Tuesday, March 03, 2020 Reviewed by Nicole

Reading is pretty great any time of year, but there’s something special about reading while getting curled up under a blanket with a mug of something warm nearby as the snow falls on the other side of the window.  You could read anything, of course; some feel like reading about someplace warm to escape the nasty weather while others seek out a shiver-inducing mystery, but it can also be gratifying to read about characters experiencing the cold right along with you.  Here are 15 of my favorite books set in snowy regions and seasons that you can read by the fireplace:

1. The Bear and the Nightingale (or Winternight Trilogy) by Katherine Arden

The Winternight Trilogy is my all-time favorite series to read in winter. The first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, reads like a classic fairytale and holds you in rapt attention like the Petrovich children listening to Dunya tell the tale of Morozko, the Lord of Frost; you sit among them by the great big oven as the wind howls and the snow falls heavy outside.  The following two books, The Girl in the Tower and The Winter Witch, while focusing more on Vasilisa as a character, continue that storytelling tradition albeit with more subtlety than the first.




2. Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

I really enjoyed this LGBTQ+ retelling of The Nutcracker from Drosselmeier’s perspective.  I went into this book for the first time expecting more fairytale aspects than there were, but I found Drosselmeier’s backstory to be wonderfully compelling despite that.  He was a very mysterious character to me growing up and it was great to see someone give him some depth and invent some history to the man.  While the snow isn’t as prevalent in this tale, the crux of the tale takes place in rural Germany during the winter season.




3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods chronicles the misadventure of Shadow Moon as he journeys across America with Mr. Wednesday, otherwise known as Odin, the Allfather of Nordic Myth and Legend, to seek out other gods that were brought across the ocean in the days of old and wage war against the new gods of the digital age.  Their story starts out in Midwest America during the winter months and there is a particularly snowy scene that always makes me happy to be indoors...





4. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell primarily writes Young Adult Fiction, but this dip into Adult Fiction has become one of my favorite winter reads.  Our protagonist, Georgie McCool, is very passionate about her work as a TV writer and when an opportunity comes along to take her work to a new level, Georgie can’t pass it up.  However, taking this opportunity will mean missing the holiday trip she had planned with her husband and daughters.  At the risk of ruining her marriage, Georgie stays while Neal takes the girls on their trip.  This is a great story about balancing work and relationships and the scene at the end is super adorable and romantic and snowy.




5. 2a.m at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helen Bertino

Set on the snowy streets of Philadelphia, this novel centers around the impending closure of a beloved jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas.  I love the imagery of the normally busy streets being isolated and lone travellers trekking through the falling snow.  Isolation is a common feeling during winter and I appreciate that all of the characters in this story braved the snowy weather and came together to save a place that was important to them.





If my top five aren’t in your wheelhouse, here are 10 more tales of the snow and cold to try!

  1. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann and/or The Tale of the Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas
  2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  3. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  4. Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R. R. Martin
  5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  6. Where’d You Go Bernadette By Marie Semple
  7. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  8. Hogfather or Wintersmith by Terry Pratchet
  9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  10. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


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