As winter break approaches, there’s not much students want to do except lay around and relax. Taking time to read a good book or watch some quality TV is the best part of the break. Here’s a short list of my personal recommendations for some winter break entertainment.

“1984” is a novel originally published by George Orwell in 1949, depicting the future society of what could have been in 1984 had a tyrannical, dictatorship overtook British society. Orwell’s novel precedes itself as one of the better known classics of the literary world. His themes of individual thought in relation to a nation completely controlled by the government leads readers to question what the First Amendment means, along with the meaning and importance of human interaction and relationships.

“Handmaid’s Tale” is a novel published in 1985 by Margaret Atwood. Many critics draw comparisons from her novel to Orwell’s “1984.” In many regards, they are very similar, but Orwell’s book focuses on government control over individuality while Atwood discusses the dangers of government control over women’s bodies and fertility. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is also a Hulu original series, but I would suggest reading the book before watching the series since the show deviates entirely from the novel.

“Dear White People” is a Netflix original series, and while the name of the show is provocative to some and hints at themes of reverse racism by the title, the show itself is a provocative series that shows the tension between white and black communities. “Dear White People” explains cultural appropriation, white privilege, segregation, Black Lives Matter and what it means to be a woman of color.

“House of Cards” seasons 1-3 is a great way to understand politics and how the system operates. During Barrack Obama’s presidency, the Obama Administration agreed “House of Cards” was fairly accurate to the positions and behind-the-scenes efforts ongoing in D.C. I only suggest seasons 1-3, because though the show is a political drama, the first three seasons really delve into the political side of the show rather than just the exaggerated drama of the last three seasons. Watching the show familiarizes viewers with D.C. positions, political office, bargaining, bureaucrats and the web of politics.

“Godless” is a Netflix limited series and reveals an interesting perspective to the Western genre. “Godless” reinvents the cowboy narrative with a mostly-female cast in a mostly-female town in the Wild West. This show explores women as ranchers, cowboys, sheriffs and town leaders. This show explores the trials women had to face during a time when women’s rights weren’t widespread and in a setting where the law was the land.