We’ve had a dusting of snow here in Prague, which makes everything look very pretty. But it’s a reminder that winter is here to stay, at least for a while. Christmas is over, it’s cold outside and there’s a general feeling of deflation. The long wait for springtime starts now and it can be the most miserable time of year. However, there are some advantages, such as grabbing a blanket and a hot drink and curling up with a good book for hours on end (preferably by a crackling fire). So put on your woolly socks and take a look at some of my favourite winter reads…
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
An obvious choice, but this modern take on an old Russian fairytale is truly perfect for a snowy day. Set in Alaska, The Snow Child portrays the grief and hope of two parents beautifully. Like winter, it can be bleak but this magical read will fill you with warmth.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Winter is a great time to get stuck into a long, show-stopper such as The Goldfinch. Books by Donna Tartt are few and far between, so they need to be savoured. This one is set between the blazing sun of Las Vegas and an icy winter in New York.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I was totally absorbed in this sweeping tale about life during the American Civil War when I read it some years ago. It was a snowy December and I was staying in the Dolomites. I spent every evening curled up next to a wood burner to get my fix. It’s a deliciously long book to get stuck in to on a dark winter’s night!
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
There seems to be a pattern here for big books, but somehow winter is less distracting, making it the best time to pick up those tomes! I think all Dickens’ books are suitable for cosy winter reading – there’s something about his portrayal of a dark and gritty London contrasted with his fabulously colourful and warm characters.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
I couldn’t write a post about winter reads without mentioning a Victorian sensation novel. This has all the best elements; a strange mystery, foggy weather, lots of cliffhangers. But I’d expect nothing less from the guy who invented detective novels! The Woman in White has actually been on my reread list for a while now – maybe I’ll get to it this winter.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Finally, if you are in denial about Christmas being over and want to prolong that warm fuzzy feeling, this heartwarming tale about the struggles of four sisters is just the ticket. It’s a wonderful novel for when you are feeling down. The sisters bring warmth, hope and love to the page.
To fight off the winter blues this year I’m going to attempt to get through some of the larger and more challenging books on my shelf. Here are three at the top of the list: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust and The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.
What are you favourite books to curl up with on a winter’s evening?