As the fall semester wraps up, I am sure that you all have your own countdown until your last day of exams. The holiday season is right around the corner, though the weather may not be a reflection, and we will soon have some extra time to relax and enjoy before the second semester begins in January.

After exams, I can imagine that some of you may not even what to open a book until the New Year. However, I find that reading a good book is the best way to relax after a stressful time, like exam season. Here are some of my favourites to read during the holiday season!

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Written for all ages but often considered a children’s book, it recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. Armed with only a battered carpetbag and a boundless imagination, Anne charms her way into the Cuthberts’ hearts, and into the hearts of readers as well. In the words of Mark Twain,  she is “the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice.” As a kid, I read much of the Anne of Green Gables series multiple times, and I find myself rereading it during the coldest time of the year.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A British classic, A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley. That night, he is then visited by three spirits, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, in hopes that the lessons he learns from his own life will change him for the better. Though many of Scrooge’s characteristics are to the extreme, this book is so beloved because all readers can see themselves in the characters; you will learn not only about Ebenezer’s faults and flaws, but also how you can make small changes in your life in time for the holiday season.

Literary scholars have also had decades worth of debates as to the symbolism in the story; at the time the novella was first published, there was a pivotal change the treatment of the poor. The ability of a self-interested character redeeming himself by transforming into a more sympathetic character is a key theme of the story, and academics often question whether this was a fully secular, or if it is a Christian allegory.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Another oldie-but-a-goodie, Louisa May Alcott illustrates a beautiful story of family triumphs and tribulations set on the backdrop of the New England Civil War. The story follows the March sisters as they navigate through adolescence,  befriending their handsome, young neighbor, and help their mother make ends meet while their father is away at war. This is one of my all-time favourite books to read any time of the year, but especially during the holiday season. The book, however, is a dedication of 400-500 pages (depending on the publication), and so it has been adapted into multiple movies, musicals, and plays. If you want to experience this wonderful story but don’t have the time or patience to read it, I highly recommend you watch the 1994 movie version. The musical score and the cinematography are amazing and almost as good as the real thing!

No matter what your plans are during the winter break, reading a good book beside the fireplace is always a nice way to relax after the hectic nature of exam season.

Happy Holidays, Badgers! Enjoy your winter break, be safe, and see you in 2018!

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