Weekly Geeks: Winter Reading

February 1, 2010 at 12:10 am 4 comments

For many of you reading this, the weather outside is blustery, cold, and generally gloomy. Temperatures are in the teens or even below, and you dread the very thought of facing the world without a wool scarf and several layers of socks. Even though I live in California for the moment, I remember very clearly the white-outs and blizzards of Buffalo and the constant freezing slush I sloshed through last winter in Dublin.

Weather that miserable requires a special kind of book. No chick lit or beach-reading will do; Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts must be shelved until another, warmer day. What books would I suggest curling up with on a cold winter’s night? Here’s a short list of some of my favorites:

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder: If you’re ever feeling bitter about the length of winter, read this book about a prairie winter that lasted from October until May, with constant three-day blizzards punctuated only by one or two days of respite in between. This book my favorite of the series; I love how you can almost feel the warmth of the Ingalls cabin (until they run out of fuel), how exciting the scene is where two young men dash across the prairie in order to buy wheat for the people in town before the next blizzard hits, and how happy everyone is when the long-awaited train finally brings their Thanksgiving turkey.

The Shining by Stephen King: What could be better than a horror story that takes place in a snow-bound hotel? I promise, the book is much better than the movie, if only because Shelley Duvall does not make an appearance. While the subject matter may be a little drear, the story is bound to get your adrenaline pumping, warming you up and making you glad you’re not as isolated as the Torrance family.

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay: Most of the action in this book takes place during a New York City winter, and those of you longing for sunshine will identify with Tasmanian transplant Rosemary Savage. While critics have, well, criticized this book for its lack of coherence (the three separate subplots never really meld), it’s worth a read just for the depictions of the bookstore and Rosemary’s apartment, both of which will help you feel all warm and cozy despite the weather.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: Much of the book’s second half is about a Northern expedition the main character takes, complete with polar bears, dogsleds, and heavy fur parkas. However, the story itself is riveting, and the steampunk nuances, cuddly daemons and exciting action sequences are quite enough to dispel the winter blues any reader may be experiencing.

What are your favorite books to read on freezing, snowy evenings? Let us know in the comments!


Entry filed under: Collections and Lists, Weekly Geeks. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Snow-White and Rose-Red Discussion Questions: Nine Stories

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. neuroticmom  |  February 1, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Yes I think “The Long Winter” will be my next book! If you haven’t noticed I have gone into a childrens book reading phase.Rereading all the old ones we own. Just finished Black Beauty and Grandpa’s Mountain so I think Laura Ingalls will be next!

  • 2. Sharla  |  February 2, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Excellent recommendations! The Long WInter and The Golden Compass make me remember a book that I should have added to my list: East by Edith Pattou.

    The Secret of Lost Things looks interesting. I’m going to go check it out.

    Happy Reading!

  • 3. Laura  |  February 3, 2010 at 4:12 am

    What excellent choices! I’d forgotten all about Laura Ingalls Wilder which I just loved as a child. The Golden Compass is another great choice. I tend toward longer and heavier/darker books; here’s my post.

  • 4. Melanie  |  February 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I have to totally agree with The Shining and The Golden Compass! great list.


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