Cold Weather Reads

Cold weather reads2I like to read all year round, but there’s nothing like cold weather to make you want to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book! I thought it might be fun to share a few of my favorite books, from a few (random) categories. 🙂

1. Foodie Non Fiction. You can usually find me reading novels but every now and again I try to spice in a little non fiction. I’ve noticed over the years that when I do it’s usually food related. Go figure. I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She is one of my favorite novelist. Her family embarked on a year long experiment of eating only locally grown/raised foods. I also loved 52 Loaves by William Alexander. He bakes a loaf of bread every week for a year in pursuit of the perfect bread. He some how manages to make the science and history behind bread baking super exciting.

2. Quiet, Beautiful Novels. To me, these are the kinds of books that come to mind when someone uses the term literature. Also, interestingly enough, both of these books have been made into films. So you know they are good. (Winky face.) Never Let Me Go is truly one of my all time favorite books. I adore Kazuo Ishiguro’s story telling skills. Love this haunting portrait of growing up. So fascinating. I also loved Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down.

3. Science Fiction Awesomeness. I love me some science fiction. One of my favorites from the past few years was Lucy by Laurence Gonzales. It is rare when the “monster” from a science fiction story is also the narrator. It’s always fun as a reader to find yourself rooting for the other team, as it were. 🙂 For a more haunting bit of sci fi I highly recommend The Passage by Justin Cronin. It’s a long read (and the first book in a series) but totally worth it. It’s kind of like a more epic version of The Walking Dead. Kind of.

4. Reads to Share with Young Friends. Or not. I first got into reading because of Harry Potter (who didn’t?) and I have never stopped enjoying young adult fiction since. A great book to breeze through on your own or share with a young reader kiddo is The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Kids who save the world. Yes, please! And this story is so fun and imaginative. As it should be.

5. On my Radar. I keep hearing about Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. So, it must be destined. I love love hearing a good book recommendation. And I’d love to hear yours. Do you have any cold weather reads to add to the “On my Radar” category? Don’t be shy now. xo. Emma

  • I ADORED The Witch of Blackbird pond… for once, a story ends as it should without switching things around. It really had that feel-good kind of ending. I also like the Anne of Green Gables series… those are good winter reads in my opinion. Nancy Drew (original, OF COURSE!) is always great, any time of year! Ahhhhh… it makes me want to go read… 🙂

  • “A Great and Terrible Beauty” by Libba Bray (The first book in a trilogy). It’s a curl up on the cover/fantasy/adventure book. It is absolutely fantastic!

  • you should read The Elegance of the Hedgehog… it is my favorite cold weather book of all time <3

  • I’m obsessed with memoirs of a geisha! I even just did a book report on it for one of my classes. I would suggest it to anyone! I’m also a huge fan of Jane Austin… I know we all studied pride and prejudice in school and some might have been turned off by it, but there’s a reason why it’s a classic piece of literature- and my favorite piece by her! Others- Water for elephants and the Wind up bird chronicle… Happy reading!

  • One of my favorite reads ever, White Oleander by Janet Fitch. The storyline is riveting but what I love most is the theme of art throughout the book. Reading this novel is like strolling through a late night cocktail party at a museum. Sophisticated and emotional..self reflective.

  • “The sense of an ending” by Julian Barnes, now this being a book I would have NEVER picked up normally, I was turned on to it by a review Tobi Vail did on her Bumpidee Reader blog and decided to give it a try, It is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  • @Bethany woah, I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond years ago and had forgotten all about it! Great book!

    Emma, I second @Morgan’s recommendation of the Wind Up Bird by Haruki Murakami. Haunting and beautiful.

    Another recent fave: Cutting for Stone.

  • I loved Never Let Me Go and Memoirs of a Geisha, so I’m definitely checking out your recommendations in the science fiction awesomeness category! They both sound really interesting and I’m adding them to my Goodreads to-read list right now! Thanks!

  • Two that I can’t get enough of are Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series and Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series. (Her Ephemera books are equally wonderful) Both have complex plots, strong female characters, and beautiful world building. I can read them over and over… and do more often than I should… wait, what am I saying. You can never read a book too much. 🙂

  • i just finished reading ‘where’d you go bernadette’. i definitely recommend it; it’s a quirky, clever read + i found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. also, anything from truman capote + i’m eyeing up linda mccartney’s ‘life in photographs’.

  • Sadly the only one of these I’ve read is Memoirs of a Geisha – but it is great. And I agree with the commenter above, White Oleander is a beautiful book. I can re-read this one over and over.

    I’ve been meaning to check out the Benedict Society book, they talked about it one day on NPR and it sounded like a fun one!

  • Another made-to-a-movie book that I love enough to read over and over again is Time Traveler’s Wife. (DON’T watch the movie, it doesn’t do it justice at ALL.)

    Thanks for the recommendations!

  • As a literature student, I can’t really relate to your secod category, since to me, sometime the best books and the ones closer to that term are more complex and unsettling (; but regardless, I totally recomend that you read Jane Austen’s books if you haven’t (since I don’t live in the USA, I’m guessing maybe you have to read that at school), they are the perfect cold weather, classic and easy beautiful reading!

  • I feel like The Thief Lord or Sundays at Tiffany’s may interest you. They’re pretty quick reads considering, but I still love the death out of them!

  • Do you have a goodreads account? Cuz you should totally make one so we can all share our book lists! Right now, I’d recommend The Fault in Our Stars by John Green! 🙂 Happy Reading!!

  • I’ve been obsessed with Joan Didion’s books of essays (The White Album & Slouching Towards Bethlehem).
    Emma, I think you would enjoy the Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz (if you haven’t already read it already. He discusses how different life is as he transitions from San Francisco to Paris. Each chapter ends with a recipe. I tried a few and they’re pretty amazing. He’s also really funny.
    Oh OH, and An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. A wonderful read. Steve Martin is a very talented man, not only a hilarious comedian, talented actor, but a good writer as well!

    I’m clearly book obsessed. Good thing I work in a bookstore.

  • Another AMAZING one by Barbara Kingsolver is her classic The Poisonwood Bible. I could not put it down; it is Literature with a capital “L!” Seriously, you will not regret picking this one up at the library!

  • my favorite foodie non-fic title has to be Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. It’s the story of her first years as a major food critic in NYC and the lengths she must go to to remain anonymous. incredible food descriptions, disguises, honest reflections about the culture of haute cuisine… just a great read!

  • I too think of reading when darker, colder days arrive. I assume you’ve read Julie and Julia, but if not, you should! If you like fantasy, I just finished the Eragon series and it was fabulous. Heavier reading than Harry Potter, but so worth it!
    Catherine Denton

  • My current favorite book is North and South, a historical fiction and I heard A Christmas Carol is great this tie of year. Thanks for the recommendations! I love to look forward to reading a good book before bed!

  • You will love Carlos Ruiz Zafon books.. “The shadow of the wind” and “The Angel´s Game”. They are mystical and take you on a journey to streets of Barcelona and to the cemetery of forgotten books. I highly recommend it 🙂

    Jonathan Safran Foer and his wife Nicole Krauss are awesome writers!

  • ‘Oh Mexico’ by Lucy Neville is a fabulous read. I am not usually into travel memoirs but I could not put this book down. It made me fall in love with Mexico and want to travel there asap! ‘On the Jellicoe Road’ by Melina Marchetta. This book is Young Adult fiction but I loved this nonetheless. It is incredibly clever and you will remember it long after you finish reading it. And there is nothing like Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’, to get inspired creatively!!

  • My favorite is Jane Eyre. Somebody else mentioned Anne of Green Gables, which was my favorite series when I was in middle school. Now I really want to read them again!!! I’m reading Gone with the Wind right now, and if you have the time for it (it’s a long read), I highly suggest it! Thanks for posting this; I’m always looking for book suggestions and I’ve been wanting to read Never Let me Go for a while now!

  • My life in France: Julia Child is one of my most favorite books to reread especially on a cozy day. It just inspires you to think you can do anything at any time in your life.
    A tree Grows in Brooklyn. Maybe for a little bit of a younger crowd but everyone should read this! My copy is so old and tattered and so loved.

    And the comment above me: I agree!
    The Sweet life in Paris is wonderful and Steve Martin’s books are oh so wonderful. I loved Shop Girl (the book is so much better than the movie!)
    and lastly…The Namesake (the book is so wonderful-more than the movie) and the author Jumpha Lahiri writes beautifully.

    I’m done!


  • ‘Never Let Me Go’ is pure brilliance. If you haven’t read ‘The Night Circus’ — YOU MUST! This Fall I’m wanting to get my hands on ‘Your Voice Inside My Head’ by Emma Forrest and ‘The Lost Prince’ by Selden Edwards. Also, ‘The Diviners’, the newest from Libba Bray — I wholeheartedly second the comment cheering for ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’, such a great trilogy!!

  • The Elm Creek Quilts novels are good. Perfect for a rainy afternoon, and lots of inspiration for stitching up a quilt, or starting a new sewing project. Check them out!

  • Possibly my favorite series is Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. He has two other series as well: The Beyonders (fabulous) and The Candy Shop Wars. I highly recommend his work! PS these are young aduld books.

  • Ohmigosh seriously I don’t love science fiction but I LOVED The Passage. It’s incredibly imaginative. Even gave me nightmares!

  • Maybe you would also enjoy The Ornament Tree by Jean Thesman — that’s also a book to share with some teenager. It’s probably seven years since I read it, and I still regret giving it away, because I keep being reminded of some beautiful scenes and thinking how I’d like to read it again. Maybe I should just buy a new copy!

  • I am so glad Never Let Me Go made the list! I read it four years ago and have raved about it to anyone who would listen! LOVE it.

  • I read Memoirs of a Geisha years ago and I still love thinking about it and always recommend it!

    I am currently reading The Man Who Rained which is really enjoyable, and I love anything by Alice Hoffman.

  • one of my all time favourite books is Andrew Kaufman’s The Waterproof Bible. Utterly compelling, sweet, honest & simple (but complex & fantastical too!). super quick to read & i’ve yet to meet anyone who wasn’t completely charmed by it! thanks for this post, it was one of my favourite parts of food coma, so happy to see it here!

  • I’ve just read The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and loved it, so beautiful – fits into category two and even better, there are three more in the series!

  • The books that are always on my night stand are Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and Pride and Prejudice by Austen.

    Right now I’m excited as can be for Rowling’s new book, The Casual Vacancy. Out this Thursday, and I just can’t wait!

  • I’ve heard a lot about “Where d’you go Bernadette” too so I think it’s a must-read for me as well! I love this post and I think the cold weather book that I would recommend is “Beauty” by Rpbin McKinley, it’s gorgeous and totally sucks in in. Hope you do more posts like these, love them! 🙂

  • So far, I’ve read Memoirs of a Geisha and The Mysterious Benedict Society. In fact, I’ve read the latter until the very last book and have written a post about it on my blog. It’s so magically intelligent! Aside from that, I’ve watched Never Let Me Go and wish to read it anytime soon. Happy reading!

  • Somebody already mentioned “The Tine Traveler’s Wife. Just wanted to emphasize that it is indeed a wonderful, wonderful book!
    And it is true that the movie is just as horrible as the book is wonderful 🙂

  • LOVE The Mysterious Benedict Society! My Partner In Crime and I read it together last winter and it was the perfect cozy book to keep the chills away.

    Never Let Me Go has been on my radar for awhile now – since seeing the haunting movie starring Carey Mulligan, in fact. I think this is the sign I need to get going on it!

    Right now I’m working through F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books. He is so much more than The Great Gatsby! Just finished “The Beautiful and Damned” – incredible short story collection. So witty and intelligent!

    Thanks for sharing your picks 🙂

  • The Night Circus – it’s a wonderful story of a magical circus, a competition between two magicians and a love story that doesn’t seem like it can ever end well. It’s set around victorian times all over America and Europe. It’s positively the most delicious thing to read – you just get lost in the circus and it’s captivating power. 🙂

  • I adored The Mysterious Benedict Society series! I am still a child at heart…and teaching them all day long means I need to keep my sense of imagination and wonder too! I am nose deep in Kristen Chenoweth’s memoir “A little bit Wicked” and it is as adorable as she is! Also just finished Escape from Camp 14, interesting as I live only about an hour and a half from the border into North Korea…it was a harrowing visit and a book that made me even more thankful for my upbringing/situation/life! Our journey to the DMZ and the book here:

  • Love a good book! Thank you for the recommendations 🙂

    A reallllly good book is Mystery Man by Bateman. There is a second if you like it too 😉 or Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. I could give you a whopping list, but i’ll leave you with just two hehe xxx

  • Emma, I´ve just finished “The Paris wife”, about Hemingway first wife and it is a very interesting portrait of Paris in the 20s.

  • I just bought Where’d You Go Bernadette on my Kindle!! And I wrote a review of the passage (well sort of just mentioned it) in one of my posts on zombies lol. That book was amazing! Can’t wait for the next one to come out!!

  • The Paris Wife is a personal favourite, it’s so beautifully written and really draws you in to the story. I highly recommend it x

  • I don’t know how famous is Gabriel García Márquez in the USA, but I would recomend you to give it a chance. Try ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ it also has a movie, but the novel is better, he is one of the best writers of all times. Also José Saramago, a portuguese writer so worth to read, ‘Blindness’ is a great one from him, also a movie. Anything from Murakami, ‘1Q84’ for example, ‘Brooklyn Follies’ from Paul Auster. So hard to recomend a book… there are so many awesome books there..

    Sorry for poor English, I’m from Gran Canaria 🙂

  • I love your picks here emma:) I Have recently finished Miss Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, which was amazing, so interestingly written and not what I tend to imagine a murder mystery to be. Its just perfect for snuggling up under a blanket with.
    Also The Book Thief is beautifully haunting, I couldn’t put it down. Love this time of year, it really does make me want to surround myself with books and not come out till spring!!

  • You MUST read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. It’s YA, which initially turned me off, but the book is spectacular. It will literally have you feeling every emotion there is. Plus, I think you’ll really enjoy the character’s humor. I suggest you put it at the top of your list!

  • I am currently reading “the Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath. I guess I’m catching up on the classics! Haven’t read too much just yet but so far it seems really great!

  • Aw, thanks for the recommendations! I’m always looking for a good read and fall/winter is the best time! 🙂

    I recently read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and I loved it! I can’t wait to read more of his books. Right now I’m reading The Historian. It’s a bit slow but it’s good so far.

    And The Memoirs of a Geisha was a really good read. I loved learning more about the culture, it was fascinating!

  • Hi Emma,
    this is a great issue! I LOOOVE BOOKS!
    I’m reading “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoj. I was a little scared at first, because I thought it would be a boring book, but it’s a very interesting book instead, because it’s very fashionable and it’s introducing me into those changes in Russian society at that time.
    I suggest you a contemporary American author: A. M. Homes who wrote “The Safety of Objects” and “This book will save your life”. I personally preferred the first one, but the other it’s nice too.

    Have a nice day!

  • I’ll second The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Also, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare! The latter of which is being made into a movie!

  • Two quiet novels I love that are all about the characters: Emily, Alone and An Available Man. Both about recently widowed characters (which makes it sound like they could be depressing, but they’re not – they’re fabulous!)

  • Read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, if you haven’t already. It is so incredible!!

  • I second A Great and Terrible Beauty! It’s one of my absolute favorites! I’m not one for fantasy, but this one had me hooked!

  • I second the recommendation for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It came out last year- it’s so good.

  • One of my favorite books of all time is Wild Swans by Jung Chang. It’s a touching story of three generations of women in China. It’s a great any-type-of-weather read.

  • Crimson and the petal white -Michel Faber remains my favorite book. The story challenges the concept of moral integrity within its characters. London in the 19th c.

  • I was also a sucker for Memoirs of a Geisha! In fact I liked it so much that I was thoroughly disappointed with the movie, and may have even been caught yelling at the tv “That’s not how it happened!!”

    But I digress… One of my favorite all time books is “Jemima J” by Jane Green. I think I’ve read it 5 or 6 times. And for a good zombie read from the “monsters” POV, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend “Breathers” by S.G. Browne. It is laugh out loud hilarious- zombies meet civil rights.

  • Last year I read “The ShadowCreek Chronicles” by T. Elizabeth Renich. A historical fiction series, it’s four books. But, oh my goodness! I could not put down the books, they were amazing! It’s about a confederate family during the civil war. So it made me think differently about the confederates. I would recommend these books to anyone!

  • Never Let Me Go is beaaaauuutiful! Love the movie as well, it’s so perfectly cast.
    I just finished reading The Remains of the Day, also by Kazuo Ishiguro. So strange and interesintg and beautiful, Mr. Ishiguro truly does have amazing story telling skillz!

  • Firefly Lane and Look Again have been complete page turners for me.

    Firefly Lane – story of two young unlikely girls become friends and their journey through adulthood. Mix in a little jealously, fame, tragedy, kids, and best friends and you have yourself a great Saturday-with-nothing-to-do-but-read book.

    Look Again – a lady adopts a kid and then all of a sudden one of those white cards you get in the mail with missing people…well it looks like her little boy. It doesnt settle well for her so she goes out searching. What she uncovers are lies, a twisted series of events, and even a killer! Girl…you gotta read it. I literally was like SHUT UP! outloud when things would happen.

    Follow me on I post all my books up there.

  • Thanks for book selections!! I just held the two in #1 at my local library. I love non-fiction food

  • “Bloodletting & Miracle Cures.” Really really excellent novel following the lives of a group of medical students.

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower!!!! Amaaazing book, have loved it for years even before it became a movie 😉

  • You must read “Where’d you go Bernadette”. It is hilarious and a quick read. Also “Gone Girl” is amazing.

  • i’m traveling at the moment with my boyfriend on a surf trip. we always go to beaches where there’s really not much to do on the downtime. this past year i’ve read soo many books that i’ve picked up in hostels along the way. i finished reading “the history of love” by nicole krauss not too long ago, and really loved it. i also think douglas coupland is a really great writer as well.

  • I loved this post! I recommend you Tokio blues (Norwegian wood) by Haruki Murakami. After devouring that book, he has become my favourite writer. Thanks for that list!

  • I just finished “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and absolutely loved it!! I would definitely recommend reading it!

  • The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn–includes recipes and it is SO inspiring! Also, Paris in Love by Eloisa James is both hilarious and sweet.
    Usually, on a chilly day (it doesn’t get too cold here in New Orleans!), I like tea with a familiar book that I have read too many times to count: like The Little Prince or Stargirl. ^.^

  • I’m currently working through Harry Potter in Spanish! But I worked in the children/teen department at my library this summer and I will recommend two books. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian & The Fault in Our Stars. Both fantastic reads.

  • I loved “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford, and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” by MaryAnn Shafer and Annie Barrows and ” The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner” by Andrea Smith.
    All good reads, I love reading everyones suggestions 🙂

  • thanks for sharing! im always on the lookout for new reading material,
    i cant wait to bundle up on the couch or in bed with a good book and some hot chocolate!
    xo, cheyenne

  • Oh you must add ‘The Snow Child’ by Eowyn Ivey to your reading list. It’s wonderful – so sad, beautiful and uplifting all at the same time. The depiction of Alaskan wilderness in the 1920s is awe-inspiring.

  • My boyfriend has three of those on his bookshelf right now and I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I think the three of us would get along quite nice. 🙂
    Come on over.

  • I loved ‘never let me go’ and memoirs of a geisha. This years favorite reads for me have been…’The Night Circus’….so good, and ‘The Discovery of Witches’.

  • When I was teaching, I LOVED reading young adult novels, not only to be involved in what the kids were doing, BUT some of these stories were so amazing. One series I read over and over again is The Uglies series. Its a post apocalyptic world where at sixteen instead of getting a car you get plastic surgery to become “pretty”! I read that constantly!

    I also love nonfiction paranormal. My current read is Tales from the Darkside. Its about myths ledgends and curses in Rock and Roll History. Its so much fun, this weekend the fiance and I are syncing Darkside of the Moon to The Wizard of OZ. The Key is to play the soundtrack to the 3rd roar of the MGM LION at the beginning of the film, not the cowardly lion’s roar….so many ruined high school nights if I had known that. LOL

    A full set of my paranormal books that I’ve read and reviewed (albeit somewhat crazily) are over at my blog if any wish to view the list.

  • I’m just finishing “the night circus” and love it. Next on my night stand is “a mostly true memoir” by the blogess – I’ve already read a chapter and it’s laugh out loud!

    “The book theif” is one that stuck with me – I think I read it this time last year.

    And if you’re looking for big long epic stories, Edward Rutherfurd tells wonderful (LONG) stories. I got hooked on “sarum” (a 2000 year saga around Stone Henge starting with the druids) and went on to “london” next. NOt sure if those are for everyone – my dad and I swap books back and forth and I got it from him.

    OH – for a good old fashioned 1940s detective novel, you MUST read Nero Wolf books by Rex Stout.

  • I am a big Harry Potter, Narnia, young adult book lover and I also read The Mysterious Benedict Society! You MUST read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I read it this year and I suggest it to everyone when I get the chance! LOVED IT. The author also used old, vintage photographs to aid with the story! Apparently, there is a sequel coming and a movie. And like you said, if it is made into a movie it must be good. 🙂

  • The Hunger Games trilogy = <3 (though very intense and graphic. 😉 )
    and the Anne of Green Gables series is good, too...
    I can never think of good books when I need too. 😉

    Rachel Nicole @ Summer Breeze

  • I’m a literature student from Hungary, and I really recommend you to read some Hungarian novels – many of them are translated to English 🙂 I’ve been obsessed with László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango (I’ve read an article that said that it was a huge success in NYC!), and Attila Bartis’ Tranquility (which won 2009 Best Translated Book Award). Both of them were made into films, Satantango lasts for more than 6 hours (haha) and it was directed by the famous Hungarian director, Béla Tarr. These novels are depressing and overwhelming psychodramas, but if you want to read something more exhilirating, just do some googling about Hungarian books, and you will find yourself spoilt for choice! 🙂

  • I’m reading Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace.” I suppose it’s technically a cookbook, but it reads more like a series of essays on the joy and art of cooking at home. Her writing style is beautiful and inspiring.

    Seriously, the chapter entitled “How to Boil Water: Part 1” was nothing short of sublime. Here’s a snippet from Adler on the merits of eggs:

    “A gently but sincerely cooked egg tells us all we need to know about divinity. It hinges not on the question of how the egg began, but how the egg will end. A good egg, cooked deliberately, gives us a glimpse of the greater forces at play.”

    It’s a foodie must-read. Would also make for a great holiday gift.

  • Thanks for the recommendations. I really enjoyed Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis.

    I also enjoyed A Tattoo Shop Mystery Series by Karen E. Olson. They’re entertaining and quick reads.

  • Great recommendations! I just finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and it is the PERFECT cold weather, lock yourself in the house all day with a cozy blanket and some hot chocolate, kind of book. 🙂 Blogged about it last week!


  • Emma, I’ve always loved your little book reviews. I even started adding my own to my blog. I am so excited to read Never Let Me Go…I’m waiting for its arrival in the mail! As for recommendations, I recently enjoyed the book Every Day by David Levithan. It’s kinda science fiction/fantasy/romance. It’s very different.

  • I just bought Where’d you go Bernadette cause I also heard about it a lot. I’ll let you know how it is.

    And I agree, cold weather begs for curling up with a good book.

  • Hi Elsie,

    I just read this one: What the Day Owes the Night by Yasmina Khadra.

    It´s a really really beautiful and also melancholic love story…It´s set in Algeria during the French Occupation.

    As i read it in German i can´t tell if the English translation is equally good.

    If you do read it let me know how you liked it!

    Best, Lisa

  • I saw two books up there which I completely agree with.
    1. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I must have read that 10 times growing up, it was one of my favorites!
    2. The Hobbit. So good! And it will make you appreciate the movie even more.

    And my own suggestion: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. Great work of fiction! (He also has a sci-fi series I hear is great!)

  • I really enjoyed the Spellman series by Lisa Lutz. I read the first four while I was pregnant with my daughter and saved the fifth book to read while I was recuperating after she was born.

  • I am a huge fiction reader myself- but have read a few great non-fiction books in the last year. I highly recommend “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin and “The Winter of Our Disconnect” by Susan Maushart. Both ladies take an idea, run with it for a while, and tell an amusing tale about the outcome. Well worth the time and just as engaging as fiction!

  • I just finished Swamplandia, by Karen Russell. It would be a great winter read, as it vividly transports you to hot and muggy swamps of Florida. It’s a wild book, verging on magical realism, about a family of alligator wrestlers and their travails. Somewhat unsettling, very enjoyable.

  • I recently read a book called “Room” by Emma Donague. It’s from the perspective of a five-year old who lives in a room with his mother. To him, the whole world is this room. He sleeps in a wardrobe and every night a man named Old Nick comes to his mother. The little boy is so innocent, but as you are reading the book you are figuring out what is going on and how his mother was really abducted when she was 19 to be kept by this man in his shed in his backyard. Then they start planning their escape. It was such a great book, one of those that you don’t stop thinking about for a long time and I already could read it again.

  • I am all for reading books that are directed towards a younger audience, I always feel like there is a certain charm that cannot be found anywhere else. If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society, you should try Colin Meloy’s (of the Decemberists) book series, Wildwood. He and his wife create them together and they are just darling.

  • A category that has not been listed here is Non-fiction story telling, which always seems more interesting to me because the events being told have actually taken place! Erik Larson is the genius of this genre, and I’ve read three of his novels. Most people have heard or read his Devil in the White City, but Thunderstruck is my personal favorite. Masterful work, and the perfect cold weather read 🙂

  • A Fine Balance!

    My boyfriend recommended it to me a few months ago, and now I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops! The characters are so developed and the story is really touching. It’s the perfect winter read 🙂

  • I read the Passage a year ago, I loved the mix of “vampires” + lab + end of human era + ¿future?. Even my dad, who doesn’t like vampire story, was asking me about the second book …and second part will be released in USA in 21 days! yay! now I have to wait till arrives to Argentina.

  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer.
    It was also made into a movie but i havent seen it. (I also havent really heard good things.) The little boy in this book is so clever and hilarious and theres a parallel story in it too which makes it so interesting to try to follow. Definitely one of those books that sticks with you.

  • I can so strongly reccomend One Day by David Nicholls. Forget about the movie, read the book. You will never forget the story and you will feel as though Em and Dex are your best friends.

    Thanks for all these suggestions too! Im always looking out for new books.


  • I had a rhetoric professor that was chronically critical say that Nabakov’s Lolita was perfect – untouchable. And he was right – it took me a few tries to read it through from beginning to end, but once I did I loved it. Kind of a strange book to recommend but it is really beautifully written.

    I love anything by Anne Lamott. I have read and reread Imperfect Birds, and I just finished Some Assembly Required. I love her voice in her fiction. It feels like she is sitting next to you talking.

    I also loved How to Buy a Love of Reading (cannot remember the author’s name) and Special Topics in Calamity Physics (also forget the author).

  • Ok, it is a TV series however the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George RR Martin is kind of amazing, it is so layered and complex. I couldn’t put the book(s) down. I hear that he actually hasn’t finished the series and he is on like book 7 or something. It gives you a bit f everything gin my opinion.
    Im a sucker for historical fictions and just about anything that Bernard Cornwell writes I automatically love! He actually researches the real historical events and then writes a fiction around them. At the end he also gives you a little narrative of what the real evens where and what he made up for the sake of his amazing stories. Defiantly one of my favorite authors.

  • I recommend My Brother Michael, or any other book by Mary Stewart. I love them so much I reread them all the time, especially on rainy days and cold nights!

  • I love Mysterious Benedict Society! I re-read it and it’s three sequels all the time 🙂

  • You haven’t read fantasy until you’ve read The Bronze Horseman (Paullina Simons). It’s set during World War II. Most amazing story ever. I have never loved a book more. What makes it fantasy? Ain’t no man gonna love you like the one in this book! And trust me, my man loves!

  • I just made a list of books to read based on all your recommendations, very excited!! A few of my favorites are Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, a long read but so worth it! The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho or anything by him for that matter. Most recently I have become obsessed with anything by David Sedaris, absolutely hilarious books. Enjoy!!

  • My eleven year old daughter begged me to read The Mysterious Benedict Society. Glad I did! Not only was it clever, interesting and different. It gave my daughter and I something fun to yack about.

  • I read the mysterious benedict society too! Have you read the other books from the series: the Mysterious benedict society and the perilous journey, the Mysterious benedict society and the prisoner’s dilemma, and the Extraordinary education of Nicholas benedict? I love all the books! (the last one I listed is about mr. Benedict’s childhood, its really good!)
    Anyway, I love the series! BTW: Thanks to you guys for this wonderful blog!

  • Great recommendations everyone, thank you all!
    My favourite book of all time is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, beautifully written story of a young girl in Nazi Germany, narrated by Death (sounds much more grim than it is!)

  • Last winter I read Blood, Bones and Butter, it was a book group pick. I loved loved loved it, and so did all the other ladies in my book group.

  • I am completely book obsessed and I could write a very very long list of all my favorites, but here are some reads I’ve enjoyed this year:

    THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeanette Walls
    (a sad but amazing memoir of Walls’ unusual childhood)

    THE HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss
    (can’t even begin to describe this one, but it’s beautiful and sad and deals with love, death, family and war)

    THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern
    (the story of the most unbelievable, fantastical circus the world has ever seen)

    CITRUS COUNTY by John Brandon
    (set in a small, poor town, this one follows two lost teenagers following a terrible crime)

    THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker
    (what happens when the Earth’s spinning slows down – this is part sci fi and apocalypse, and part a coming of age story)

  • A great foodie book that I read was coming home to eat by Gary Nabhan. It is an excellent book about only eating foods locally, in Arizona. It gets pretty slim in his pickings!

  • Never Let Me Go is one of my all time favorites too! It stayed with me for so long after I read it. I always recommend it to people 🙂

  • “Flush, a biography” by Virginia Woolf. It’s a small book about a cocker spaniel that belonged to the write Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I am currently reading it during my daily train trips and it’s so heart warming, perfect for fall days.

  • I ADORE the Mysterious Benedict Society!!! The story is so brilliant and original i am so so glad that you’re sharing it on here because i fell like not enough people know about it! 🙂

  • I love Animal, Vegetable, Miracle! It was a great, inspiring read and the recipes are fantastic. I particularly love the brie and sweet potato quesadillas. Yum!

  • I just started The Passage based solely on this blog post! It was really hard to put the book down and go to bed last night! I’d recommend it for anyone who likes John Grisham-type novels and science fiction. Thanks for the suggestions, and I second another commenter – you should definitely get a Goodreads account so we can all steal your book recommendations year-round 🙂

  • Since Walking Dead is my favorite show- I will definitely be checking out The Passage. I usually only read non-fiction, memoirs and biographies, but I love a good action packed fiction once in a while!

  • Love Barbara Kingsolver! Her descriptions are so beautifully in depth. They have a magical way of soothing me. For a quirky and bizarre non fiction I reccomend Mary Roach’s books, particular “Stiff”.

  • Ok so the suggestion I have is not really in the “winter reads” category, but I just finished Life of Pi and it is now on my list of top 5 favorite books, AND it’s being made into a movie!!! The plot is so eccentric and unexpected. I just LOVED it. My second recommendation isn’t a book… but a movie. Amelie is such a cozy artistic movie. It is in french, but that makes even more beautiful.
    I highly recommend both!

  • I second the recommendation for Carlos Ruiz Zafon – I love his works.

    A great novel which was just translated into Dutch (and which I just finished) is Stoner, by John Williams. Perhaps you’ve read it already, because I’m told it’s a classic ‘great American novel’ – but if you haven’t: try it. You’ll want to kick and scream at the main character, but you’ll love him all the same.

  • Piece of Cake, by Cupcake Brown – a wonderful memoir about the rough life of a girl in CA’s foster system, who over comes everything to become a successful attorney in SF.

    Homer’s Odyssey (not the one you’re thinking of) – this one is about a blind cat who survives 9/11.

    Gone Girl – Mystery/Thriller

    Anthony Bourdain’s – Kitchen Confidential, and The Nasty Bits

  • Memoirs of a Geisha has to be one of my favourite novels, I’m just glad the movie turned out alright!
    If you haven’t read it I suggest you read The perks of being a wallflower, although a cult classic, it’s actually worth it.

  • Tell The Wolves I’m Home was absolutely spectacular! But I must say my all time favorite author (Besides Mrs. Rowling of course) is John Green. My fave books by him are The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska. *swoon*

  • I’ve read (and loved) Memoirs of a Geisha and Never Let Me Go. The Mysterious Benedict Society is on my radar as one to read and maybe add to the collection I’m building for a mini library in the middle school classroom I hope to have someday…I always find myself wanting to re-read childhood and young adult favorites in the fall. I’m also about to start The Tale of Desperaux for my adolescent lit class and I’m really excited about it!

  • I loved loved loved Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger — a Victorian ghost story! Such a delightfully creepy/gothic feeling around the edges, perfect for curling up inside on a cloudy day. (And yes, she also wrote Time-Traveler’s Wife — another excellent curl-up-and-read, though in a totally different vein!)

  • I love Jasper Fforde’s books, “Shades of Grey” (NOT fifty shades!) and his Thursday Next series. He’s a hilarious British author who manages to confuse and delight me all at once. I’d recommend anything written by him.

    If you like Young Adult dystopian novels (i.e. Hunger Games) I’d recommend the “Divergent” trilogy by Veronica Roth (though only 2 books are currently out). My favorite children’s trilogy (which is surprisingly well written for such a young audience) is the Fire-Us trilogy by Jennifer Armstrong and Nancy Butcher. Oh and the author of “The Giver” (Lois Lowry) has just come out with a 4th book for The Giver world called “Son” which sounds interesting.

    “Life of Pi” and “The Alchemist” are always great reads and are two of my favorites.

    I think I just geeked out a little. :/

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