Tuesday, February 18, 2014

7 Winter Books to Read on Your Next Snow Day


It snowed again today. Since this is my first winter, I really don’t have a benchmark for how much snow we've received, yet I've heard it’s been quite a snowy winter. We haven’t had any ice storms, however, and I’m grateful for that! For those who live buried in the picturesque, infuriating white powder, I've composed a list of books to keep up our winter stamina. Some I've read, and some I haven’t, but they all have to do with winter.

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

About this time of the year, many people can sympathize with the beleaguered Narnians, trapped in an everlasting winter with no sign of spring. I reread the Narnia series right as I moved to the East Coast, and feel that it is one classic series that people of all ages can relate to and enjoy.

2. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

I had no idea this play even existed until I started researching for this article! The synopsis of The Winter’s Tale, found online, says that the tale deals with love, betrayal, and redemption. Plus, one of the main characters is named Hermione.

3. The Winter of our Discontent by John Steinbeck

This happens to be one of the few Steinbeck works I have never read. I love Steinbeck for the way he crafts sentences and novels. Each word is so deliberately chosen and placed. He carefully assembles words to create gripping social commentary that is still relevant today. So yes, I’d like to read The Winter of our Discontent. It’s right up there on my Steinbeck to-read list with Travels with Charley: In Search of America and Tortilla Flat.

4. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This was my least favorite book in the Little House on the Prairie series as a girl. It always seemed so long. As I look back, I think maybe Laura wrote an intentionally lengthy novel to evoke the feeling of winter. Perhaps I should reread it now that I've lived in a winter myself. In fact, Mom, why don’t you pull out the whole series for the next time I visit!

5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The author’s name, Eowyn, is nearly enough to make me read the book, yet the synopsis of the book looks fascinating as well. It’s a 1920’s fairy tale set in Alaska, based on an old Russian folk tale. I remember seeing this book on the new books shelf of Chaucer’s. Snow wasn't relevant there, but now that there are a few feet of it outside, I’d like to pick up this book the next time I visit the library (which conveniently has a sand bin outside; another innovation unknown in most of California).

6. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

It would be borderline heretical to compose a winter books list without including Jack London. His settings are mainly in the snow, and the characters often face survival in the snow. I remember reading him at a young age, when I was likely a little too young to appreciate his work, but I remember determinedly finishing the book because even then I thought it was important to read a book by Jack London.

7. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

Like the Shakespeare play, I was unaware that there was a Hans Christian Andersen snow fairy tale. Apparently the Disney movie Frozen draws some inspiration from the story. I have neither read the story nor seen the movie, so I do not know how closely it is based on the tale. However, I would like to read the fable and see the movie!

Readers, what are your recommendations? Which of these books have you read or hope to read?

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