Compiled by CSP Staff
The College Success Program staff wish you happy holidays and a rejuvenating end-of-semester break. One of the best ways to rejuvenate is with a good book, or several! During the summer, we gathered a plethora of amazing reading recommendations from CSP Mentors and Learning Ally staff, which you can find here, here, here, and here. Here are a few additional reading thoughts as you search for a good winter break escape. Please note: These books are not necessarily available in Learning Ally's audiobook catalog.
Mary Alexander, National Director, Student Initiatives
"Erin Morgenstern wrote The Night Circus, which I'm rereading now. It's got fantasy, magic and intrigue. Very good read."
Katie Ottaggio, CSP Engagement Operations Manager
"I've been very interested lately in books set in Russia. Here are three I've recently enjoyed."
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris - "If you've read The Tattooist of Auschwitz then you'll recognize this main character, Cilka. Based on a true story, this book follows her journey from Auschwitz to a prison camp in northern Russia and all that she encounters there. It is a shining example of resilience with a little bit of love and is a great read."
The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden - "A book set centuries ago in the wilderness of Russia, this story follows Vasya, who is different than the rest of the people in her village, though no one can really pinpoint why. She has a special relationship with the spirits in the woods and this book details how that conflicts with other religions and those who believe 'they are right'. This is a great book that allows you to get lost in a beautiful fantasy world."
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips - "You guessed it, another book set in Russia. If you're looking for something lighthearted and uplifting, don't read this. This centers around two missing girls from an isolated town in western Russia. Each chapter follows someone different from the area, but they all have some connection to the missing girls. At first, I thought it might be disorienting to read about someone new each chapter, but this is written in a way that has you invested in each character within the first few paragraphs. And the whole time you're wondering, "where are the girls?"
Abigail Shaw, Mentorship Coordinator
"I'm currently reading Mr. Dickens and His Carol. It's historical fiction and an enjoyable holiday read."
Kristen Witucki, Curriculum and Content Editor
"Though I've been incredibly fortunate during this trying time, I've thrown myself into an aversion to reading anything new. The thought of a character dying this year has been difficult. So, I've done A LOT of rereading. One way I've kept up with reading something is connecting with one of my closest friends every week on Facetime, and we've read and discussed a lot of short stories. Our favorite this year is Akiba Sullivan Harper's edited collection, Short Stories by Langston Hughes. Reading about the struggles and triumphs of African Americans and others from the 1930s through the 1960s gives us an eerie feeling of déjà vu: so many of these situations are playing out in slightly different forms even now in the 21st century as our nation confronts the legacies of racism, colonialism, and misogyny during the pandemic. But there are moments of dark humor, gripping suspense and grace in these stories as well.