Friday, February 10, 2012

What This Snow Girl Reads

It's supposed to snow today. The temperature dropped. The sky is white/gray. I've snuggled in and picked out a book. So, let it snow! I'm ready.

A lot of people have "beach reads" -- books they read in summer while they're lying in the sun. Chick Lit often falls into that category for me. But more than beach reads, I have "winter reads" -- genres and styles that I like to curl up with on dark, snowy days beginning in December.

I find that I read thicker, slower books in winter. Books that are complex and hearty, like stew. For me, this is the time to delve into literary novels that require readers to concentrate and read for longer spells at a time. These are not the books you pick up, read a few pages of, then put down. These are novels that take you to cabins set deep in the woods if you let them; books that span the globe and time dimensions. In winter, I read books I can savor.

And in between those heavier novels, I like to curl up by the fire with suspense and murder mysteries. Especially those set in the snow. You'd think I'd like to read about a tropical setting when I'm huddled on my couch swathed in blankets. But, no. I want to feel the comfort of being inside contrasted against the chill outside in both real life and the novels I'm reading.

A couple of favorite snowy reads:

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard that begins with a farmer discovering the frozen naked body of a teenaged girl while he and his sons are rounding up their livestock during a blizzard. I'm a sucker for a blizzard story.

Which brings me to The Children's Blizzard, by David Laskin. This is a true account of an 1888 blizzard that suddenly swept across the American plains killing hundreds of people, mostly children, who were caught unaware as they tried to walk home from school. The book is absolutely chilling and you'd think it would make me swear off reading about snow during the winter, but instead it fascinated me and made me prepare my coats and car for impending disaster. I'll never forget this book.

I've written before, but will mention again, my favorite short story, which falls into the winter reads category: To Build a Fire by Jack London. I loved it!

Last, but not least, Speak Softly, She Can Hear by Pam Lewis is one of those wrong place, wrong time novels that changes the lives of the characters involved. A prep school girl goes to a cabin one snowy weekend with her boyfriend who, unbeknownst to her, has also invited another woman there. Things get out of hand and the stranger is killed, then buried in the snow. The book follows the girl through decades as her life unfolds, always affected by that one snowy weekend.

Anyone else a winter snow reader? I'd love some more snowy book recommendations.


  1. Hmm, I haven't read any true mysteries in a while... And certainly not by the fire, although that sounds lovely!

    My recommendations for luxurious winter reads would have to be Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and something like Jane Eyre.

    I think I just convinced myself to go read for a bit! ;)

  2. Seeing it doesn't snow here in Queensland, I can't say I'm a slow reader in Winter. I read as much - if not more - in Winter. We don't slow down here... it's kinda strange. We love to get out and about in our colder months and enjoy the crisp weather. It's just the way it goes with us. However, our Winter last year was very cold; and I did enjoy being inside more and I got in and painted, read and played my piano a lot more than I did a few years before, but I read novels that took me away from the cold and to the warmer climates rather than reminded me of how cold it was outside. :)

  3. Thanks for the book reco's, Kristan. I'll add those to my list.

    Mozette, I can't figure out why I am drawn to cold climate settings when I read in the winter. It would make more sense to read books set in sunny places like you do. But for some reason, I save those for summer.