, quiet train ride.
The gist: When Hurston lived in New York in 1925, she wrote short stories inspired by the world around her, tackling such topics as racism, sexism, class, and love. Here, for the first time, they’ve been brought together in a seminal collection.
The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams
Elevator pitch: At an all-girls’ school in the 1870s, mass hysteria breaks out among the students.
Ideal reading scenario: A soft sofa in a room full of flickering candles.
The gist: If you enjoyed The Water Cure or Red Clocks, this story about women’s agency and control over their bodies will keep you just as riveted.
If You Want to Reconsider Your Relationship With Your Phone…
Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener
Elevator pitch: A memoir of a woman in her mid-20s navigating the turbulent waters of Silicon Valley.
Ideal reading scenario: In bed, after work, as you take some much-needed me time.
The gist: Wiener navigates her ambition and the desire to find meaning—in an industry where over-the-top demands and personalities create workplaces with sinister underbellies.
Followers by Megan Angelo
Elevator pitch: When influencer culture reaches new extremes, even the government gets involved.
Ideal reading scenario: An Instagram-worthy corner of your living room. Why not lean in?
The gist: Set in two timelines (modern day and 35 years in the future), this humorous dystopian novel examines a Black Mirror kind of reality where people’s lives are sponsored. What happens when they want out?
New Waves by Kevin Nguyen
Elevator pitch: Startup culture, social media, and relationships are complicated in their own regard—and together, things get even foggier.
Ideal reading scenario: Somewhere you can unplug—if even for an afternoon.
The gist: When two coworkers’ heist of their tech company goes wrong, one is left wondering how much he really knew about the other.
If You Want an Escape…
Little Gods by Meng Jin
Elevator pitch: A woman returns to her mother’s former neighborhood in China and grapples with the person she realizes she didn’t fully know.
Ideal reading scenario: Wherever most feels like home.
The gist: Seventeen-year-old Liya grew up in the U.S., but a trip to her ancestral homeland shows how time and space warp and bury memories.
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Elevator pitch: A richly spun Bolivian fantasy that feels current, though it’s set far in the past.
Ideal reading scenario: A blanket fort on a day with less-than-exciting weather.
The gist: A girl with a magical gift attempts to bring power back to its rightful hands—but a masked vigilante complicates things.
Weather by Jenny Offill
Elevator pitch:When a woman takes a job as what’s essentially an advice columnist, she gains a new perspective on her own life.
Ideal reading scenario: A quiet part of the library—after all, the protagonist is a librarian.
The gist: Protagonist Lizzie Benson makes various attempts to keep everyone else’s life afloat, but as the surrounding madness grows, she also needs to figure out how to care for herself.
See more must-reads: I Read 60-Plus Books Every Year—Here’s How I Do It These Are the 13 Books I’m Most Excited to Read in 2019 What to Read This Fall, Depending on How You Want to Feel