In celebration of winter, part 2: My favorite winter readsMay 08, 2019
Last week I shared five of my favorite winter recipes as part of Mrs. Disciple’s Friday Five. Today I’m linking up again, but this time to share five of my favorite winter reads. Because really, is there anything better than curling up by a fire, snuggled under a warm blanket, reading a good book?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
OK, really, any Harry Potter book. And yes, I have a separate heading for kids’ books, but I am keeping this here. Because I like to read about Harry, Ron, and Hermione all.by.myself. I didn’t read this series when it came out–in fact, I read it when Grace started asking to read it (in kindergarten). Growing up in pretty conservative circles, I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. J.K. Rowling quickly won me over, though, with her stories of friendship, loyalty, bravery, and honor. In the seven years since I first met Harry, I have read the entire series four times. I love it that much. (Side note: While this doesn’t lend itself to sitting by the fire with a good book, I absolutely adore the audiobooks of this series. Jim Dale’s narration is excellent.)
A Man Called Ove
I was introduced to Ove last year by friends who absolutely raved about it. I finally picked it up in Target on a whim, and it is one of the best book decisions I have ever made. Equal parts light and poignant, it is completely and utterly charming. (In fact, I praised the book so much that I have now passed it along to four other people… including my husband, who is not a reader. He loved it!) Ove is a curmudgeonly man whose neighbors are intent on befriending him in spite of himself. I really don’t even want to tell you more than that because I don’t want to take away the magic of the story. Just go read it. Right now. I’ll wait.
Big Little Lies
I spent months listening to friends rave about Liane Moriarty before trying one of her books. Although the first one I read wasn’t my favorite, I decided to give it one more try… and I’m so glad I did! Ms. Moriarty has an incredible way of intriguing her readers, then tying things together in a way that is logical without being cheesy. As with Ove, I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot of this book, because I want you to experience it first-hand. But I promise you won’t be sorry. (Also, I had a hard time deciding which of her books to list here, because I also loved What Alice Forgot!)
Love Story: The Hand That Holds Us from the Garden to the Gate
I’m not even sure how I came across this book, but I am so glad I did! I have long been a fan of Nichole Nordeman as a singer/songwriter, but I had no idea she had stepped out as an author too. Love Story is a fresh look at some of the familiar characters and stories of the Bible, from Adam & Eve to the apostle Paul and plenty in between. At the same time, it is beautifully personal as she shares stories of her life that inform her perspective on these heroes of the faith, making both her and these ancient figures a little more human and relatable.
I feel the need to say here that I also highly recommend the Harry Potter series for kids. (I just listed them among my favorites so that you, my friend, know that the appeal is not limited to the younger crowd.) For our family, this meant books 1-3 in the early years (kindergarten through maybe second grade), then allowing the other books as we saw fit when they were just a tiny bit older. (The books do take a more intense turn as you go on.) Other families I know, though, have read them all the way through by kindergarten. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong here, but just a caution to read them yourself first. My kids, who were actually scared by certain episodes of Clifford, were not ready for the later books when we first delved into the series. That being said, Grace read them all by late in 4th grade. (Matt still hasn’t gone beyond book three, but that is his choice. He is much more into Percy Jackson.)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Just writing about this tale gives me chills. Hugo is an orphan whose departed father, a watchmaker, had found an automaton in a museum where he worked. Hugo becomes obsessed with fixing this last tie to his father, and has a beautiful story along the way. But what really makes this book special are the illustrations. The book can seem intimidating at first glance because it is so large. But it is full of incredible drawings that you just have to see! Amazon recommends this book for ages 9-12, but as a read-aloud you could introduce it much earlier. I read it to Grace and Matt when they were 4 and 6, and they were completely taken with it.
Bonus: An actual book about winter
A Week in Winter
I felt like at least one of these books should actually be about winter! Probably best-known for her novel Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite storytellers. Her prose draws the reader in, and the way that she weaves story lines together leaves me in awe. Her tale of people drawn together to spend a holiday at a mansion called Stone House will leave you wanting more. And more you should read! Her masterful writing ties together the characters and stories from her various books, though they do not need to be read in any particular order. (A few of my other favorites are Evening Class, Tara Road, and Quentin’s.)
Those are just a few of my favorite books–at winter or any time! But I’m always looking for my next great read. What do you recommend?
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