Jump to content

Winter Reads – Recommendations


dog-days
 Share

Recommended Posts

Some winter favorites:

The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown.  This is the story of the infamous Donner Party being stranded near present day Truckee, California through a merciless winter.  A gripping and informative book put together from many primary sources.

Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat.  A coming of age tale of two youths attempting to survive while they are, get this, lost in the barrens of northern Canada.

Iceberg Hermit By Arthur J Roth.  A sailor becomes stranded on an Arctic iceberg after being the sole survivor of a shipwreck.

Jackaroo by Cynthia Voight.  An innkeepers daughter struggles with societal and gender roles in this excellent installment of Voight's Kingdom series.  A portion of the novel involves a winter survival section.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon.  Personally I think it's Chabon's most overrated novel but it's still excellent, if a little bloated.  But that makes it the perfect winter doorstopper!  And also features an interlude in Antarctica!

 

Edited by Larry of the Lake
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed, great recs. 

I always find when I think of winter reads, I think of the Farseer Trilogy. Maybe it's something about how the first book opens in particular, but so much about the setting and characters evokes cold for me, but also something comforting as well (even though the books are so bleak in many ways).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Underfoot said:

Agreed, great recs. 

I always find when I think of winter reads, I think of the Farseer Trilogy. Maybe it's something about how the first book opens in particular, but so much about the setting and characters evokes cold for me, but also something comforting as well (even though the books are so bleak in many ways).

The great winter novel of my childhood was the Call of the Wild by Jack London.  Recommend it to any who haven't read it yet.  Just a great yarn.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ooooo -- I just recalled Nicola Griffith's first novel, first published in the UK, waaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1992, The Ammonite.  If ever there was a novel of winter, we are in it with this one.

I also feel Griffith was in some ways paying homage to Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness with this novel.  Le Guin gave it glowing recommendations in any case.

Goes very well with the author's Hild, which came along so much later.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/14/2022 at 11:45 PM, Underfoot said:

Agreed, great recs. 

I always find when I think of winter reads, I think of the Farseer Trilogy. Maybe it's something about how the first book opens in particular, but so much about the setting and characters evokes cold for me, but also something comforting as well (even though the books are so bleak in many ways).

Totally. After reading the Farseer Trilogy, if felt like discovering something I knew already when I learned that Hobb spent many of her formative years in Alaska. The power and precision in her descriptions of winter, and the occasional episode of gemütlichkeit, seem like they must have been very informed by her biography. (And now I'm wondering if the native languages of Alaska have words similar to gemütlichkeit...)*

* Haven't found anything yet, but do now know the Haida word for braided seal intestines. On a more serious note, most Alaskan languages seem to have depressingly few native speakers left. 

Edited by dog-days
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/7/2022 at 10:56 PM, polishgenius said:

Would it be safe to assume you've read Terry Pratchett's Hogfather? Coz if not, that's a clear champion for a winter read...

I read a book at some point last year or so called A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking, by TJ Kingfisher (pseudonym of Ursula Vernon). Not a book-of-the-year candidate or anything, but playful, entertaining and mostly warm with a hint of spice in a way that makes me think it'd be a good fit. Also: while not a winter theme specifically, there is (of course) a baking setting that gives you the heat of the bread oven.

Jasper Fforde's Early Riser is about a society (an alternate UK) in which literal hibernation for humans happens, because the ice age never ended. It's a kinda satirical detective novel thing. Jasper Fforde is an odd writer, hard to nail down exactly, but a very good one. I'm not sure the tone is exactly what you're after, but it's worth a look. 

Hogfather was the first TP novel I ever read. And a very good place it was to start too! 

T Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon is a very likeable writer – I went through a lot of her stuff in December 2020. The Raven and the Reindeer is another of hers that's a good winter read: it's a retelling of The Snow Queen. 

Have been meaning to give Jasper Fforde a try for ages. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well tonight is the night to begin rereading The Dark is Rising if one wants to read in 'real' time.  Or, this year, another option...you can listen to it being performed on the BBC over the next few weeks.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w13xtvp7/episodes/player

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oooops.  Finished it last night!

But it was damned cold, dark and quiet, as we here attempt to figure out how to deal with simultaneous tripledemic so bad that even the clown called mayor called for us to wear masks again, a storm that will begin with two days of massive rain followed by temperatures well below freezing, so lots of ice at the same time as the weekend which is also Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, while Partner is sick from his second pneumonia shot. Hopefully the latter will be concluded by tonight, though.

Edited by Zorral
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ooh, another favorite, 

Two Old Women by Velma Wallis, a novella about two old Athabaskan women abandoned by their tribe before what promises to be a very bad winter in what is now northeastern Alaska, and how they attempt to survive an incredibly difficult situation where even young able-bodied people would struggle to last a week.

  Haven't read it in years but loved it in when I had to read it in highschool and I just requested it at the library.  Couldn't help but picture my own grandmothers in the place of the main characters.

Edited by Larry of the Lake
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I spent most of the weeks around Christmas reading some "cosy" mystery anthologies where people were murdered by egg nog and Yule log cakes.  They made me very hungry and I procured a yule log as a result and thankfully it did not kill any of us.

I have just started reading Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher which I purchased last year and have been holding on to read this winter solely because of the name.  I've maybe read one Pilcher before and I think she is the sort of author I can read occasionally but not often.  Anyway it took the first 100 pages or so to get to winter and introduce the cast of characters but now we are settled down in snowy Scotland in December where I think the next few hundred pages take place and its quite right for reading at the beginning of January.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

It's been a rather savage winter up here on the high steppes though last week wasn't bad. Regardless, I just finished Baldree's Legends and Lattes, a "high fantasy with low stakes". An orc literally hangs up her sword and opens a coffee shop in your standard fantasy city. It's a comfort fantasy, decidedly not the fare of Lord Grimdark. There is some action but the overall tone is kindness and generosity. There's a nice little sapphic romance and a rat that bakes pastries. If you want a gentle winter read, this will deliver.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold is a perfect winter read (if you want the" a high-backed armchair, open fire, glass of mulled wine and greyhound asleep on the floor" setting. It is not set all the time in winter but for me this is the perfect book if you want to  "Read a gripping story - maybe one quite chiuroscuro, dark but with some hope or value at its centre "

IIRC it has  even a dangerous mountain crossing in winter .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, JoannaL said:

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold is a perfect winter read (if you want the" a high-backed armchair, open fire, glass of mulled wine and greyhound asleep on the floor" setting. It is not set all the time in winter but for me this is the perfect book if you want to  "Read a gripping story - maybe one quite chiuroscuro, dark but with some hope or value at its centre "

IIRC it has  even a dangerous mountain crossing in winter .

Yes, loved Chalion, I think all of the World of the Five Gods books fit the bill. The Hallowed Hunt with its murder, romance and great ghostly finale would be particularly good too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/17/2023 at 3:04 PM, Jerol said:

It's been a rather savage winter up here on the high steppes though last week wasn't bad. Regardless, I just finished Baldree's Legends and Lattes, a "high fantasy with low stakes". An orc literally hangs up her sword and opens a coffee shop in your standard fantasy city. It's a comfort fantasy, decidedly not the fare of Lord Grimdark. There is some action but the overall tone is kindness and generosity. There's a nice little sapphic romance and a rat that bakes pastries. If you want a gentle winter read, this will deliver.  

Added to my wishlist! Sounds a bit like T Kingfisher. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...