Well, it’s really happening. Your constant surveillance of the Weather Channel app on your phone, paired with an infrastructure incapable of handling light precipitation, has pleased the weather deities enough that you’ve been granted a snow day. Amazing. Now what? You could spend it like you spent your last snow day, sleeping and eating, occasionally checking to see if that show on Netflix with the laugh track has gotten any better since you first watched it. It hasn’t. But what has gotten better are your chances at having an educational and productive snow day! With some books, duh.
For the soldier in you:
1776 by David McCullough
This book has got everything: war, horses, revolutionary angst, a pre-commodified Alexander Hamilton, etc. Even better, it’s all true! 1776 follows General George Washington as he endeavors to lead a fledgling army to victory against one of the biggest empires of all time. He encounters failure and mishaps along the way, but by keeping his head up, he persevered and led the U.S. to its freedom. Plus, then he told everyone not to make two political parties, AND THEN THAT’S WHAT EVERYONE DID, but it’s fine, it’s fine, I’m not mad about it anymore. Sit back with this American classic and read stories from Valley Forge, a snowed-in place that makes your dorm hit by three inches of snow seem like a Marriott. But like a five-star one.
For the worry wart:
1984 by George Orwell
Ok so honestly if you haven’t read this book before, I’m gonna need you to shut down the browser you’re viewing this on, remove your laptop’s battery, and hide it in a secure place only your emergency contact knows about and don’t get it back until you READ THIS BOOK. It’s a spooky one, but for some odd reason (*cough*), people have a renewed interest in books about authoritarian governments that want to control information and privacy right now! Do you know this book is a bestseller right now?? I feel like whoever is messing with this timeline isn’t even trying to be subtle anymore. Growing existential dread and fear of nuclear fire aside, this book remains a masterpiece. It’s about a dystopian world completely controlled by its government. It makes us question our behavior as a society and individuals. It’s obviously now more important than ever, and it’s sure to add a chill to your already snow-chilled bones.
Is 2+2 = 5? Yes. No. Tremendous.
For the light-hearted who also like books with titles that aren’t just years:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Hey, you. Yeah, you. You ever have that moment in a class where someone asks, “what’s the answer to the universe?” and then someone else says “42” and they all share knowing glances and little inside-joke chortles and you just go home and think about it for the rest of the day, wondering if you’ll ever fit in socially? No? Me neither. Cause I read this book. Honestly, this book is probably still one of the best sci-fi books out there: it blends thought-provoking science mumbo jumbo with great comedy and names that seem like they were just randomly generated by a computer that’s watched every episode of The Twilight Zone. Not sure where I was going with that one but…this book is great! Definitely a good one to have under your cooped-up, snowed-in, now-tighter-because-you-promised-yourself-you-wouldn’t-buy-Ben-and-Jerry’s-ice-cream-for-the-snow-day-but-you-have-no-self-control belt. Phew. And who knows, now that you’ll understand the “42” joke, maybe you’ll fit in with your peers! I don’t know, I’m just a blog post.
For the person who still really enjoys historical YA novels and isn’t ashamed of it:
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Ok, hear me out here. Do you remember the day when you felt like you had to be a bit more mature in your reading tastes, and you put down a Percy Jackson book to pick up a Vonnegut one? I mean, Kurt all day, but why do we do that to ourselves? A book doesn’t have to be written in a Spanish café by a melancholy Hemingway to be a good read – it just has to be entertaining! This book is the first in a series about a girl who becomes a pirate by dressing up as a boy (that trope is canceled in 2018, ok?). Filled with action and adventure and a decent bit of humor, this first book and its sequels are both fun and quick to read. See, you get a better sense of pride and accomplishment by reading a lot of books in one day, so really, books like this one are perfect for snow days. One day I boasted I had read ten books in a day, before finding out that *in fact*, pamphlets do not count as books. Hypocrites. But anyway, this book is an exciting read and deals with a lot of cool historical events from the 19th century. Perfect for a snow day where your only interaction with another human is with a very cold, very tired DP Dough delivery driver.
For the person who wants to expand their world-view:
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
While this book’s subject matter is depressing, it remains one of the most important books published in the last decade. Dissecting the War on Drugs as a tool of institutionalized racism, this book cracks open a problem many Americans never think about: mass incarceration. Coming to terms with what the War on Drugs has meant to specifically African-American communities is difficult but necessary for the country to grow beyond its systemic oppression of minorities, both then and now. Spend your snow day thinking about the world and your place in it, and what you can do to make it a better place. Or don’t. But you know, not everyone can read: you can!
How wonderful is that?
Well, time to kick back with a good book and forget you can’t go anywhere!