In winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold – Ben Aaronovitch.
I always thought I was more of a summer reader rather than an autumn/winter one. However, lately when I’ve thought about it, I am definitely much more of the latter. When it comes to winter, Christmas especially, my reading notches up about fifty times because I love to get in bed at seven or 8pm, under my big blanket, and read a book within two evenings. Plus, Christmas has a tradition in my household: more books. As seen as it’s dark outside for the majority of the mere daylight hours we have, there’s no other excuses but to read more, in my opinion.
There are many books that we categorise in different aspects of our lives, during different seasons and different years; some make us reflect happy and sad times, whilst others are to go back to at any and every possible moment. When it came to Blogmas, I wanted to think about the books on my bookshelf that I would read during the cold, winter evenings under a blanket or beside a fireplace, preferably a log one in a small cottage in the Lake District somewhere. I picked up these seven, all of which are different genres and styles; from different eras and different countries as well as complete unique to the rest of the collection. However, they all remind me of what would be a winter setting or story whether it’s through the narrative, location, or my personal memories.
Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
I read Lady Audley’s Secret in my Victorian Literature class during my second year of university. It was the period running up to Christmas break and I remember it being cold and dark at 5pm on a Friday evening when our lecture finished. Written in 1862, this novel sparked “sensation fiction”. About a murder, femininity and insanity, it is a psychological thriller that has many twists and turns with a darkened backdrop to match. The grittiness of Victorian literature forever reminds me of winter, and this classic is one that will not disappoint.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Despite reading this during the summer months, the story very much reminds me of winter where the nights stretch long opening up a magic that daylight hours cannot express. A love story within the bounds of a black and white circus creates an allure like no other, and forever reading about darkness makes the imagination run wild with thoughts of beautiful moments during the twilight hours which are far more easily imagined when it is pitch black outside. More thoughts about this favourite of mine can be found here.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Another story set in Victorian England with cathedrals, dark alleys and robotic demons to fill every corner and crevice of your mind. I received this book during one Christmas, and so that is another reason it reminds me of a book that you would read during the winter months. The Infernal Devices trilogy is a prequel to the famous The Mortal Instruments series, but with a much darker, more sinister turn of events. Even imagining the stunning costumes of the era puts me in the mood for a reading session in bed under a lamp after dark.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
When there is snow everywhere in a magical world beyond a wardrobe, it is hard to think of hot summer days, lounging beside the rolling ocean waves. I understand there are plenty of seasons throughout The Chronicles of Narnia, however it has always been the land of the White Witch – the eternal winter – that sticks in my mind. Perhaps it is because that is the world we initially meet is one full of ice and snow. Again, I read this during the autumn/winter months of second year, and I also went to the cinema to watch the motion picture version which was released just before Christmas.
Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
The majority of this tale is set in the far north of the Six Duchies which equates to the coldest and most weathered parts of the land. Snow falls over every square metre, whilst it causes deadly accidents when it is disturbed on a mountain top. Wailing winds call to the characters and old trees claw the paths of the journey ahead. Even during the chapters where winter does not befall Fitz and his friends, the cold nights with the wolf, looking upon the clear stars are part of an adult’s bed time story, one with murder and revenge as well as a victory so gallant, it makes you want to read the story all over again. Read the full review here.
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
What is meant to be the beginning of the best summer yet for Britt leaves her out in the freezing cold, fighting for her life. I have read the book twice within 24 hours and both times, I’ve been hooked. Stranded on route to the mountains in the middle of nowhere, the snow and a murderous young man are on the loose, waiting for Britt to wear herself out. As she escapes from log cabin to the deadly woods, she has to rely on herself and her own intuition to keep herself from getting killed. Read the full review here.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Inspired by Russian fairy tales, this story is set in the early 14th or 15th century where the cold is long and the deep forests are vast. Children listen to the fairy tales thinking they are not real, but to one girl, Vasya, all are true, including the frost-demon who takes away young maidens. Magical beings and dark sorcery take place within a world where snowy whirlwinds can be a tormentor, or a saviour and there is only one victorious girl who is called a witch because nobody understands her power. Read the full review here.
These are some of the books from my personal collection which have elements of winter attached between the pages. Which sound like ones you would read during the colder nights? What books do you have on your bookshelf that remind you of these darker months? I’d love to hear your suggestions!
Love, Faye xo