10 Epistolary Books To Add To Your Winter Reading List

10 Epistolary Books To Add To Your Winter Reading List

Because prose is overrated.

With the cold and snow outside driving you indoors, it is finally time to make a dent in that reading list you've been meaning to knock out -- but you just don't have the patience for those long passages of unbroken prose that make every page look exactly like the last. If that doesn't put you to sleep, you have to turn back and reread each paragraph over and over in order to absorb anything!

What you need is a book that can mix things up a little -- a new form, a different method of storytelling. What you need is the epistolary novel! Epistolary novels are books that tell a story through found documents instead of prose -- like diaries, newspaper clippings, emails, or even transcribed audios. This form of narrative is great for genres like mystery, science fiction, and horror, given the strength of the epistolary is to make the story more "tangible" or "real" through these interactive documents.

Here is a list of classic and contemporary epistolary novels that you should include on your winter reading list this year.

"Frankenstein," by Mary Shelley

Out of Shelley's dreams comes the tale of Frankenstein, the scientist that took his work too far. This classic is told in a framing narrative from the letter correspondences between Captain Robert Walton and his sister after stumbling upon Dr. Frankenstein in the frozen wastes of the Arctic.

"Carrie," by Stephen King

King's first and most famous novel, "Carrie," is a terrifying story that will leave you relieved that your high school experience was not nearly so eventful or tragic. Newspaper articles and diary entries are the main form of narration.

"Bridget Jones' Diary," by Helen Fielding

Thirty-something Bridget Jones writes in her diary about the struggles of getting older, attempting to self-improve, and being tragically single. Her true-to-life narration comes in the form of sarcastic rambles and earnest bulleted lists of things she needs to do.

"World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War," by Max Brooks

After the zombie apocalypse, Max Brooks explores the world left behind and records interviews with survivors that tell their story of the spread of the virus that nearly destroyed humanity.

"The Martian," by Andy Weir

An astronaut must survive more than a year on Mars after he is accidentally left on the planet by his team. His struggle for survival is recorded in daily log books and video recordings that he makes to help keep himself sane when he thinks he has been left for dead.

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," by Mark Haddon

Fifteen-year-old Christopher is on a mission to solve the murder of his neighbor's dog. His favorite book character and idol, Sherlock Holmes, is Christopher's inspiration and drive to put this mystery to rest. The novel can partly be considered epistolary given Christopher's personal quirks and speculated Asperger's syndrome, which manifest in ways like chapter labeling in prime numbers.

"The Supernatural Enhancements," by Edgar Cantero

This book is a creepy tale of distant relatives inheriting a haunted house. The opening of the book declares that the book is composed of a collection of documents with footnotes from the author that are otherwise unedited. Also, the first page is missing ...

"Fan Mail," by Ronald Munson

This mystery thriller is told entirely through faxes, emails, memos, and phone messages of a popular TV anchorwoman as she tries to discover the identity of her twisted stalker, The Watcher.

"Dracula," by Bram Stoker

The classic vampire tale that will chill you to the bone -- there are no sparkling vegetarians here. Dracula is the straight-up disgusting undead creature that you should definitely be afraid of. This story is completely epistolary, with each narrating character telling the story in a unique way, from letters and newspaper clips to phonograph recordings.

"Illuminae," by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This sci-fi thriller takes place in the future where planets are owned by mega corporations and a war in space is about to break out. It's truly a feat in creative storytelling, as the entire narrative is presented in found documents, with the extra dimension of redacted vital information. It's a space mystery!

Cover Image Credit: WallpapersCraft.com

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13 Reasons Why Season 2 Of 'Riverdale' Will Never Live Up To The First

Maybe it's just that I had too high of expectations, but season 2A was a disaster.

I still remember finishing the last episode of season one of "Riverdale" and having to take a moment to understand what I had just witnessed. From Fred Andrews being shot to a father killing his own son because of a dark secret, there were so many details that I (and many other "Riverdale" fans) could agree made season one so gripping. So being a huge fan of the show, I was naturally excited to hear that season 2A was coming out sooner than I'd expected. Maybe it was the fact that I had too high of expectations, but season two was a disaster. And although I know most of these will be unpopular opinions, here are 13 reasons why season two will will never reach the level that the first season did.

Warning: there are spoilers ahead!


1. The teenagers are supposed to be sophomores. Sophomores!

The casting itself is not the issue, but the things the Core Four does outside of school are way beyond what sophomores do. First of all, sophomores don't have that much of a love life to be spending all of their time with their significant others. Secondly, the Core Four act like they know everything. Jughead believes he doesn't need anyone to take care of him and lives in a trailer by himself at 16 years old. Betty repeatedly disrespects her mother as if she's the head of the household (which I will get to in a second), and Veronica, though she swears she's trying to be a better person, insults anyone who begs to disagree with her. Again, especially with her parents. Finally, Archie thinks he's old enough to possess a firearm and walk around in the Southside owning the place. I definitely think the writers are forgetting just how immature the crew should really be.

2. The plot steered away from their lives as high school children.

Now, I know that the show is returning back to their high school lives in the second part of season two, but that's still not much of an excuse for the fact that high school was literally thrown out of the season 2A. Wasn't one of the best scenes in season one a dance-off between Veronica and Cheryl in the gym? Didn't Mrs. Grundy's plot line annoy everyone while attracting their attention at the same time? Why didn't their high school lives continue?

3. Veronica and Betty are too disrespectful to their parents. Especially Betty.

Being sophomores, they're all supposed to be around 16 to 17 years old. And they treat their parents like children. On Veronica's side, I have a bit of sympathy because her mother is willing to put her daughter through anything to get what she wants, and her father is notorious for how harsh he is. But with Betty, I expected better. Alice Cooper may be controlling, but she shows how much she loves Betty every time she worries about her safety, especially concerning the Black Hood. She wants her daughter safe, but her daughter doesn't see the pain that she feels.

4. Did they just completely forget Jason existed?

Hello? Jason may have passed away, but has his spirit disappeared from the show? I get that since he's gone, he shouldn't be the number one concern, but what happened to all this season one emphasis on keeping him in mind?

5. What is going on with Jughead? Are they together or not?

Yeah, yeah. I know they officially broke up, but before that? I had to stop at some points and literally ask out loud, "Are they together or not?" Betty wanted to distance herself from Jughead because of the Black Hood, but after that? Were they broken up after she told Archie to tell that to Jughead? Because I can definitely tell that saying "I love you" and constantly hugging don't exactly equate with being broken up.

6. Where's Polly when you need her?

Bye, Polly! Guess once you've left, no one really remembers you exist anymore.
On another note, the fan theories about Polly being the Black Hood are pretty interesting.

7. There are too many characters who are mentioned and never seen.

In simpler terms, we've had to wait too long! Chic Cooper and Jellybean Jones are who I'm talking about here, but Chic is coming to the show soon. All this waiting has really bored me because you hear their names thrown around on the show, and you feel giddy because you think they're going to appear. But they don't, and you can't help but feel disappointed.

8. Cheryl is a complex character who isn't emphasized enough.

I was actually excited to hear more from Cheryl because I'd only realized how biased my opinion against her was after finishing season one. She makes an appearance here and there, but I'd always wanted to know more about her complex relationships with her other family members and the specific backstory for why she was willing to help some of the same people she was constantly rude to.

9. Unpopular Opinion: Veronica doesn't know her place.

I never liked Veronica, but this season strengthened my dislike for her. She vowed to be a better person by coming to Riverdale, but she really isn't. She's still got those qualities of being a bully, like using insults as a defense mechanism and treating even the people close to her like trash. This description of her is biased, though, so it obviously doesn't include the good parts of her personality.

10. The children manipulate their parents too much to be considered family.

This is a little different from before since this is more than just disrespect. Cheryl's relationship with her mother is a prime example of this, but I agree that her mother deserves the hate she gets from both Cheryl and "Riverdale" fans. Cheryl used the money Penelope "earned" to blackmail her into telling Cheryl about the Sugarman, also relating to how Cheryl was helping someone she was also rude to. In Cheryl's case, I completely get how Penelope deserves it. But personally, I don't think Hermione Lodge is as bad as Penelope because she would save her daughter from a fire unlike Penelope would've done. Whenever Veronica threatens or manipulates her mother, I simply can't help but dislike Veronica more and more.

11. Varchie is too much of a physical relationship and almost nothing else.

"Varchie" is the fanbase's name for Veronica and Archie's relationship, and in my opinion, I'm disgusted by their relationship. It's nothing more than the physical aspect, and neither Archie nor Veronica understands the commitment it takes to make a relationship work on the emotional side. Archie is too dumb for it, and Veronica doesn't seem to want more than what they currently have. I'm glad they broke up because c'mon, did we really think they were going to get anywhere? They obviously didn't think so.

12. It's okay to not say "I love you" back.

I don't get how Archie can say "I love you" to Veronica and suddenly not bring himself to even look at her when she doesn't say it back. Is it really that bad that she can't say it? Before anything else, it's not like they were even close to being in love, and on top of that, it's okay to not reciprocate the other person's feelings. It doesn't make Veronica a despicable person and Archie a saint. It mean that they're on different wavelengths and need time apart to understand that they don't need to say those words to make the relationship work.

13. The plot itself just lacks the substance that the first season had with Jason's death.

Jason's death was a mystery that involved everyone in the Core Four, and it also played into their high school lives. Multiple times when I was watching the show, I was too bored to want to finish the episodes because there were too many plots going on simultaneously. The Core Four were too distant from each other, relationship statuses were a mess and there were inconsistencies in character personalities, especially concerning Cheryl. The plot didn't attract my attention. I didn't feel connected to the show, making it extremely difficult to enjoy.


In the end, I don't hate "Riverdale." I'm just really disappointed that I wasn't wowed like the first season had me. But because season 2B is meant to be more centered on their personal lives at school, I'll definitely be watching to see if I was wrong. Maybe season two will blow me away.

Cover Image Credit: Netflix / Riverdale

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The Start of Classes, Told By Clueless

Ugh, as if.

Classes at the University of Miami started today, and everyone seems to be just as disheartened and stressed as me. Here are my feelings on the topic told by my favorite study break movie, "Clueless".

1. 8 AMs

Or 9 AMs, or 10 AMs, or any classes at all.

2. Deciding how far into the semester is the right time to miss class

Maybe give it a week.

3. When you have a pop quiz on the first lecture

Not fair.

4. When you hear the attendance policy


2 missed classes = a lower grade ???

5. Finding a friend in class


College classes need a study buddy.


Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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