3 Books for Wintry Weekends (Plus, a Few Other Favorites)

Grab your fluffiest throw and settle in with these captivating new novels.
The Sun and Other Stars: A Novel

The Sun and Other Stars: A Novel

336 pages; Simon & Schuster
In the (fictional) Italian coastal village of San Benedetto, 22-year-old narrator Etto is perhaps the only inhabitant not obsessed with calcio (aka soccer). As such, he's a disappointment to his father—the only immediate family member Etto has left, after the deaths of his mother and twin brother. When calcio star Yuri Fil unexpectedly takes up residence for the summer, entourage in tow, Etto falls for the superstar's sister, the task of winning her helping him to work through his grief. The author beautifully evokes life in an Italian tourist town, from the sparkling sea, the breezes off the water and the daily bustle of setting up beach chairs at the bagni to its colorful cast of nightclub owners, fishermen and the ever-present nonne—the grannies who pull strings behind the scenes. Throughout, Etto's likable, slightly sheepish persona gives the narrative charm and the occasional flight of poetry—as when he describes his paramour midmatch: "her cheeks flushed, her silky shorts fluttering against her thighs like the flag of a mythical country." What results is a celebration of young love, sunshine and la dolce vita, no matter the weather outside. 
— Susan Welsh