The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Estelle Hartz
Estelle Hartz
Assistant A&E Editor

What to Read Over Break: Winter Break Book Recommendations

As Winter Break draws near, here are some book recommendations for this cozy time
What+to+Read+Over+Break%3A+Winter+Break+Book+Recommendations
Grace Kirschling

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers is one of my favorite books. Seeing that there was a gap in media about the AIDS epidemic in Chicago, Makkai set out on years of research and interviews to write The Great Believers. The novel follows two storylines: one set amidst the AIDS crisis in Chicago and the other in the present day. Makkai’s storytelling is masterful and her characters are believable and real. Their emotions and the conflicts in their lives feel authentic and this gives the characters the special capacity to really touch readers. 

Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso

This is a very digestible read, not in terms of content, but in terms of style. It is told in very short vignette-like paragraphs which allow there to be plenty of points where the reader can pause and come back to the story. Manguso’s debut novel tells the story of a woman named Ruthie as she recounts her troubled childhood. As Ruthie grows up, information about her family, friends, and community comes to light and the reader is never quite sure what will happen next in this very sad story. 

The Stranger by Albert Camus

This is a shorter classic, but despite its length, it certainly packs a punch. The Stranger packages some Camus’ existentialist beliefs into just over 100 pages, and it calls into question society’s ideas of justice, religion, and morality, among other things. This is an excellent starting point if you’re looking to get into French existentialist literature.

The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón

I love Ada Limón’s poetry. Plain and simple. She is one of my all-time favorite poets, and her writing will always strike a chord with me. The Carrying is a collection with many of my favorite poems of hers. The topics she writes about range from politics to grief to love, and the way she is able to put words together will never not astonish me. 

Just Kids by Patti Smith

I also love Patti Smith. Her essay/short story/vignette Devotion is one of my all-time favorite books, and Just Kids is a great jumping off point for Smith’s writing. Just Kids follows Smith’s relationship with a fellow artist Robert Mapplethorpe, and by the time I finished this book I was in tears. Smith’s writing speaks to the human condition in the purest sense and I look forward to reading more of her writing in the future.

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About the Contributors
Esther Puderbaugh, Website Executive, A&E Editor, and Social Media Co-Editor
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Grace Kirschling, Broadcast Editor and Social Media Co-Editor
GK on the big screen, that is the dream!
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