"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." ~William Blake
December 22, 2011 5:28 AM   Subscribe

Winter Reads: [Guardian.co.uk] a new series matching the story to the season.

The Terror by Dan Simmons. A chilling speculation on the fate of Franklin's ill-fated expedition to the Northwest Passage, with added horror to thoroughly freeze your blood.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf. The unforgettable depiction of the devastatingly 'Great Frost' contains some of Woolf's warmest writing.
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. This potent rite-of-passage tale offers readers some useful pointers on keeping the heart warm in allegorically wintry times.
The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M Boston. Christmases past evoked by this magical story of an ancient manor house.
My Ántonia by Willa Cather. A story of the hardships of a bitter winter in the American west, this is also a stirring tribute to unfreezable human spirit.
Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy. The lethal cold is clearly freighted with symbolism in this wintry parable, but it is realised with tangible bite.
Myths of the Norsemen by Roger Lancelyn Green. This re-telling of the Norse sagas delivers an icy gust from the distant kingdom of childhood.
The Bear's Winter House. Quentin Blake and John Yeoman's tale of keeping out the cold is as warm and welcoming as its hero's lair.
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. This classic novel of career invalids snowbound in the Swiss Alps is much more fun than its reputation suggests.
The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura Ingalls Wilder's chilly but cheering descriptions of snow, ice and Christmas dinners in Dakota.
The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. It may not be free from sentimentality, but this sad, sweet tale has an elemental power that makes it soar.
A Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin. Larkin's mysterious tale of an exiled woman in wartime Britain.
Ice by Anna Kavan. A frozen post-nuclear dystopia is the setting for this raw, brutal tale. It may not cheer you up, but it will compel your attention.
The Castle by Franz Kafka. K's struggle with bureaucracy is only the surface of a story that plunges into the deep end of pain, aloneness and the longing for companionship.
posted by Fizz (2 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Talking with other bibliophiles I find there are two camps:

(1) Readers who seek out literature that mirrors the current season. If it's cold and wintry outside, these readers tend to want that in their literature.
(2) Readers who seek out the opposite. They search for warmer locations in their literature. Fiction set in the tropics or during the summer months.

I fall into the first. If it's winter, I want something that I associate with winter. This may not be an association that others will understand as what is winter to my mind may not be winter to you, but you get the idea.
posted by Fizz at 6:24 AM on December 22, 2011

Like Mamillius always sez, "A sad tale's best for winter." Poor, poor Mamillius. It would have been his sixth winter solstice.

And there is also Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata.
posted by incandenza at 8:52 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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