Reading books shortens long winters

Photo Illustration by Margaret Tinker

It’s winter, it’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s not the time you want to go outside and be productive. So what can you do instead? Grab a blanket, make some tea and read a great book.

Don’t know what to read? Here are a couple books for just about any person, boy or girl, who loves to sit down and get lost in another world.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins:
From the outside, The Hunger Games might look like another weird, teenage science fiction book but here is when the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” really comes to play. Set in the not-so-distant future in the nation of Panem, which is modern day North America, The Hunger Games follows the journey of 16 year old Katniss Everdeen who, by a twist of fate and the need to save her younger sister, gets chosen to be in the nations annual competition called The Hunger Games. According to our protagonist, Katniss, Panem used to consist of 13 districts, it now consists of 12, and District 13 decided to hold an uprising against the Capitol, the cruel and relentless leaders of the nation. It didn’t end well and the Capitol destroyed District 13. In order to remain in control and prevent another uprising from occurring, the Capitol holds The Hunger Games every year, a fight to the death competition that is broadcasted on national television. Everyone in each district from the ages of 12-18 must enter in the drawing for the games and a boy and girl from each district is ultimately chosen to go to the Capitol and compete in the games. Whichever kid is the last one standing wins riches for his or her district for the whole year. The first book, The Hunger Games, follows Katniss through her journey in the games, along with a bit of a love story, while the second, Catching Fire, tells what happens in the harsh aftermath of her decisions. Finally, the third, Mockingjay, continues perfectly from Catching Fire and then wraps everything up to the point where you know where the characters are but still leaves a few questions unanswered. While the series may seem a little twisted and dark, it’s a great read for just about anyone. It really makes you think about how much control a few people can really have.

Number of pages:
The Hunger Games: 374
Catching Fire: 391
Mockingjay: 390

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky:
If you are a fan of Catcher and the Rye, or maybe even if you’re not, and want to see a modern twist to it, you will love The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Told entirely in a series of letters addressed “Dear Friend”, Perks tells the story of a boy named Charlie who is just entering his freshman year of high school. Charlie is sort of the black sheep of his family, his brother has a football scholarship to college and his sister gets amazing grades. He also doesn’t have many friends, his closest friend committed suicide in eighth grade, and he enters high school pretty much alone. One night when he goes to a football game he decides to go and talk to a boy that he recognized from his shop class. The boy, Patrick, who is there with his step-sister, Sam, is incredibly nice to him and they all instantly become friends even though they are seniors and he’s much younger. They bring Charlie into their world and he finally starts to feel like he belongs somewhere. The story continues on through his whole freshman year and all of Charlie’s experiences are told through his point of view in his letters. It goes through him getting his first girlfriend, taking up smoking, bad experiences with drugs, and his friendships with Patrick and Sam. Throughout the story you start to realize something is seriously wrong with Charlie and the end definitely throws you for a loop. Though it’s told from a boy’s point of view, The Perks of Being A Wallflower is incredibly versatile and is an incredible coming of age story for just about anybody to read.

Number of pages: 224

By MARGARET TINKER