Embracing the Cold: Books to Keep You Warm

The festive season is upon us. I live in Canada so we did the Thanksgiving thing a while ago, which was just as well since I was sick last week. I’m still recovering and I would like to report that I devoured a bunch of books during my illness but I was way too tired to even read very much.

You know a book lover is really sick when…

Anyway, I hope those of you that did just celebrate Thanksgiving had a lovely holiday!

In Vancouver we’re in the middle of a cold spell. Cold for the West Coast anyway; it was -4 (Celsius) this morning. Earlier this year when everyone was suffering from super cold temperatures, I put together a list of books that I thought would make for good cold weather reading. While I try and sort myself out and put together some proper reviews for you, here’s a list of books you should read when the weather is cold to tide you over.

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett. I’m not quite finished with this one but having read it during a cold spell, I know it will make for excellent cold weather reading for everyone else. The book takes place mainly during the summer but the writing is such that you can almost feel the warm summer sunshine on your skin. No bad thing if you’re suffering from some Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder. There’s a nice little romance, Jane Austen and some bookish sleuthing. What’s not to love?

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon. Have you read this yet? This is possibly one of the most important books to read for human kind – I don’t think I’m overstating it. But it’s a big one. If you’re going to hang out inside avoiding the cold weather, you might as well make your way through a book like this. I promise you, it’s worth the time. I read it almost two years ago and it’s still one of the books I recommend all over the place; I’m hoping that sneaking it onto a bookish list will make someone else run out and read it.

Anything by Camilla Lackberg. I do think that cold weather is conducive to mystery reading and Camilla Lackberg is probably my favourite contemporary crime fiction writer. If you liked Stieg Larsson, you will love Camilla Lackberg. All of her stories take place in the small Swedish vacation town of Fjallbacka and they are all totally messed up as only the Swedes can be. Start with the Ice Princess and work your way through the eight translated books available. I just finished Buried Angels and it was fantastic.

Get a start on that series you’ve been meaning to read. I think days spent with Claire and Jamie Fraser wouldn’t be terrible and there are so many books in the Outlander series that you could binge on them all winter. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your time but I’d say this time of year would be a good time to go to Hogwarts for the first time. Maybe now that Mockingjay Part 1 is out, you think it’s time you finally read the books (it is). I know I’ve been told that I need to read the Pink Carnation books at least twice so that’s something I’m going to actually look into! (Those covers though.)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This was one of the most exquisite books I read this year and I can’t think of a better way to read about Marie-Laure and Werner than under a pile of blankets, near a fire, with a cup of tea close at hand. (Incidentally this is my favourite way to read anything.) Bonus points if you have an animal companion to keep you company as you go.

Read up on the royals. Royals make for great reading, fiction or non-fiction. Anne Easter Smith has a great set of books devoted to the York Women; Philippa Gregory has great love for the Tudors. Julia P. Gelardi has some incredible biographies covering royal women in Russia, England, Spain, Romania and Greece; Antonia Fraser put together the biography that served as the inspiration for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette; Amanda Foreman was responsible for the biography that saw Keira Knightley portray Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. Cold weather is a great excuse for getting to know any one of these extraordinary women.


Are you experiencing cold weather? What’s your go-to read for this time of year?

12 thoughts on “Embracing the Cold: Books to Keep You Warm

  1. I just read your review of Far From The Tree and I NEED it now. I’ve always been interested in family dynamics and the parent-child relationship so I think this one will be an insightful read. I absolutely adored All The Light We Cannot See even though I was initially hesitant. I definitely agree with you that it would be a great cold weather read. Bonus: It just came out in paperback, making it much lighter to carry around if need be!

    • I’m so glad to hear it! It’s such an incredible book and I think it’s so important to read for everyone. I think it’s in paperback as well which should make it easier to read. I saw that All the Light…is in paperback as well! Happy days!

  2. The only temp range I know in Celsius is around 24…when we’d vacation in Ontario is summer, I knew that 24C was warm! Lol! Btw, I plan on getting the Outlander series with my Christmas gift cards (which family buys me every year). But thinking I may have to save the series for summer…

  3. Good list! Can’t wait to hear more about the Charlie Lovett book – it sounds good! And, Far From the Tree is going on my list right now, so you will be happy about that. When I will get around to reading it is another story, but you never know… And, I have been wanting to read All the Light since it came out. My mom owns it now, so I will have to borrow it from her! 🙂

    • It was so good!

      I’m glad that Far From the Tree is on your list! I hope you get around to reading it soon. Once you start you will see why I think it’s such an important book to read.
      Always good when people around you get the books you’ve been meaning to read. Nice to be able to borrow!

  4. Love your list! I keep meaning to try Outlander, but something about the size of the series now pushes me back.

    Are the Pink covers keeping you from reading the series? They’re SO good. No heaving bosoms and what not.

    I’m now off to check out Camilla Lackberg.

    • Try just one Outlander over the winter! Just ONE.

      The Pink covers are keeping me from buying them for sure. I checked the library at lunch today and they don’t have the first one – do they need to be read in order?

      YES. Lackberg!

  5. You are incredible! A couple weeks back I wanted to read a well written biography about a woman from the past (fairly unrestricted as to who) but I was discouraged as I struggled to find a well reviewed one! Which one out of the list that you wrote do you especially like?

    • Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie was excellent. Any of the biographies by Julia P. Gelardi (they cover 4-5 in each book). The Marie Antoinette one was really good and Georgiana was really a very interesting, modern woman, totally ahead of her time. I think my favourite of the royal women bios has to be Born to Rule by Julia P. Gelardi.
      If you want non-royals, there’s a bio of LM Montgomery by Mary Henley Rubio that’s excellent, J. Randy Tarraborreli wrote exquisite bios about Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor and anything about Coco Chanel is always a good read.

      I really need to do a post about these kinds of books soon!

  6. Pingback: For the Jane Austen Lover on Your List | The Paperback Princess

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