Friday, January 15, 2021

Winter Anytime Reads

 Hello, friends! As you read this, I have made it through my first two weeks of full-time work! But this post is not about that! Instead, is about something much more relaxing: winter anytime reads! This is the sequel to Summer Anytime Reads (which I did a few years ago) and Autumnal Anytime Reads (which I did three months ago), and it was much easier to write than either of them. There are a lot of books out there with a wintery vibe, even when you eliminate the Christmas ones. (And there's going to be quite a few more once the next few Arista Challenges happen!) ANYWAY. These books range from stories perfect for curling up with by a nice fire to books that reflect and redeem the darkness and coldness of these months, and they actually include some of my favorite books in the world . . . though, on a moment's reflection, that could be said for both of the previous posts in the series too. Apparently, the books I love best span all seasons. So, without further ado, let's go!


Winter Anytime Reads

  1. Sabriel by Garth Nix. I mean, it takes place largely in winter, and the major magic used in the book has a tendency to produce frost. So there's that. But, as a book very concerned with death and a season of dying and trying not to die, it's a thematically wintery book too. And it has the sense of rising a challenge and triumphing over death that you really need in this season. Also, it has a cat and one of the better father-daughter relationships in fiction (even if a lot of that relationship is shown in the way Sabriel thinks of and acts towards her father and how he acts towards her), both of which are much appreciated in this very dreary time of year.
  2. If you liked Sabriel, try: The rest of the Abhorsen series (for more of everything you loved in Sabriel — the series as a whole sits on the border between winter and spring reads) or Hexwood (for fantasy with an . . . unusual take on usual tropes, we'll say).
  3. Jackaby by William Ritter. You can interpret this as either the whole series or just the first book and it'll be true. It starts in winter, and it might be winter again by the time the series ends — I don't recall for sure — but while Jackaby is an excellent read any time of year, it's especially delicious in this particular season. It starts off with a murder mystery (excellent for reading under blankets and by fires), and it's quick and enthralling and will make you forget how cold it is.
    If you liked Jackaby, try: The Invisible Library (for fantasy mystery featuring lots of influence of legends and fantastic lore, among other stories) or Seraphina (also for more fantasy mystery, albeit with more dragons and fewer other fantasy beings).
  4. Illusionarium by Heather Dixon. All of Heather Dixon's books are actually excellent winter reads, but Illusionarium is the only one I don't associate with Christmas more than winter in general. Actually, I'd call Illusionarium a February sort of book. Steampunk is often a little dark, and the worlds in which this particular story takes place have been dark and cold and dying for a very long time, and it's ripe for renewal and rebirth. And the ending of the story is full of exactly the kind of hopefulness and warmth-despite-chill that you need during the coldest month of the year.
    If you liked Illusionarium, try: Entwined and The Enchanted Sonata (for more of Heather Dixon's delightful storytelling style and happy, hopeful endings), or Halayda (for steampunk stories of renewal).
  5. Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. Arguably the darkest book or series on this list, I don't think this should be much of a surprise. Again, the first book is wintery in setting, but both books are winter-appropriate in the darkness and intensity of the stories they tell. Also, I feel like the mixture of humor and darkness and snarky levity is very fitting for these months.
    If you liked Six of Crows, try: Mistborn (for fantasy heists and non-standard fantasy settings) or the Shadow and Bone trilogy (for more of Bardugo's writing and world — this is arguably more wintery than Six of Crows, but I like Crows better).
  6. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. It wouldn't be a winter reads list without a retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." Jessica Day George's take on the tale is my favorite — it's short and sweet and satisfying, and I very much love the Lass's relationship with Hans Peter, her oldest brother. I also love the why the author gave for the whole situation, arguably the most important part of any fairytale retelling.
    If you liked Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, try: East by Edith Pattou (for another great retelling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon") or Beauty by Robin McKinley (for a wintery Beauty and the Beast retelling).

What are your favorite wintery reads? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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