Reading to Beat the Winter Blues

black-and-white-woman-girl-sitting-largeGuess what? It’s almost the end of February. I think that no matter where you live, this can be such a difficult time of year. Whether it’s feeling caught in your mundane routine, dealing with large amounts of homework, dreary weather, or all three, feeling down and depressed can sometimes be nearly inevitable. So where are some places you can turn when you need to take a break and refuel? Most of the time, Netflix and social media can become our escape. Both are fine in moderation, but do those things really help refuel us?

One thing that I have found helps me get through the winter blues is doing more reading, even if it is something light and easy. Unlike Facebook or watching TV, it engages your mind and imagination. It requires focus and attention. A recent article from Metro discusses some books that may be worth reading during this time of year, especially ones with themes of hope and inspiration in showing how others overcome their obstacles. Stepping into the mind of another character can even give us a new perspective on issues we are dealing with in our own lives. It can be so tempting to spend all of our free time binge watching TV shows, especially those of us who do a lot of reading for school, but what if we read for fun more often? Would it help us to get in the minds of others so we can better understand them? Would our reading comprehension improve? Would we feel more productive than if we had spent our time browsing Pinterest or Instagram? Why not give it a try?

 

 

 

 

 

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Cinder: Cyborg Cinderella

Cinder just wants to be a normal, accepted mechanic. And she would be, if she wasn’t a cyborg. Her robotic limbs, chips, and sensors keep her alive… and make her a social outcast. Sounds like Cinder needs a fairy godmother.

Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles drops stories like Cinderella and Rapunzel into a dystopian world. Cinder grapples with discrimination, identity, and self-sacrifice, and the twists and turns leave me surprised and delighted with each book.

The heroes are messier than their old fairy-tale counterparts. Imperfect. Grey. Captain Thorne is a smooth-talking criminal. Another character is a genetically-engineered soldier trying to be better than his programming. Winter can be thoughtless. Life as fugitives from an Evil Queen means stealing, hacking, brawling. (It’s really hard to be an upright citizen when space police are after you.

Even in futuristic fairy tales, nobody’s immune to physical plagues or sin. Cinder’s happiness seems out of reach, but she finds the strength to keep going and make heroic sacrifices.  She grows over the course of the books. Our cyborg Cinderella is an active, complex female character who makes mistakes but doesn’t despair or give up. She wants to be better than her enemies.

“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.”

No happy ending is guaranteed, but she decides things like peace and friendship are worth fighting for. Cinder might not intend to glorify God, but her courage and love can encourage us to live boldly for what we believe and stand up for the oppressed.

 

-Josie K.