There are some books that are worth reading more than once. These are the books, no matter how thick and heavy, that are worth giving up space in your carry-on for. There are even some books (OK, most books) that are worth staying in on a Saturday night for, but there's a special kind of page-turning book that is worth reading by candlelight.
We have all heard about the hazards of reading in dim lighting — it can worsen your eyesight, make you squint, and cause wrinkles, apparently — but there are just some books that, no matter the lighting, are worth the risk of bad eyesight and crow's feet. When the power goes out, whether it's thanks to a powerful storm or just an overloaded power grid, these are the books you pull off your shelf to read by the light of a candle. They're the ones that distract you from the ice cream melting in the freezer and the milk spoiling in the fridge. They're the kind of novels that can justify adding a heat source to your already 96-degree living room. They're the books you squint for, because they're just that good.
Maybe you've read some of these masterpieces and can agree, these nine books are worthy of candlelight reading:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Every book in the Harry Potter series is worthy of reading in candlelight, but this one does involve a giant goblet full of fire, so it's the most appropriate of the bunch. Don't you remember when you used to hide under you covers after bedtime, reading all seven of them with the help of a flashlight? There is just something so enchanting about these books that make reading them, rereading them, lugging them from apartment to apartment, and squinting in dim light for them completely worthwhile.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This 2014 runaway bestseller was one of the most talked about books of last year for a reason. It's dark, lyrical, and magical at all once. Station Eleven may be a post-apocalyptic novel, but it manages to carry hope on every page. Each intertwined story and its players — from the members of the Traveling Symphony to the misguided followers and their false prophet — is expertly told in beautiful, lyrical prose that will keep you turning page after page, until the wick is low and your candle finally burns out.
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Nine brilliant but utterly heartbreaking stories make up Junot Diaz's electrifying collection, This Is How You Lose Her. Each story, some of which had been previously published, revolves around the loves and losses of one man, Yunior, a young Dominican man who longs for love and happiness, but, more times than not, stands in his own way of it. Don't worry, no one will see you crying in the candlelight.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Romance and candlelight go hand-in-hand, and the tumultuous, passionate love story of Cathy and Heathcliff is just the thing for reading near the flame. Their drama and angst, plus the powerful backdrop of the English moors, makes Wuthering Heights ideal for stormy reading situations — and all the better if you have to lean in to soak up every compelling, masterfully-crafted word.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Touching and beautifully written, this is the kind of book that makes you miss your stop on the train. All the Bright Places is a stunning young adult novel from author Jennifer Niven that tells the tragic but inspiring love story of Finch and Violet, two teenagers guaranteed to make your adult self feel all the feels. Even if you don't consider yourself a YA-reader, this one is not only worth giving a chance — it's candlelight-worthy, too.
The Green Mile by Stephen King
You can't very well watch a movie when the power is out, but this Stephen King book that inspired the Oscar-nominated Tom Hanks flick is way better than the film version anyways, and that's saying something. Originally published in serial, The Green Mile is an epic and emotional novel about lies and the truth, salvation and redemption, and the different ways that people can touch our lives.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Poignant and critical, Americanah is a literary masterpiece, each page worthy of reading by flickering candlelight. The novel is centered around two Nigerian expatriates, Ifemelu and Obinze, who struggle to navigate through their new worlds. A saga of race, identity, and love, Americanah is a sensational, touching read that keeps you thinking about it even into the darkest hours of the night. Yeah, it really is that good.
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
If I had to pick one person to tell me stories in the dark, it would be Kilgore Trout, and by that I suppose I mean Kurt Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions is like a hilarious, satirical conversation about sex, politics, and car dealerships between the reader and Trout/Vonnegut, and though it isn't the kind of book you'd traditionally classify as a "page-turner," this novel pulls you in, straps you to a chair, and doesn't let you go until the last outrageous word has been spoken. Be cautious with this one, because belly-laughing near an open flame might get a little dangerous.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Short though it may be, there are few science fiction books that can hold a candle to the brilliance of H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. Hop on the machine next to the Time Traveller, and experience the past, present, and now not-so-distant future of humanity and the world as we know it. Provocative for the time it was published in, Wells's novel remains just as imaginative as the day it came out.