Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Winter Reading Ideas

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Today, we're talking about 10 books I want to read this winter. I tried to choose a mix of books with winter vibes and books that just sound interesting.

⛄  Winter Book Recommendations  ⛄

Dead Mountain: the untold true story of the dyatlov pass incident by donnie eichar

Adult History Nonfiction

In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened. This gripping work of literary nonfiction delves into the mystery through unprecedented access to the hikers' own journals and photographs, rarely seen government records, dozens of interviews, and the author's retracing of the hikers' fateful journey in the Russian winter.

Why I'm excited to read it: I'm pretty sure I've seen every TV show about the Dyatlov Pass incident. It's a weird and fascinating historical mystery that may never be solved. There are so many things in the wilderness that can kill a person. I'm interested to see if this book has any new insights.

Buy it on Amazon

Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Adult Historical Horror


In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father.

When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened.

Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen—and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past.


Why I’m excited to read it: Goodreads calls it “a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl's longing to fly free.” Seems promising. If a book contains a haunted manor house in the wilderness, I want to read it.


Buy it on Amazon

The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Adult Historical Fiction

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem only a distant echo. An only child, he lives alone with Emilie, the mother he adores but who treats him with bitter severity. He begins an intense friendship with a Jewish boy his age, talented and mercurial Anton Zweibel, a budding concert pianist. The novel follows Gustav’s family, tracing the roots of his mother’s anti-Semitism and its impact on her son and his beloved friend.


Why I’m excited to read it: I feel like I saw this book on every award longlist back in 2017. All the historical fiction fans were reading it. Well, all of them except me. I couldn’t find a cheap used copy, but I’ve got one now! Rose Tremain has written a ton of books, so if I enjoy this one, I’ll have her whole backlist to read.


Buy it on Amazon


Adult Literary Novella

A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it’s too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As he talks about this plucky little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future.

Now, on a cold winter’s night, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer.

Why I'm excited to read it: I will read anything Fredrik Backman writes. He's one of my favorite authors. His books are hilarious. And sad. But mostly hilarious. He's excellent at writing quirky characters who you'll love forever.

Buy it on Amazon

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Young Adult Historical Fantasy

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

Why I'm excited to read it: Ever since I read The Long Walk as a teenager, I've been obsessed with alternate history. If a book blends speculative elements with real-life events, I need to read it. Romanov has gotten great reviews from my bookish friends. Also, look at the cover! It's so swirly!

Buy it on Amazon


Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:

Joseph almost killed a teacher.

He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.

He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl.

Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.

But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.

Why I'm excited to read it: People have been recommending this book to me for years. My teacher friends love it. The writers from my graduate school rave about it. The library waitlist is so long I could never get a copy. Well, now I have one! It's time to find out if it's worth the hype.

Buy it on Amazon


Young Adult Dystopia

Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave . . .

The Council's rules are strict, but they're for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger on the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year.

But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council's suffocating embrace, especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage.

Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall . . .

Why I'm excited to read it: "Excited" is the wrong word. "Cautiously optimistic" might be better. The plot of this book sounds exactly like a dozen other books I've read. That's because I can't pass up the "small town X creepy woods" combination. Cross your fingers that it's good.

Buy it on Amazon


Adult Historical Horror

The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.

When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape.

Why I'm excited to read it: The Terror is a good name for this book because IT'S 800 PAGES! When am I going to have time to read that? This is another alternate history book, and it's quickly becoming a classic. It was published 10+ years ago, but horror lovers are still talking about it. It won a ton of awards. The synopsis is giving me vibes of Alma Katsu's The Hunger. Monsters and starving people in cold places. I'm ready for it.

Buy it on Amazon


Adult Literary Novella

An exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

Why I'm excited to read it: This is another Backman book, so can I just say "Ditto"? I want to read this book for all the same reasons that I want to read the other Backman book on this list. It's probably awesome.

Buy it on Amazon


Adult Memoir

You've likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. Perhaps you've seen their pickets on the news, the members holding signs with messages that are too offensive to copy here, protesting at events such as the funerals of soldiers, the 9-year old victim of a Tucson shooting, and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. The WBC is fervently anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and anti- practically everything and everyone. And they aren't going anywhere: in March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WBC's right to picket funerals.

Since no organized religion will claim affiliation with the WBC, it's perhaps more accurate to think of them as a cult. Lauren Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of 15, and then spat back out again seven years later.

Lauren spent her early years enjoying a normal life with her family in Florida. But when her formerly liberal and secular father set out to produce a documentary about the WBC, his detached interest gradually evolved into fascination, and he moved the entire family to Kansas to join the church and live on their compound. Over the next seven years, Lauren fully assimilated their extreme beliefs, and became a member of the church and an active and vocal picketer. But as she matured and began to challenge some of the church's tenets, she was unceremoniously cast out from the church and permanently cut off from her family and from everyone else she knew and loved.

Banished is the story of Lauren's fight to find herself amidst dramatic changes in a world of extremists and a life in exile.

Why I'm excited to read it: I'm interested in this book for the exact reason the synopsis says. I've seen Westboro Baptist Church on TV and thought, Who are these people? Why does this exist? Maybe the author knows the answer to that question.

Buy it on Amazon

What are you reading this winter?


  1. I've yet to read anything by Backman, but The Deal of a Lifetime sounds like an absolute must-read.

  2. Dead Mountain was pretty terrifying!

  3. Love your list. It is so eclectic. I would like to try Wakenhyrst and And Every Morning The Way Home Get Longer and Longer. Thanks for sharing. Hope you get to read all of them.


  4. Great list. Rose Tremain is excellent, I remember liking that book a lot. I read another book about WBC, Unfollow, which was fascinating.

  5. I need to read that Backman book, too. I hope you love these.

  6. Yes, The Horror is long. But it's worth every single page. I loved it.

    Hope you enjoy it too.

    My TTT: https://nashvillebookworm.wordpress.com/2022/12/13/top-ten-tuesday-winter-tbr-3/

  7. I haven't read Dan Simmons in decades, but I used to love his stuff!

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you!

  8. The Backman shorts were both wonderful. The Every Morning one had me crying, and for such a short story, Deal of a Lifetime packed a punch. I hope you enjoy all these books

  9. I haven't read any Fredrik Backman yet, but they always sound so good and are so well loved that I need to give them a try. Hope you'll enjoy all of these!

  10. My goodness, what a great variety! I've read The Terror and it's really good. It's one of my son's fave books of all times which is what got me to tackle it. It's very immersive (and COLD!). Hope you enjoy. I've also read the Backman Way Gets Longer - again, so good. Like you, I'll read anything he writes, so the other one you have is new to me and now on my list. As is Wakenhyrst. thanks for the visit.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  11. I started watching The Terror miniseries but I don't think I finished it. It was good though. I love that premise. What is it about polar horror?

  12. DEAD MOUNTAIN definitely sounds intriguing! I definitely need to check it out. I hope you enjoy all these!

    Happy TTT!

  13. Wakenhyrst does sound really good. I love a good gothic thriller. I have a copy of Romanov on my TBR shelf. I really should make time to read it. The Terror's been on my TBR shelf forever. Another one I need to read! I haven't read either of the Backman books on your list, but I feel like you can't really go wrong with his books. I have enjoyed what I have read by him. I hope you enjoy all of these!

  14. Nice list. I love the way you added your thoughts on why you want to read each book. And I will read anything by Fredrick Backman too.

  15. Great list! I watched a documentary on WBC where the reporter was granted access inside and got to know a lot of the members. I kept waiting to see what the whole process was with the picketing funerals and what not but it never did. I mean obviously it's madness but with most things I can see what the thought process of the people involved in even if it's incredibly illogical and blatantly wrong but I never could with them. The book sounds fascinating.

  16. Thanks for the recs. I love Backman too and both books you mentioned are new to me so they're definitely going on my TBR. :)

  17. I love all things Romanov! The one you listed looks unique. Great list :)

  18. I've had Romanov on my maybe list for a long time, maybe you will finally convince me to read it if you review it lol. And Winterkill has a *killer* cover :-P

  19. Oh, wow, a new Frederik Bachman book! Can't wait to hear what you think.

  20. The Terror TV series was very entertaining (we enjoyed it) -- like the book I'm sure. I vote for The Terror and Dead Mountain, which I think you mentioned before. It seems eerie.

  21. Orbiting Jupiter" is a beautiful but sad story. Everything I've read by Gary Schmidt has been good. I highly recommend his book, "Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy." "Dead Mountain sounds interesting. Have you read Jon Krauker's "Into Thin Air"?