A winter reading list to get you through the holiday break

Reading Time: 3 minutes

With winter break being only a few weeks away, you might begin to wonder what you’re going to do with all your free time. Sure, you could get started on your readings for next semester like the diligent student you are, or you could read a book that isn’t assigned by your professor. If the latter sounds more appealing, here are a few new releases that you should consider picking up this holiday break.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

In this story, a young woman named Libby receives a letter on her 25th birthday that reveals the identities of her birth parents and also informs her that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned London mansion. She visits the home and discovers that 25 years earlier, three dead bodies were found in the house and that the other people who were living there had gone missing. The only thing is that the house isn’t as abandoned as she thought, and others have been waiting for the day that she returns “home.” The novel uses a past and the present narrative, and is perfect for anyone who is interested in some good old-fashioned gothic suspense.

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place by Janelle Shane

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You explains the intricacies of Artificial Intelligence: how they function, how they learn and perhaps most notably, how they can be misled. This novel is written by research scientist Janelle Shane, and she explains how AIs often have limited comprehension and aren’t any better at making determinations than humans are, which is why we shouldn’t blindly trust them. The book addresses the most important question: how do we know when to trust an AIs “judgement”? If you want to come back after winter break and impress your friends with your newfound AI knowledge, then this book might be worth checking out.

Find Me by Andre Aciman

Find Me is the sequel to Aciman’s first novel, Call Me by Your Name, and is dissected into four “movements”: Tempo, Cadenza, Capriccio, Da Capo, with each chapter narrated by a different character. Instead of revealing the fate of Elio and Oliver’s relationship from the earlier novel, the story begins with the budding romance between Samuel, Elio’s father and Miranda, a girl thirty years his junior. This book is perfect for anyone who has been patiently waiting for the conclusion to Call Me by Your Name, or for anyone looking for a book to warm you up on a cold winter day.

White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue … and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation by Lauren Michele Jackson

In this scholarly critique, Jackson reveals why appropriation of black culture in America is something worth serious attention. This text urges its readers to be thoughtful when consuming materials from other cultures. In everything from music, language, fashion and more, black pioneers of culture are left behind while their aesthetic becomes profitable and popularized in white America. White Negroes plays with similar ideas from Norman Mailer’s 1957 essay “The White Negro” which explores the counter culture of hipsterism. If you want to expand your knowledge without having to turn to your boring readings, then this book is definitely worth the read.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Machado’s book In the Dream House is a memoir of her abusive relationship with another woman while in grad school. The woman in the dream house had become more controlling, violent, and volatile, until the dream house that she resided in became a prison of which she needed to escape. Although this non-fiction story is about Machado’s own experience with abuse it also breaks the ice, so to speak, around the “legitimacy” of abuse in queer relationships: it addresses the narratives, or lack thereof, surrounding queer domestic abuse. This book has been called revolutionary, and is worth checking out if you’re at all keen on getting ahead on soon-to-be classics.

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