Winter has hit in earnest already this year and the cold and snow outside always makes me very glad to be in my warm house, drinking tea or coffee and lazing back with a great book. The following titles are recent favorite reads involving snow and ice.
The Abominable by Dan Simmons – I confess I didn’t like this nearly so much as Simmons’ 2007 novel about Arctic exploration, The Terror, but it’s still a gripping and very cold read about disaster on Mount Everest in 1924. Stick with it through the very detailed first 150 pages or so of mountain climbing technique, and once the story arrives at Everest, things really take off. Like many of Simmons’ books, it is hard to categorize, but includes elements of historical fiction, adventure, horror and mystery. I’m a lover of books about Mount Everest in general, mostly because I would never ever consider going myself.
The Rebeckah Martinsson mystery series by Asa Larsson – I’ve been on a Scandinavian mystery kick for several months and this series just might be my favorite. Atmospheric, haunting, set in the rural far north of Sweden, part police procedural, part lawyer-turned-detective, and all of them have blown me away. Not all of the books take place in winter, but they still feel cold somehow even when the main character is lying on the grass and soaking in the sun. I read all four on my Kindle by checking out the Library’s ebook copies. You will want to start with the first book in the series: Sun Storm.
Longbourn by Jo Baker – This outstanding novel is written from the point of view of the servants in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. It is full of all the gritty details Austen skims over, so you will never think of the Bennets the same way again. That chapter where the fancy shoe ribbons for the ball were “got by proxy?” The proxy is housemaid Sarah, who spends an entire grueling day journeying in the cold rain and mud to town to purchase the ribbons. There are buried secrets, a makeshift family headed by hardworking and strict housekeeper Mrs. Hill, and a mysterious young man who joins the staff and changes everything. The book doesn’t take place only in winter, but when I think of the story, I always remember Sarah doing laundry half the day in the frozen courtyard with cracked and bleeding hands.
And if you haven’t already, you’ll want to sign up for our winter adult reading program, Spilled Ink. It’s so simple: sign up, read 10 books by the end of February, win prizes!