The sun is setting earlier and earlier. The nights are cold, inviting us to the sit underneath blankets by fires, and curl up and read. As one year ends and another begins, enjoy a story that warms you up. Here is our list of the top winter books.
Winter Books: The Power of Literature
There’s something so magical about snuggling up by the fireside with your favorite love story or book series and being transported to another world. The following six books might not contain some type of science fiction complete with a cyborg who practices mind control or an epic fairytale love story. But their well-developed storylines and characters are sure to transport you to beautiful wintery worlds.
Wintersong (Madeline L’Engle and Lucy Shaw, Regent College Publishing, 2004)
The only non-fiction work on our list, this poignant collection centers around Christmas but evokes the nature of the entire winter season, in all of its spiritual imagery. Readers who enjoyed L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” as a child will delight in this book with more biographical writings, paired with the words of her friend, poet Lucy Shaw.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis, Geoffrey Bles, 1950)
Author C.S. Lewis’s classic first book The Chronicles in Narnia series is famous for opening onto the long, bewitched Narnia winter. “Always winter and never Christmas,” is now a famous axiom describing how many of us feel before we feel the days extend.
Narnia lovers know that Christmas does eventually come to the Other World, and the winter ends, but not before this book, one of the last century’s best stories, wins both adult and child over completely.
A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles, Penguin Books, 2019)
Bill Gates declared this book one of Summer 2019 reading picks, but this is a winter book, all the way. In 1922. Count Alexander Rostov has been imprisoned in the Metropol Hotel, across from the Kremlin. The Bolsheviks deemed him a dissenter. Imprisoned is a layered term, as he still lives a life of leisure, he just can never leave.
A beautiful story, set against Russian splendor, A Gentleman in Moscow is a perfect, curl up by the fire book. Towles’ descriptions of both the struggles of the country against the personal journey of one extraordinary protagonist captivate readers until the end.
Winter Solstice (Rosamunde Pilcher, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015)
If you are looking for a heart-warming winter book to pick up year after year, author Rosamunde Pilcher’s aptly-named Winter Solstice continues to be a cozy day favorite. Five very different characters end up together in a house for Christmas in a small, England town. They connect and are changed. Engaging, but not-too-heavy, Winter Solstice is the perfect, holiday week book to enjoy with a cup of cocoa during your final days with your Christmas tree.
A Man Called Ove (Fredrich Backman, Washington Square Press, 2015)
Get the audiobook of this bestselling story if you want to debate the correct pronunciation of “Ove.” (And no, it does not rhyme with “love.”) But if you are reading this in your bed into the night, it’s hardly relevant.
Ove is one of the most grumpy, vexing, and charming characters in recent literature. Book-lovers will be entranced by his story in this book. His neighbors, who somehow manage to get him out of his shell, and his house, even in the relentless Swedish snow, are just as colorful.
Maisie Dobbs (Jacqueline Winspear, Soho Crime, 2014)
Enter 1929, London, into the world of Investigator Maisie Dobbs. As she sets out to solve one of her first solo cases, readers gradually learn her story. She was taken in by the aristocracy, given an education, and radically changed by World War 1. This mystery provides readers with a new heroine and a wonderful story that moves with humor and heart from start to finish.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce, Random House, 2015)
Harold Fry does not ever act unpredictably. Then one day he sets out on a journey that changes everything. This winter story, which actually takes place between April and June, creates the perfect fiction tale for those who would prefer to keep their bodies on the couch. Heartwarming and unexpected, Harold Fry, is an inspiration for those hoping for something different in the new year. His story is a reminder to appreciate all that is ordinarily wonderful in our lives.
Our Favorite Winter Books
Reading is a great use of time spent indoors. Take a break from the dueling streaming services, grab that favorite afghan, and some quiet and escape into another story. These winter books provide a chance to go somewhere without getting properly dressed or finding your mittens (again.) What are some of your Fireside Favorites?