Winter break is finally upon us, which for me, means six weeks of absolutely nothing to do. At a certain point, even reruns of "Friends" get old, which means something is seriously wrong. If you're working, good for you. If you're studying abroad or doing some internship or whatever, that's amazing. However, if you're like me, you're probably looking for something to do over the next few weeks. As an English lit major, I can't say anything makes me feel quite so productive as reading a ton of books, and there's a few I'd recommend to anyone looking for a good read over the break.

1. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

This isn't just one of the best books I've read this year, it's one of the best I've read ever. It chronicles the lives of a Korean family during Japanese imperialism, creating a complex and captivating description of Japanese-Korean culture through the eyes of multiple generations. The book was a National Book Award finalist in 2017 and has received great critical acclaim for it's writing. The most enchanting aspect of Pachinko is just how much it speaks to the immigrant narrative and lines of division between cultures, specifically Korean, Japanese, and American. It's an incredible piece of literature that I know means a great deal to Asian-Americans everywhere.

Buy it here!

2. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Although this book was published in 2001, many have not had the time to become engulfed in Yann Martel's Life of Pi. The main character, Pi Patel, is a young boy growing up in India. He explores his spirituality and ends up believing in three separate dogmas at once: Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. This, of course, is the less famous part of the novel. More well known is the image of Pi on a lifeboat with a bengal tiger, Richard Parker. Life of Pi is eyeopening in its religious undertones, and I'll admit, I do believe that I agree with its introduction. "This book will make you believe in God."

Buy it here!

3. The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. LeGuin

I read this book for an English class, but it's actually pretty awesome. It's not particularly long, and since it was written in 1971, the style is pretty modern. Postmodern, actually. This one is mostly for the science fiction nerds. George Orr (play on Orwell perhaps?) has dreams that create alternate realities, but when he is sent to get medical help, the doctor discovers how to use George's powers for his own ends. In addition to the awesome plot, the book has strong themes of environmentalism and philosophical morality. It's a little trippy, but a great quick read.

Buy it here!

4. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro

This book made me cry. My best friend got it for my birthday, and I swallowed it whole. Metaphorically. Kazuo Ishiguro won a Nobel Prize in Literature for a reason, this book is truly genius. Another science fiction dystopia, Never Let Me Go follows the life of Kathy H. and her friends, Ruth and Tommy, as they attend a mysterious school called Hailsham. Behind the nostalgic, wistful tone, the plot twists into something much more unsettling.

Buy it here!

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larson

If you're into thrillers, this is the book for you. It's dark and exhilarating, starting off with the lesser known character of its two heroes—journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Mikael is employed by industrial tycoon Henrik Vagner to inquire into the disappearance of a relative. The legendary Lisbeth Salander joins him in his detective work, giving the book it's title—The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The book is the first in its series, but definitely worth it, even as a stand alone read.

Buy it here!