Our staffers are coping with this endless snowy winter with books that spirit them away

By People Staff
February 13, 2014 05:30 PM

Anywhere but here that’s how a lot of us are feeling this endless, snowy winter. Our staffers are coping with books that spirit them away – to other times, other cultures, other climes.

Tell us what you think of their choices – and what you’re reading.

The Son

Aaron Parsley, Senior Editor
His Pick: The Son by Philipp Meyer

In Philipp Meyer’s superb Western, 13-year-old Eli McCullough is abducted from his family’s frontier home in Texas by a band of Comanches in 1859. He goes from brutalized captive to assimilated warrior, and the violence he endures shapes his life long after he returns to live among so-called “civilized” white Texans. It also leaves a lasting imprint on his family through the generations, as the McCullough family business transforms from cattle to oil.

This sweeping saga has it all – powerful cruelty, sweet romance and stunning, close-up descriptions of the Texas Hill Country that remind me of home.

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Mary Beth Yale, Sales Planner
Her Pick: The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol, William Rodarmor and Helen Dickinson

Forty-something Josephine lives just outside Paris, and she’s always felt just that – on the outside. She’s never fit in with her mother and sister, and her daughters don t understand her. When her husband runs off to Africa to work on a crocodile farm with his young mistress, Josephine’s left to figure out life on her own.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, which always makes things fun. Plus, it has all of the chic anecdotes you d expect from a Parisian novel. Magnifique!

Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood

Judith Newman, Book Reviewer
Her Pick: Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood by Leah Vincent

This is a sometimes-sweet, sometimes-harrowing memoir by a smart, passionate ultra-Orthodox girl whose choice is stark: she can have friends and family if she chooses duty, ignorance, modesty and an early marriage. Or she can get an education, choose who she dates, dress and live vibrantly – and be shunned.

Cut Me Loose is not a pretty picture of this fundamentalist sect of Judaism; the most observant will probably find it objectionable. But it’s engrossing and so thoughtfully written, and never mocks the traditions and values of a culture that few of us can fully comprehend.

Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week’s love storiesand more great book finds here.