Five books to read during this stormy season

Steven Watts, Features Editor

Image from Canva

With snow storms passing through Bloomington-Normal more and more frequently over the past few weeks, a lot of us have had to spend a lot of time inside. Here are five great books that you won’t be able to put down the next time you’re stuck in your dorm during a storm.

 

  1. Normal People – Sally Rooney 

Sally Rooney is a master at writing well-developed characters, and that’s the strength of Normal People. Normal People is a book where nothing and somehow, at the same time, everything happens. Its slow pace is what makes it so easy to get sucked into the characters’ lives as the novel follows the story of two students, Connell and Marianne.  While they try to navigate their feelings in a complex relationship that lasts for years, Connell and Marianne are met with the struggle of figuring out who they are. The story begins with Connell and Marianne in high school and follows them through their experience in college.

  1. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino

This recommendation is a little bit more out there. The experimental novel follows The Reader as they attempt to read the book If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. The Reader begins to read the novel, and finds a print error at the end of the first chapter. After returning to the bookstore to try and find the rest of the book, they  buy another novel but still cannot read past the first chapter. The cycle continues in a profound meditation on why we choose to engage with the content that we do. The books absurd premise and constantly switching points of view makes for a reading experience that you may have to 

  1. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James 

If you don’t really like reading, this book has been adapted into 12 different movies and TV shows. Many may know the book after it was adapted into both The Turning, one of the worst book to film adaptations I’ve ever seen, and the surprisingly poignant The Haunting of Bly Manor in 2020. The Turn of the Screw follows a young woman who is hired as a caretaker and private tutor for two children at a large estate. The governess quickly learns that the grounds are haunted by many ghosts who seem to be after the children. If you enjoyed the popular Netflix adaptation, I highly recommend its source material. 

  1. Antkind – Charlie Kaufman

Antkind is another relatively abstract piece of fiction. The debut novel from Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Antkind follows an unappreciated filmmaker after he discovers a three-month-long movie that he is convinced will change the world of film forever. Unfortunately, the movie was destroyed, and now he must try his best to remember what he saw and recreate the piece of art based on one remaining frame of the film. Antkind offers an interesting view into the nightmarish mind of a tortured artist that’s impossible to put down.

  1. Orlando – Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite modernist writers and the social commentary she provides in Orlando on the role of identity in society is incredibly relevant and thought-provoking to this day. Woolf asks us to consider The novel follows the life of a poet through their long life of three centuries. Woolf is said to have based the poet on her friend and partner Vita Sackville-West. The poet meets numerous influential English figures, changes from man to woman and witnesses the world slowly changing over the course of their life.

Even though reading requires a little more effort than quickly opening up a streaming service and watching their adaptations, there are so many timeless stories that you can engage with even more through reading. There are relatable tales of love and loss, new perspectives to be seen and mysteries to be solved. Next time a storm keeps you inside, find a book to fall in love with.