winter books

Wintry Reads

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Here in North Carolina, the winter weather is always a surprise.  One day we’ll have a balmy, spring-like day.  The next, we’re shivering inside our sweaters!  We soaked up the sun whenever possible because we know gloomy, chilly days are coming.

Whether you’re shivering in extended sub-zero temps or surfing on a beach somewhere, winter is the perfect time to enjoy some chill-inducing reads!  Nothing makes me feel quite as cozy as bundling up on my sofa with a cold-weather book and a warm beverage.

While listening to a recent Bibliophiles podcast episode on wintertime reading, I started thinking through all the book titles that evoke wintry chill in my mind.  Enjoy the list below, and tell me which of your favorite wintry reads haven’t been mentioned!

Winter Book List, Wintry Reads

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Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing 

This was the very first book that came to mind as I pondered ice and snow.  This book is so atmospheric that even if you read it during July at the pool you will begin to shiver!  It recounts the heroic, almost-unbelievable story of Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition.  This is a title I highly recommend, not only as a read-alone, but also as a read-aloud with a spouse or older children!

The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder 

A quintessential wintry read, I’m sure many of you remember Laura’s description of the daring sleigh ride to find wheat when the town was starving, the howling of the prairie blizzards, and the perseverance of the Ingalls family in the midst of harrowing circumstances.  We also love listening to the fantastic audiobook version!

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn 

Just to be clear, this is definitely not a title for children or the faint at heart.  It is, however, one of my and my husband’s favorite books!  The entire novel covers just 1 grueling day in Ivan’s life in a Siberian labor camp. A great first attempt at Russian literature if that has been on your goal-list, because it is significantly shorter at ~200 pages than, say, War and Peace.

Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie 

What happens when a blizzard isolates a train in the middle of nowhere, and a murder has been committed?  All the passengers in the train car are suspects, and only Hercule Poirot can solve the case.  Mysteries are good any time of the year, but especially as cozy, wintry reads!  My 11 and 13 year old have also enjoyed this book, and we had a rousing discussion of the varying merits of 2 different film adaptations when some of their friends joined us for a book + movie night! (Do you prefer this version or this version?)

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik 

This story was a fun January read for me this year.  The bleak wintry setting provides the perfect backdrop to what is a bit of a bleak fairy tale!  If you need a fun wintry read (that will still make you think), this might be a good option!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis 

A wintry reads list wouldn’t be complete without this classic story of a land where it is “always winter, but never Christmas.”  If you haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia since childhood, this is your encouragement to read through them again as an adult.  You’ll be amazed at the richness!  And if you can share the glories in a read-aloud to your children, even better. (This is also another great audiobook option for families)

The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen 

Are you familiar with this classic fairy tale?  If your children ever watched Frozen, you’ve seen one of the many stories that find their inspiration in this story.

Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu 

One such book inspired by The Snow Queen is Breadcrumbs!  I read this dark, modern-day fairy tale several years ago, but didn’t feel like my children were emotionally mature enough to handle it at the time.  Typing up this list has inspired me to put it on hold at the library so that my 11-year-old daughter can read it!

Wintry Picture Books: Of course, you know how I feel about picture books around here.  I’ll save a wintry picture book list, however, for another day…but at least let me make sure you have plans to read Katy and the Big Snow,  The Snowy Day,  and White Snow, Bright Snow  aloud sometime soon!

Enjoy these wintry reads while you’re cozying in with your twinkly lights, fuzzy slippers, and hot cocoa this winter!  What chilly books would you add to this list?

Winter Books List


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