[Book Recs] Cozy Winter Reads

‘Tis the season to curl up with a good book and a cozy drink. A couple of years ago I shared some of my favorite winter-ish reads, but you can never have too many options to fill out your TBR — particularly as the nights get longer and colder.

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

Even as the weather keeps me inside and the world goes quiet, a part of me wants to be outside with nature. But I like the cold much more in theory than in reality, so Mary Oliver’s poems might be the next best option to enjoy the joys of a canine companion or the stillness of dawn.

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Chupeco draws on a wide range of fairy tales and folklore in this series, a key one being the Snow Queen: a perfect winter read for those in search of a literary chill, but also for those seeking escapism in a fantasy adventure with a diverse found family of some of the most realistically-written teenagers I’ve ever encountered.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

“Space is cold, Ani.” (And even if space isn’t really objectively cold, I still think of it as cold.) In any case, that makes this “decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery” a fantastic read to curl up with. The worldbuilding is incredible, the storytelling immersive, the narrative transcendental.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Ice hockey may just be the winter sport, and I especially love this novel because it beautifully balances the sports story with the character arcs and the atmospheric small-town setting. It’s complex, nuanced, ambiguous in ways that leave space for the reader’s interpretations.

 

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

book cover of In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is one of my favorite books for any time of the year, with its trope-skewering narrative and unapologetically queer characters. It’s epic in both scope (spanning four years) and setting (a fantastical magic world coexisting with our mundane own), sociopolitically savvy without being preachy, wholesome without being sappy. It’s an adventure to remember for sure.

Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo

If heartbreak of any kind has ever led you to fantasize about running away — say, to Antarctica — you might just enjoy living vicariously through Harper. Especially if you know the pain of loving a discipline or an art (in Harper’s case, ballet) that doesn’t love you back. There’s still hope and light in the world, though; we could all use some of that in the dark nights of winter.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

My previous winter reads post featured The Night Circus; this one features The Starless Sea, which is weird and wonderful in its own way. It’s certainly not for everyone, with its unique chronology and its mix of whimsy and reality, but if it’s a good match? It’s magic.

Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente

I’m actually currently rereading this series since I got myself the paperback boxed set recently, and it’s been lovely. There’s some comforting similarities to childhood favorites such as Alice in WonderlandThe Phantom Tollbooth, Roald Dahl, and Lemony Snicket — but also plenty of unique elements to love. Plus, the illustrations add to the charm.

Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers

Sci-fi is most engaging to me when it’s about the people (human and non-human alike) and the story rather than the science. The Wayfarers books are absolutely fantastic in that regard. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of worldbuilding and even some space politics if that’s your thing; however, it’s got so much heart. 

  • Do you go for seasonal reads, or is your TBR more evergreen?
  • If you’re a seasonal reader, what are your favorite winter reads?

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