The winter holidays have passed, but the winter weather is just getting started. Most folks consider this a great time to retreat into the comfort and warmth of their homes for a while, and what better way to spend your time than curled up with a good book?
If you need a little encouragement to slow down, savor the comforts of home and lose yourself in a great story, we are happy to provide some of our favorite suggestions. Instead of braving the cold outside, grab some blankets, start a fire and curl up in your favorite chair by the hearth with one or two of the gems we have listed below.
Are there some old classics that you’ve always meant to read? This is a great time to tick a few titles off your list. Jane Austen’s masterpieces, “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” beckon readers into a bygone era of manners and romance.
Or, if you like complicated plots and Victorian sensibilities, try “A Study in Scarlet,” where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduces Sherlock Holmes to the world. Alternatively, if you prefer something a little more sinister, you may want to read Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” or Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” The intricate storytelling, rich character development and genteel charm of these classics make them the perfect companions for a long winter’s night.
For those who seek a touch of darkness and suspense, delve into the atmospheric landscapes of Scandinavia with Nordic noir mysteries, which is a rising genre in its own right. Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and Henning Mankell’s “Faceless Killers” both weave gripping tales that unfold against snow-laden settings. Jo Nesbø’s “The Snowman” also features a series of murders where the culprit leaves a snowman at each Norwegian crime scene. Be careful, however – these mysteries promise to keep you on the edge of your seat, and they could make you a little leery of the dark (or a Nordic noir addict).
Winter winds and falling snow always whisper of some forgotten magic, and what better way to experience it than by transporting yourself into the pages of an epic fantasy? J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series or J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” invite readers to escape to worlds filled with wizards, elves and other mythical creatures. And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, where the land of Narnia is under an endless winter due to a witch’s spell.
You might also enjoy Patricia A. McKillip’s “The Riddle-Master of Hed,” if you are looking for a fantasy world where magic is woven into every word and harp string. All these offer deeply rich worlds where you can lose yourself for days.
As the cold winds howl outside, warm your soul with a compelling mystery or “thriller.” Go with a timeless classic like Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” if you like intricate plots and clever twists. You can also dive into the hidden world of the New York Museum of Natural History where mysterious murders draw the attention of the peculiar Agent Pendergast in his debut appearance in “Relic,” by Douglas S. Preston and Lincoln Child. Just be warned: the atmospheric settings of these novels may put a chill up your spine even if you’re safely tucked inside your home.
Sometimes, we all need a heartwarming story to lift our spirits during the winter months. Contemporary fiction novels like Sarah Addison Allen’s “The Sugar Queen” blend mystery and love, while David Arnold’s best-selling “I Loved You in Another Life” speaks of souls that are eternally meant to be together. These touching narratives and endearing characters are a click or two above the typical romance novel, and they will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling that will drive away the winter chill.
Celebrate the winter season with stories that mirror the beauty and challenges of snow-covered landscapes. Eowyn Ivey’s “The Snow Child” combines a fairy tale atmosphere with the harsh realities of an Alaskan winter and the often-elusive goals of life. Meanwhile, Sarah St. Vincent’s “Ways to Hide in Winter” offers a look at loneliness, unexpected friendships and personal redemption. Meanwhile, Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale” offers a dark fairytale that talks about finding hope and light in the midst of darkness. They are the perfect way to perceive the winter landscape as transformative.
If the winter weather hasn’t put enough of a chill down the back of your neck just yet, you may be in the mood for a little icy horror or books with a distinctly disturbing theme. Stephen King’s “The Shining” is set in the eerie and isolated Overlook Hotel during the winter where something decidedly dark is manipulating events. Meanwhile, Christopher Golden’s “Snowblind” forces a group of townsfolk to confront a supernatural force that comes with the snow. There’s also Jennifer McMahon’s “The Winter People,” which weaves together mysterious winter events in the lives of two women who are separated by more than a century.
Wrapping UpJanuary and February can feel like they go on forever – until the weather starts to break again and the early spring crocuses poke their way through the final snowscapes. During this time, the allure of a good book can be irresistible (not to mention a great excuse to put off until tomorrow anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be done today). So, brew a hot cup of coffee or tea, grab the good chocolates and let y