Now that it gets dark early, what better way to spend an evening than curled up with a good book? If you’re looking to maximize that feeling of coziness — check out these four books that are ideal for a solo date night.
“Whereabouts” by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
Released in April and the first novel in almost a decade from Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Lowland” and “Interpreter of Maladies,” “Whereabouts” is a melancholy journey into a foreign country. Reading it is like wrapping yourself up in a light blanket as sun rays bathe your body: light and delicate yet mundane. Lahiri writes the tale of an unnamed narrator in a never-named town who is withdrawn and fully immersed in her quiet routines. In short chapters, readers get snapshots of the narrator’s solitary life: in cafes, at dinner parties, on the street, in a waiting room, as well as the encounters she has with the various people she meets in those spaces. With restrained and precise writing, “Whereabouts” draws a feeling of solitude, but a comfortable one. It’s a beautiful piece of work I plan to return to again and again when I’m feeling moody and vulnerable.
“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt (Vintage)
Even though this Donna Tartt novel has been translated into 24 languages and sold over 5 million copies since 1992, “The Secret History” has been largely overshadowed by “The Goldfinch,” her 2013 novel made a feature film and winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. But “The Secret History” is not to be missed. It’s a murder mystery where the killer is known from the start. Heady and with dense prose, the novel takes place at an elite college in Vermont, and its dark academic setting is immersively atmospheric, making it a perfect book to get cozy with.
“Convenience Store Woman” by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Grove Press)
Keiko Furukura’s first love is the convenience store she’s worked in since 18. However, now, at 36 years old, her devotion to this job, and lack of children and a husband make Keiko an outcast. But she’s always been strange to everyone else. Keiko doesn’t operate the way others expect her to, and she slowly discovers that that is perfectly OK. This quirky and pensive short novel from Japanese author Sayaka Murata is an ode to the oddballs of the world, the ones who don’t conform to social constructs.
“Beautiful World, Where Are You” by Sally Rooney (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sally Rooney could write about a banana and it would be utterly absorbing and intricately complex. Like past Rooney books, the plot in her most recent release is pretty simple: four young adults trying to navigate life. There are pages long paragraphs without breaks, digging into sex and relationships, and simply being alive in an overwhelming world. But the magic is underneath, where the anxieties and uncertainties of the characters, the uncomfortable and awkward moments, are so visceral that pulling away is impossible even though it’s agonizing to read. If you’ve already read “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” any of Rooney’s other titles are equally as intoxicating.