Five books to read before 2022


Simrah Qasim

Reading can help pass the time during winter break, and can also be a source of entertainment.

2021 is coming to an end. This year has been filled with all sorts of weird adjustments we have had to make to our lives. But in the midst of it all, one thing has helped me escape our odd reality: books. Without being confined to a certain genre, the five titles below are my favorite books that I read in 2021. 

The Great Gatsby was written in the “Jazz Era” and is loved for Fitzgerlad’s style of writing. (Courtesy of Flickr)

The Stranger- Albert Camus 

The highly renowned novel “The Stranger” was published in 1942. Written in the first person, the book follows a French man named Meursault who is viewed by society as an “outcast” as a result of his lack of concern for emotion. 

“The Stranger” has gained lots of praise over the last century due to the philosophical themes present in the story. The plot of the book may appear as simple and ordinary, but it’s the underlying message told through Meursault and the peculiar detachment of the character himself to his life which makes it an interesting read. As the story progresses, the readers are constantly faced with the question: “What is the significance of life?”  

“In English circles, we say ‘there is a difference between literature and fiction,’” said Book Club sponsor Gina Chandler. “Literature is more thought-provoking.”

“The Stranger” is a great piece of literature to give some thought to. And while many believe Camus’ writing is catered towards a specific group of people, this novel can be appreciated by anyone who gives it a chance. 

The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger 

In 1951, J.D. Salinger published the novel “The Catcher in the Rye.” 

Holden Caulfield, a high school senior in the 1950’s, narrates the days after he has been expelled from his prestigious boarding school. Written in the style of a diary, Holden details roaming the streets of New York and his plan to abandon society forever. 

The novel takes place over the course of three days, and as each chapter passes, Holden’s mental state continues to deteriorate. Many common themes are present throughout the book such as loneliness, a loss of innocence and most notably the idea of “phoniness.” 

If you want a book to read this winter to get you thinking, “Catcher in the Rye” is perfect for you. 

Slouching Toward Bethlehem- Joan Didion

Joan Didion is a journalist who first gained recognition in the 1960s for her essays published in Vogue magazine. After moving back to California, Didion began reporting on politics and other news.

Since the 1960s, she has written a number of novels, the most popular among them being “Slouching Toward Bethlehem.” This book, which is a collection of essays, takes place mostly in California documenting the political and social movements which overwhelmed the cities and transformed the state she once called home. The book covers a range of topics including changes in the film and music industry, the civil rights movement, and murder. While Didion’s book came out in 1968, many of the issues continue to be relevant in our country today. 

The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Known as one of the greatest American classics, Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” has influenced literature in a completely unique way. 

The novel is set in 1920’s New York and tells the story of a man named Nick Carraway and his experiences involving the mysterious Jay Gatsby, whom the book is named after. 

Written through the eyes of the protagonist, we live his life in the roaring twenties, attending massive parties, meeting eccentric characters, and witnessing heinous crimes. The story is perfect for those who enjoy reading pieces of historical fiction that explore topics of tragedy, American dreams, and the power of wealth. 

Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

In 1813, Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice” was published in the U.K. where it began to gain lots of traction the year of its release. Many fans of the book comment on its variety of relatable characters and captivating plot. 

Following the lives of the Bennet sisters, “Pride and Prejudice” is set in the English countryside in the early 1800s. One of the main protagonists, Elizabeth Bennet, is a headstrong female character who defies the expectations of society by valuing her education and acting clever with those she shouldn’t. The story also details the life of Mr. Darcy, a wealthy man who belongs to a higher class. Similar to many novels of this era, “Pride and Prejudice” comments on the social hierarchy in New England, through the theme of love. 

“I love Pride and Prejudice,” said Nikita Patel, junior. “I relate a lot to the character Elizabeth because she’s witty and really smart. The plot was also really intriguing which made it easier to read.” 

“Pride and Prejudice” remains one of the greatest love stories of literature due to its timelessness and ability to successfully translate through every generation. 


“There’s less discussion about deeper themes and taking messages and morals into our own lives from what we read in books,” said Tyler Folkmann, senior and Book Club’s president. 

Everyone should give the more thought-provoking novels a chance this year. All of these titles listed are great reads for the holiday season and will keep you wanting more. 

For more questions regarding Hinsdale Central Central’s book club, email the sponsor at Gina Chandler