By: Julia Sikorski Roehsner
What first comes to mind when you think of winter? The holidays, most likely, along with snow, hot drinks, soft blankets, freshly baked goods, and seasonal flora.
Perhaps, too, you might be reminded of books. Classics, such as ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ‘Little Women,’ ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,’ or even ‘The Snowy Day.’ When I think of winter, I conjure the image of curling up by a crackling fireplace and diving into a good book.
But what to read once you’ve run through the tried-and-trues? It can be a hard decision in today’s overwhelming literary industry. Hence, my compiled list of titles below. Perhaps you’ll find a new prospect for your next snowy day.
1. ‘Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances’ by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
‘Let It Snow’ is a novel by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle written in three separate parts, each narrated by a different character. Set during a surprise blizzard on Christmas Eve, the trifecta takes place within one small town.
The first story, “The Jubilee Express,” is told by the comical Jubilee Dougal, who finds herself stuck on a snowbound train mid-journey to her grandparents’ house. Unwilling to spend the evening idle, she embarks on a trek in search of help that turns into a walk home with a stranger.
In the story that follows, “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle,” we are introduced to Tobin. Tobin expected to spend his Christmas Eve at home with his two friends, the Duke and JP. However, a call to travel to the town’s Waffle House propels him out the door and into the cold. It’s a twist of festive fate when his car breaks down.
‘Let It Snow’ ends with “The Patron Saint of Pigs,” narrated by Addie, who is struggling through a recent separation with her boyfriend. In between heartache and a terribly early work shift, Addie discovers herself responsible for the retrieval of her friend’s Christmas gift—a teacup piglet.
A lighthearted and cheery holiday read, I give ‘Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances’ four out of five stars.
2. ‘Beartown’ by Fredrik Backman
Fredrick Backman’s ‘Beartown’ is the first in a series of three books telling the story of a wilderness town, still standing in the ever-pressing forest due to one thing—hockey. It’s the love and talent for the sport that keeps Beartown going.
The community is full of expectations, pressure, and dreams, all of which rest heavily on the junior hockey team and the upcoming national semifinals. Hockey is what the town knows, and winning is what the players know.
Sometimes, it seems like those are the only things they know.
‘Beartown’ is not a holiday-centered book—though it carries a winter feel—but nor is it a sports book by any means. Backman weaves together a web of characters, each of them distinct and brimming with depth. I give it four and a half out of five stars.
3. ‘Trapped’ by Michael Northrop
‘Trapped,’ written by Michael Northrop, begins innocently enough, with fresh snowfall and after school shenanigans. It takes a turn once protagonist Scotty and his classmates realize that they won’t be returning home at the end of the day.
As suggested by the title, they’re trapped. For how long, no one knows.
The press of time and panic is poignant in ‘Trapped,’ and Northrop easily places the reader within the emotions of the story’s characters. I give it four out of five stars.
4. ‘Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow’ by Jessica Day George
Based on the fairytale ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon,’ Jessica Day George’s ‘Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow’ tells the story of the unnamed Lass. She stands separate from the rest of her family, which is struggling to survive in the cold north.
Thus, it seems almost natural for her to accept an unnatural offer from an isbjørn bear—live with the isbjørn in its faraway palace for just one year, and her family will be provided with riches beyond imagination.
But is the trade-off worth it?
George puts a wonderful creative spin on the classic tale; I give ‘Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow’ four out of five stars.