It is officially winter so now it is time to fire up the stove, grab that hot chocolate (spiked or unspiked), climb under the covers, and settle in for a long winter’s night with a good book. Wintertime is a strange time to pick books for. We aren’t really seasonal book readers, we are mood readers. So we tend to go for more of the atmospheric books, the longer books we always promise we will get to, or just a nice feel good story to round out the rest of the year. So without further ado, here are a few books Laura and Hannah recommend for a nice cozy night in.
Bear Town by Fredrik Backman (Laura and Hannah)
This is the story of a small town that puts all of their faith into their hockey team and how the whole town is affected when a terrible act occurs. Backman makes you feel like you’re in Beartown with the characters, practicing hockey, watching the games, and moving through the cold, snowy town. Simply put, this book is amazing and think it is a perfect winter read. The audiobook is also a great way to read it if you feel like doing that near a fire!
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Hannah)
Hannah loves this book and thinks you should read it at any time. But it is a stunning historical fiction book that tells the story of one family as they move from Japan-occupied Korea to Japan and beyond. We look in the interior lives of a father, his daughter as she becomes a mother, and then we follow her sons and their children, and the suffering they go through by learning about their family’s history and many issues. It questions what a good person really means and how you can live a life you’re proud of. Asking the big questions during the cold nights through beautiful storytelling. My roommate has listened on audiobook and told me it is just as touching.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Hannah)
A book Laura would never read, but Hannah constantly says she loves and has definitely been on multiple posts, so if you haven’t gotten this, why not? This book is about a young man growing up and learning to name the wind. We are told it through the lens of him as an adult. It plays with the unreliable narrator, it has a school of learning various magic and other skills, and it is a chunky book that you can really sink your teeth into during the long winter nights.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (Laura)
The Great Alone is primarily set in Alaska and follows a family’s journey north to start a new life and the struggles they encounter in the wild and as a family. I think that Kristin Hannah writes books that are great for rainy/snowy days and this one is no exception. It’s so atmospheric and I love the research that Hannah puts into her writing.
**Hannah’s edit: Hannah also read this book. Laura is right, it’s a good adventure in Alaska.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Laura)
I know that it’s controversial, but Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books. I just try to pretend that there’s definitely no relation between Heathcliff and Catherine, and that they aren’t extremely toxic 99% of the time. But the thing is, that’s kind of what I love about this book: everything and everyone is complicated. It’s a dark romance where nothing really goes “right” and it’s set in one of the most haunting and beautiful places: the Yorkshire moors. So grab yourself some hot cocoa or tea and a blanket, and get ready for a lot of drama and some of the most beautiful writing.
A Darker Shade of Magic (Hannah)
I honestly really enjoy A Darker Shade of Magic. It is about parallel worlds where you can be in Red London, Grey London, or White London. We follow an Antari, who can travel between the worlds, and almost all of them provide a wintery, dark feel. Add on weird family dynamics, a strong woman, and mystery, and you have a great time. Enjoy this trilogy during your dark nights for a little lighter fantasy.
Winter Counts (Hannah)
This book is so good! I loved reading it. The author introduces you to reservation life in such a realistic way. We learn about food issues and other dynamics that go on in every day life. Added to the mystery of what is going on with the teenagers in the town and how the main character tries to fix it, and the atmosphere and cold makes this book a great wintery read.
The Night Circus (Laura and Hannah)
We both fell in love with this book. It was so easy to read and it is immersive and you can completely absorb the magic and the complicated world of the characters. We recommend it year round, but think that there’s something to reading it and picturing the circus coming to town, without warning, as the snow falls.
The Six of Crows (Hannah)
If you haven’t read this yet, why not? The Netflix series Shadow & Bone has this book’s characters introduced, and this book is such a fun romp. I love that we are looking at a cast of misfits trying to do a heist! I love heists! Also the neurodivergent representation, the queer love stories, and everything in between! Read these books because they are fun to read!
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Laura)
Someone read this book then let me know, so I can complain about the ending more! Seriously, this is a fun book despite the ending, and I love the wintry scenes surrounding the train and the tension aboard the Orient Express.