Escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with these cozy reads.
While the summertime is all about those beach reads, the winter is truly the best season to make time for books. Or make good use of all those extra dark hours by spending a bit of time with a book, and your blanket and escaping to another world. And nothing is better than reading the perfect novel while the snow is falling gently outside. Allowing the world outside to inspire your reading choices this season can help you feel more enlightened and connected to the season, instead of hibernating through it.
Here are 10 books that harness the power of winter, from romance to thrillers and even self-help, to get you through the season.
Top Picks for You
'One Day In December' By Josie Silver
One Day In December starts on a snowy day in December–how much more cozy winter feel can you get? After an “eye-catching” meet cute, Laurie spends a year searching for the man she saw at the bus stop. And then, just when she stops looking, fate finds him for her. You’ll be taken on a decade-long journey between Laurie and her bus-stop love with ups and downs that are almost too much to take. Equal parts drama, romance, heartbreak, and happiness, this is a book that you won’t want to put down–even to make hot chocolate.
'Winter Street ' by Elin Hilderbrand
The first in the Winter Street Series (Winter Stroll, Winter Storms, and Winter Solstice follow), this is the perfect winter beach read. Set in Nantucket and centered around the Quinn family, this is a page-turner from the beginning. An affair, MIA soldier, unplanned pregnancy, and the return of an ex–all with the backdrop of snow-laden Nantucket Island–Winter Street certainly has it all, including the need for lots of tissues. If you continue into the series, you won’t be disappointed in the development and fate of each of these characters. However, be warned–you will not want to leave your favorite reading chair all winter!
'The Secret Of Snow' by Viola Shipman
If you’re grieving, the holidays and subsequent winter months that follow can be tough. Just like those Hallmark movies some of us have become so fond of, The Secret Of Snow follows a meteorologist (named Sonny!) who fled her small-town life to sunny California–until she has to go back and face, well, everything, including the tragic loss of her sister. This book brings hope to those in a similar position that life will go on and does so in stunningly snowy metaphors. You’ll never look at winter weather the same way again after reading this one.
'The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis
Whether you’re looking for something to read to your kids or to snuggle up with a bit of nostalgia, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is a perfect choice. Narnia itself is a magical winter wonderland in which the four Pevensie children escape through an old wardrobe. After meeting a few enchanted friends, the children help to take on the White Witch and end up ruling over Narnia. But the lessons are deeper than the supernatural Narnia. The book also highlights the importance of courage, adventure, good, evil, atonement, and forgiveness–lessons that are well-reminded during the season of giving.
'Winter Counts' by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Picture this: The snow is falling, the air is crisp and the neighborhood is quiet. You have tea in your favorite mug and you’ve plopped in your reading spot for the night. It’s the perfect moment to pick up that winter thriller! And that is exactly what Winter Counts is. Set on a Native American Reservation in South Dakota, this novel follows vigilante Virgil Wounded Horse who lives a life torn between his Lakota duties and his grief for his mother and sister’s tragic deaths. When his nephew dies of a drug overdose, Virgil is determined to find the source–and make them pay. What follows is a twisted story of drugs, drama, self-discovery, and redemption. Labeled a crime thriller, the emotion from the beautifully painted characters leaps off the page. You may want to sleep with the lights on.
'Winter Garden' by Kristin Hannah
This season is centered around family and friends who are like family. So, what better than to pick up a book about two sisters living vastly different lives who come together for the sake of family? Cue Winter Garden. While it seems as if the family will never become whole again, the women’s father finds a way to bring them all back together again through the telling of an old Russian fairytale – a fairytale that was woven throughout their lives. Through this, family secrets come to life, and only then does healing take place.
'Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times' by Katherine May
While there are many people who love winter and all that comes with it, there are others that wish they could make it like a bear and sleep for a few months (raises hand!). Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, however, takes hibernating to the next level. A non-fiction book that follows the struggles of May herself, through her musings about the season, you will learn that winter can be any time of the year where you find yourself in times of trouble. Part self-help, May brilliantly examines literature past to bring the metamorphic power of rest and retreat in this New York Times bestseller.
'Peace Like A River ' by Leif Enger
This is a book in which the details are beautifully strung–but you must pay attention! Set in 1960s Minnesota, Peace Like A River follows a father of three and is told from Reuben Land’s perspective, an 11-year-old boy. If you need reminding that life is a gift this holiday season, Reuben makes it known from the very beginning of the novel and is a recurring theme throughout. Suspense and sadness step aside to generosity, love, and heroism. It’s a book that will make you feel grateful and one you will read over and over.
'Beartown' by Fredrik Backman
(Trigger warning: description includes sexual assault)
A winter book that has become a cult classic since its publication date, Beartown is a work of art in its story. A community’s ties to its hockey team; poverty; rape; politics and forgiveness make this story one of plot twists and turns. The writing style is beautifully done, breaking the literary “fourth wall” through the book’s narrator that offers insight into the characters. The shorter chapters make this 432-page read seem a lot quicker; the pace equals the thrill the book gives.
'Holidays On Ice' by David Sedaris
The holidays can be super stressful, so if you’re looking for an escape, this is it. Part laugh out loud, part shocking (OK, multi parts shocking!) and, of course, part beautiful emotion, Sedaris seems to know exactly what you need after putting out a spread and listening to your family argue (and laugh, too!) all night. The best part? Holidays on Ice is actually a collection of six short stories so you can pick one up after every major holiday event and get lost in the scene.