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The Best Books to Warm Up With This Holiday

If you think you need another body to stay warm, think again.

You never need an excuse to read, but if you do, winter is a whole season’s worth. The frigid temps and abundant snow, for some of us, stir up the need to get into a cozy nook with a good companion. Sometimes that companion is pages bound with a spine and covers. Need a book buddy this holiday? Here are some books that will awaken your senses and keep you warm, all on their own.

1.   Like Water For Chocolate

is a rich marriage of food and love. Though adapted to a wildly successful film in 1992, the book holds its own merit. Tita is the youngest of three daughters, under a domineering mother in turn-of-the-century Mexico. When the love of Tita’s life marries her sister, Tita throws her passions into recipes for soups, cakes, and other foods that leave guests reeling with emotion. Tita’s touch in the kitchen is magical. Whether you’ve lost your first love, or still waiting for your first love, Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate will certainly leave you steamy…and hungry! Curl up with a good, sharp cheese and a robust glass of red.

2.   How Stella Got Her Groove Back

was also made into a box office success in the 1990s. The star of Terry McMillan’s novel is Stella, a successful, forty-something single mother in Marin County. Her big house feels empty while her son spends the summer with his father. On a whim, Stella books a trip to Montego Bay, promptly becoming enamored with a young local at working at her resort. Who happens to be half Stella’s age. How Stella Got Her Groove Back explores cougardom before it had a word. If images of tropical beaches and bright sun won’t warm you up, you can count on some heated love scenes (tastefully done, might I add.). Grab yourself some pineapple chunks for this one. Or hey, go for the whole pina colada.

Stella Got Her Groove Back

3.   Peel My Love Like An Onion

has summer written all through it, a welcome reprieve from winter. A disabled flamenco dancer reflects on her long-time love, an established, womanizing legend of the dance world. Carmen also welcomes a new love – her long-time lover’s nephew. Author Ana Castillo paints this love with the expected passion, along with compassion for her protagonist. You’ll be rooting for Carmen too, even as she does questionable things in the name for of love. Who among us hasn’t? Peel My Love Like An Onion is best enjoyed with some spicy hot chocolate. Maybe add a shot or two of Schnapps, if you really want to sink into it.

4.   The Poet X

is an explosive read for anyone who remembers the intense yearning of adolescence. High schooler Xiomara butts heads with her religious mother, who seems to blame Xiomara for her fully-developed figure and the attention it draws. Xiomara builds a tough shield to defend herself against her mother, catcallers, and a world that’s often hostile for young girls. She finds solace in her school’s poetry club,  penning her own verses. Xiomara also finds comfort in Aman, her love interest. She struggles to keep Aman and poetry club from her mother, but most things don’t stay secret for long. Written by Elizabeth Acevedo, a prominent slam poet, The Poet X is written in masterful verse. The Poet X would go well with your favorite forbidden fruit as a teen. Whether it’s beer or a Red Bull.

5.  The Girls Guide to Hunting & Fishing

is a quintessential coming-of-age meets romance. Jane Rosenal spends her life feeling average. We see Jane as a daughter of a renowned surgeon, the little sister of a charming young brother, and later, a lowly editor at a big publishing house. Inferiority complexes follow Jane often, especially in her relationships. Readers follow Jane through her teens, twenties, and early thirties. This book was something of a revelation in the late 90s and early 2000s. While some parts are a tad dated, it still reads fresh today.  I can relate to Jane’s search for self-fulfillment, both in her self and in the company of others. Enjoy The Girl’s Guide To Hunting and Fishing with something nostalgic and comforting. Or if you’re feeling like a girl’s night in, something light and bubbly.