It’s a race against time: Books to help you hit your reading goals

By Riley Dauber
Elm Staff Writer

With the semester coming to a close, it may be best for students to take a step back, rest, and relax. The best way to do so is to curl up with a good book, and thanks to the winter weather, staying inside will not be frowned upon.

Since students may turn to reading to help relax, it is recommended to pick up a light, fun fiction novel. Gripping fiction may be the cure to your end-of-semester stress.

Here are a few book recommendations to read either over the weekend, once finals are over, or during winter break.

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”    by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Written by famed author Taylor Jenkins Reid, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” tells the story of up-and-coming journalist Monique who is asked to interview Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo, known for her figure, acting chops, and slew of husbands — seven to be exact.

The book is split into seven parts based on which husband Evelyn is talking about, but the book is hardly bogged down by the men.

Instead, Evelyn shares stories of her childhood and her hidden relationship with fellow actress, Celia St. James. She discusses her film roles, how she controlled the media, and the relationships that changed her life, for better or worse.

The storytelling is unique, which is expected from Reid. Monique narrates part of the story, but it is mainly told by Evelyn as she jumps from husband to husband.

Newspaper articles are interspersed as well, presenting the novel as if the events of the story are true, and Monique has published the interview as the book.

The storyline is guaranteed to draw readers in for a number of reasons. Whether you are looking for Cuban and LGBTQ+ representation, or are interested in Old Hollywood and the scrutiny and media coverage female celebrities receive, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is a fast-paced, engaging read perfect for relieving stress and helping you escape.

“Such a Fun Age”  by Kiley Reid

For those looking for a thought-provoking but still entertaining novel, “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid is a perfect fit.

The story follows a Black babysitter named Emira who is accused of kidnapping the white child she babysits while visiting a grocery store one night. Following the incident, Alix, the mother of the child, shows her true colors to Emira as their lives intertwine in surprising ways.

Reid’s writing style allows readers to become immersed in the world and its characters.

Backstories are given in intricate detail, and character interactions are sharp and interesting. It is also a commentary on the white savior complex and performative activism. While still entertaining, “Such a Fun Age” offers readers complex and timely ideas that are worthy of discussion.

“Happy & You Know It” by Laura Hankin

The drama between well-to-do mothers is prevalent in “Happy & You Know It.” If you read “Such a Fun Age” and enjoyed it,  it makes sense to read this novel afterwards.

The story follows Claire, a musician who was kicked out of her band once they made it big. She takes a job as a playgroup musician for wealthy mothers and their adorable children. Claire is soon drawn into their glamorous lives, but of course, each mother is hiding something.

All of the characters have interesting backstories and families, which makes them feel all the more real.

Readers are sure to become entranced as Claire learns the group’s secrets and the mothers’ perfect worlds begin to crumble.

“The Bridgerton Books” by Julia Quinn

Many people spent last December bingeing the popular Netflix original, “Bridgerton.” Fortunately for fans of the series, the show is based on an eight-novel series written by Julia Quinn, which delivers on the cozy factor that is critical for a winter read.

The first novel, “The Duke and I,” inspired the first season of the show, but in this case, the screen adaptation is an improvement. The following novels in the series tell the love stories of each of the Bridgerton siblings.

The third novel, “An Offer From a Gentleman,” follows Benedict and his Cinderella-inspired story as he meets Sophie at a masquerade ball.

Their romance is adorable as they meet several years later but do not recognize each other. They fall for each other anyway, but the only problem is that Sophie is a maid and Benedict is of rank.

Because the series consists of eight novels, readers and fans of the Bridgerton series are sure to be entertained and busy during winter break.

“The Royals Next Door” by Karina Halle

If you are dreaming of summertime, “The Royals Next Door” is the perfect read for you.

Second-grade teacher Piper is used to her small community, and her day-to-day routine consists of reading romance novels and taking care of her mother. Everything changes when a royal couple moves in next door, along with their brooding bodyguard Harrison.

Rocky first impressions aside, Piper and Harrison grow closer, but scandal soon plagues their relationship.

The novel is sweet and the perfect treat for romance fans.

It will help distract you from the cold weather outside if you are dreaming of the days when you can read at the pool or beach. Plus, the relationship between Piper and Harrison is adorable as they grow closer and begin opening up.

Make sure to take some time for yourself as the semester comes to a close. Reading is the perfect form of escapism and will help you relax and relieve stress.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr
Featured Photo Caption: Many readers set annual book goals for themselves, creating a nice jog to the finish line or an annual sprint to the end.

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