As some of you might already know, winter is my absolutely favourite season of the year. With Christmas being less than 10 days away and the weather here in Greece finally starting to feel like winter, what better opportunity to cosy up with a blanket, a hot beverage of your liking and a great wintry book.
Therefore, here I come with a list of books that I plan to read during December (and perhaps January). Some of them I’ve already read in the two weeks of December that have gone past and some of them I haven’t got the chance to savour just yet.
1. ‘The Snow Child’ by Eowyn Ivey
‘Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place, things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.’
2. ‘Wintersmith’ by Terry Pratchett
‘Tiffany Aching put one foot wrong, made just one little mistake …
And now the spirit of winter is in love with her. He gives her roses and icebergs and showers her with snowflakes, which is tough when you’re thirteen, but also just a little bit … cool.
If Tiffany doesn’t work out how to deal with him, there will never be another springtime …
Crackling with energy and humour, Wintersmith is the third title in a sequence about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men – the Nac Mac Feegles who are determined to help Tiffany, whether she wants it or not.‘
3. ‘A Winter Book’ by Tove Jansson
‘Following the widely acclaimed and bestselling The Summer Book, here is a Winter Book collection of some of Tove Jansson’s best loved and most famous stories. Drawn from youth and older age, and spanning most of the twentieth century, this newly translated selection provides a thrilling showcase of the great Finnish writer’s prose, scattered with insights and home truths. It has been selected and is introduced by Ali Smith, and there are afterwords by Philip Pullman, Esther Freud and Frank Cottrell Boyce.
The Winter Book features thirteen stories from Tove Jansson’s first book for adults, The Sculptor’s Daughter (1968) along with seven of her most cherished later stories (from 1971 to 1996), translated into English and published here for the first time.‘
4. ‘The Snow Sister’ by Emma Carroll
‘Ever since her sister, Agnes, died, Pearl has a tradition every time it snows. She makes a person out of snow. A snow sister. It makes Christmas feel a little less lonely.
On Christmas Eve, her father receives a letter about a long-lost relative’s will. Is their luck about to change? In anticipation of a better Christmas, Pearl goes to beg credit at Mr Noble’s grocery to get ingredients for a Christmas pudding. But she is refused, and chased down the street where she is hit by a hansom cab. The snow is falling so hard that they can’t take her home. She’ll have to stay at Flintfield Manor overnight, in a haunted room… Will Pearl make it home for Christmas?
This gorgeously evocative Victorian Christmas story is the perfect stocking filler for girls ages 9-12.‘
5. ‘Hogafather’ by Terry Pratchett
‘It’s the night before Hogswatch. And it’s too quiet.
Where is the big jolly fat man? There are those who believe and those who don’t, but either way it’s not right to find Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho. Superstition makes things work in Discworld, and undermining it can have Consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. Susan the gothic governess has got to sort everything out by morning, otherwise there won’t be a morning. Ever again…‘
6. ‘The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding’ by Agatha Christie
‘Agatha Christie’s seasonal Poirot and Marple short story collection, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (a.k.a The Theft of the Royal Ruby)
The Mystery of the Spanish Chest
The Under Dog
Four and Twenty Blackbirds
7. ‘Winter Siege’ by Ariana Franklin & Samantha Norman
‘A powerful historical novel by the late Ariana Franklin and her daughter Samantha Norman, The Siege Winter is a tour de force mystery and murder, adventure and intrigue, a battle for a crown, told by two courageous young women whose fates are intertwined in twelfth century England’s devastating civil war.
1141. England is engulfed in war as King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, vie for the crown. In this dangerous world, not even Emma, an eleven-year-old peasant, is safe. A depraved monk obsessed with redheads kidnaps the ginger-haired girl from her village and leaves her for dead. When an archer for hire named Gwyl finds her, she has no memory of her previous life. Unable to abandon her, Gwyl takes the girl with him, dressing her as a boy, giving her a new name—Penda—and teaching her to use a bow. But Gwyn knows that the man who hurt Penda roams free, and that a scrap of evidence she possesses could be very valuable.
Gwyl and Penda make their way to Kenilworth, a small but strategically important fortress that belongs to fifteen-year-old Maud. Newly wedded to a boorish and much older husband after her father’s death, the fierce and determined young chatelaine tempts fate and Stephen’s murderous wrath when she gives shelter to the empress.
Aided by a garrison of mercenaries, including Gwyl and his odd red-headed apprentice, Maud will stave off Stephen’s siege for a long, brutal winter that will bring a host of visitors to Kenilworth—kings, soldiers . . . and a sinister monk with deadly business to finish.’
8. ‘Letters From Father Christmas’ by J.R.R. Tolkien
‘Every December J.R.R. Tolkien’s children would receive letters from Father Christmas. From the first note to his eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant correspondence to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.
This revised edition of Tolkien’s famous illustrated letters from Father Christmas to his children includes a number of pictures and letters that have not been seen in print before.‘
9. ‘Winter’s Tales’ by Isak Dinesen
‘In Isak Dinesen’s universe, the magical enchantment of the fairy tale and the moral resonance of myth coexist with an unflinching grasp of the most obscure human strengths and weaknesses. A despairing author abandons his wife, but in the course of a long night’s wandering, he learns love’s true value and returns to her, only to find her a different woman than the one he left. A landowner, seeking to prove a principle, inadvertently exposes the ferocity of mother love. A wealthy young traveler melts the hauteur of a lovely woman by masquerading as her aged and loyal servant.
Shimmering and haunting, Dinesen’s Winter’s Tales transport us, through their author’s deft guidance of our desire to imagine, to the mysterious place where all stories are born.‘
Have you read any of these books? What does your winter reading list consist of?
3 thoughts on “Winter Reads”
I read Letters from Father Christmas to my children long before they’d heard of The Lord of the Rings – absolutely delightful. And I too love winter (or certain aspects of it, at least, not so much the dark) and winter books.
That sounds absolutely lovely! I’m sure your children must have been mesmerised by this book – just flipping through the pages made me long to have a father as creative as Tolkien.
What are your favourite winter books? 🙂
I’m picturing you reading them with a hot chocolate and snuggled up with a hot water bottle 🙂 I’m more Autumn than Winter though I did write a poem about the four seasons a while back which affectionately described them all.