Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Book Recommendations

This week, we’re talking about winter book recommendations. When you think about winter, what comes to mind? For me, it’s snow, comfy clothes, more snow, holiday fun, darkness, even more snow, silence, ski trips, deadly cold, and delicious food. Also, books (of course. I’m always thinking about books.) Winter is a perfect time to read something cozy or something dark. Here are 10 books that I’d recommend picking up this season.

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❄ Winter Book Recommendations ❆

πŸŽ„ Something Cozy ⛄

1. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Young Adult Romance Graphic Novel

Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.

Why I recommend it: The illustrations are so cozy! I love the snowy landscapes and the drawings of the characters hanging out on freezing winter days. Even though this book focuses on a coming-of-age romance, it's not all light and fluffy. It's a quiet, powerful story about making connections and questioning your beliefs. This is one of my favorite graphic novels ever. It perfectly blends the sweet with the thought-provoking.

2. My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins

Young Adult Short Story Collection

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year's there's something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Why I recommend it: If you're swept up in holiday chaos and don't have much time to read, this is the book for you. The stories are uplifting, funny, and quick to read. You can easily fly through a few of them on the car ride to your next holiday party. The best part of the collection is its diversity. You'll get to experience a wide variety of winter traditions.

3. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle 

Young Adult Humor Novella Collection

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks.

Why I recommend it: I rarely laugh out loud while reading, but this book made me laugh a lot. I had to laugh quietly because I read it on Christmas Eve night and didn't want to wake up the whole house. It's the kind of book you can finish in one night. The three interconnected novellas all take place during a blizzard in a small town and feature characters who find themselves in hilarious, over-the-top trouble. Reading this book is an entertaining way to spend a snowy Christmas.

4. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis 

Middlegrade Fantasy

Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia—a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Why I recommend it: Of course I had to include a classic on the list. This children's story is set in a land that's trapped in perpetual winter because of a witch's spell. It's a fast-paced adventure tale that would be fun to read aloud to the whole family.

5. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Middlegrade Fantasy

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal—including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want—but what Lyra doesn't know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.

Why I recommend it: His Dark Materials was one of my childhood favorite book series. The first book, The Golden Compass, is set in a far-north land that's ruled by polar bears, ghosts, and scientists with dangerous ambitions. It's one of the most imaginative books I've ever read. The world-building is stunning. How did the author come up with all these details? It's a story you will never forget.

🌘 Something Dark 🌨

6. The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Story Of A Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown

Adult History Nonfiction

In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

In this gripping narrative, Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most infamous events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah's journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.

Why I recommend it: You'll be grateful that you're sitting in a warm room while you read this book. This is the type of story you can't believe is true. It's too harrowing. Too wild. Honestly, it gave me nightmares. Who wants to starve to death in the freezing wilderness with 80+ random strangers? Nobody! There are a lot of books about the Donners, but I recommend this one because the author doesn't just retell the familiar story that most Americans already know. He puts the story in historical and scientific context to help the reader understand how and why everything went wrong for the Donner Party.

7. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Adult Biography Nonfiction

In April, 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, a party of moose hunters found his decomposed body. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Why I recommend it: It's part biography, part mystery, which should keep you entertained on long winter nights. The author digs through Chris McCandless's past and interviews his family to figure out why a young man would abandon his life and disappear into the Alaskan wilderness. In my opinion, McCandless was a reckless moron, but parts of his personality are eerily relatable for wilderness-loving loners like me. Sometimes it's tempting to run away from modern life.

8. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Adult Historical Fiction

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only TΓ³ti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Why I recommend it: It's set in Iceland and so atmospheric! Look at that wintery cover. The book is based on the true story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland. The plot is intense. Even though I knew the main character would eventually be executed, my heart was pounding while I read the final pages. To balance out the suspense of the plot, there are beautiful descriptions of Iceland's landscape and culture. This is a brutally gorgeous novel.

9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Adult True Crime Nonfiction

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. At the center of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human.

Why I recommend it: Another classic that I couldn't resist putting on the list. It's one of my all-time-favorite nonfiction books. I read it for the first time as a teenager, and it's still firmly lodged in my brain all these years later. The book is about a real murder and arrest that took place in the fall/winter of 1959. The author's writing style is riveting. He really gets into the heads of the people involved in the crime. It's a chilling reading experience.

10. Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Young Adult Historical Fiction

It's 1910. In a cabin north of the Arctic Circle, in a place murderously cold and desolate, Sig Andersson is alone. Except for the corpse of his father, frozen to death that morning when he fell through the ice on the lake.

The cabin is silent, so silent, and then there's a knock at the door. It's a stranger, and as his extraordinary story of gold dust and gold lust unwinds, Sig's thoughts turn more and more to his father's prized possession, a Colt revolver, hidden in the storeroom.

A revolver just waiting to be used . . . but should Sig use it?

Why I recommend it: It's a psychological thriller set in the Arctic Circle. That's not something you come across every day. This is a short, fast-paced book that I couldn't put down. The setting is cold, remote, and lonely. You get the sense that anything could go wrong at any time. It's also one of those books that's deceptively simple. On the surface, it's about a standoff between a fourteen-year-old boy and a cunning old man. Underneath, it's about gun violence. It's easy to pull the trigger, but could you live with the consequences?

What are your favorite winter books?


  1. I have had Krakauer on my list for so long. I need to read his stuff! My TTT: https://mwgerard.com/top-ten-tuesday-seasons-readings/

  2. Let it snow was definitely a nice and fun winter read. And I just added My True Love Gave To Me to my TBR-list, because that one sounds so good too!

  3. #4 - I read that and it's good for a cozy winter read but it's quite short though.

    #5 - I tried to read this but I just couldn't get into it. I suppose it's just not for me but I really like the setting and the idea.

    #8 - I found this extremely depressing but I didn't finish it so I can't say it's good or bad.

    I've never thought about settings when I choose a book to read so I can't recommend any but I think all books can be read during any season, any time of the year. But winter is definitely a good season to cozy up to your favorite books.

    Have a lovely day.

  4. Ohh, Revolver sounds really good and has a setting I like. May have to look into it. Have you watched the Let It Snow movie on Netflix? I've heard it's not true to the book at all. I read the book so long ago that maybe it won't matter when I get around to it. Wonderful winter list!

  5. This is a great list! I have a few of the same in my own TTT ;)


  6. Yeah, Blankets was amazing. Nice choice there.

    My TTT.

  7. Great list! I love Burial Rites and The Indifferent Stars Above sounds really interesting. I haven't read Let It Snow, but I'm very interested in checking out the Netflix adaptation!

  8. Winter is definitely a great time to read cozy AND dark reads, I do agree! I loved the My True Love Gave To Me anthology.


  9. So many good books on this list! I haven't read Blankets but it's been on my TBR forever! Maybe I should bump it up the list.

  10. Jack London's "To Build a Fire" (actually, it's a short story)

  11. I've read all except the collections and Revolver and Indifferent Stars. Another good one might be (I'm about to start reading it as soon as it gets here in the mail) The Winter Book by Tove Jansson. I'd also add Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places.

  12. I am intrigued by Blankets and definitely keeping that one on a TBR, because WI is not the easiest state to complete in my 50 States reading challenge.

  13. It's been a lot of years since I read Into the Wild but I did enjoy it. I been enjoying Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series over the past couple of years. I think that this series has a very wintry feel.

  14. This is a great list. If I made one, I know The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and His Dark Materials would make mine. I'd also add The Bear and the Nightingale.

  15. I'd love to see more books like My True Love Gave to Me.

  16. I have to admit I did not care for Into The Wild, but it is a good winter pick! I do love His Dark Materials and My True Love Gave To Me! So many lovely stories. I just watched Let It Snow on Netflix and loved it so now I want to pick up the book!

  17. My True Love Gave To me- love that one. I want more holiday anthologies!!

  18. Great list. I'm interested in Burial Rites and The Indifferent Stars Above. I also loved Revolver, which I first heard about on your blog, so good work.

  19. Burial Rites! That is one book I planned to get to and it just slipped down my TBR entirely.

  20. Narnia and His Dark Materials are definitely good winter books. I like that you made this list, since I recently read a winterbook during this period and I really liked it! I should do it more often.

  21. love these recs, they look perfect for winter. I want to try His Dark Materials soon.

  22. I completely agree with you on Into the Wild AJ! And the movie was great!

  23. I always associated The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe with winter vibes. How can you not?

  24. One of these days I will read His Dark materials. :)

  25. Ooo… Revolver is new to me; I'll be looking into that title.

  26. Oh, yes! The His Dark Materials series is perfect for winter reading. ⛄

  27. When I think winter reads, I definitely think holiday reads and also long epic books, for some reason!

  28. Into The Wild is not something I enjoyed but it certainly fits the winter setting! I do like a lot of winter setting horror books!

  29. Let It Snow is a fun one for this time of year and I need to give My True Love Gave To Me a read.