11 Books That Are Perfect to Read Over the Winter


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A family from Manhattan takes a two week vacation to warm, sunny Mallorca, Spain. Jim and Franny are celebrating their 35th anniversary, and Sylvia has just graduated high school and wants to accomplish a few select things before going away to college and escaping her family once and for all. Bobby brings along his much older girlfriend and has a huge favor to ask. However, like any family vacation, not everything goes as planned. Secrets are revealed, old wounds resurface, and new heartaches are deeply felt.

Perfect for winter because: The Vacationers will keep you warm with its depictions of tropical Mallorca, and with the spark of hope this family will ignite as you read — you can’t help but root for them.


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I know what you’re thinking. Another book by Donna Tartt? But you’ll see that it’s necessary once you read The Goldfinch, because you will immediately want more, and I’m here to help. A group of college students at Hampden College in Vermont are studying the classics when their devotion to the subject takes a turn for the dangerous. As the once tight bond between friends Richard, Charles, Camilla, Francis, and the mysterious Henry becomes fraught with tension, readers sit by breathlessly waiting for the Vermont snow — and their hearts — to thaw.

Perfect for winter because: “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.” With an opening line like this, the winter is the only time for this book.


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Young Nella Oortman married Johannes Brandt at the urging of her mother, after her father’s death left Nella and her family in financial straits. She marries a wealthy merchant and sets off for Amsterdam to start her new life with her husband, but to Nella’s dismay, she finds herself left to the care of Johannes’ austere sister, Marin. As the freezing Amsterdam winter sets in, Nella is lonely and increasingly hopeless that her husband will ever care for her. Everything begins to change when a mysterious miniaturist begins leaving haunting gifts for Nella, gifts that could expose Johannes and his entire family.

Perfect for winter because: Burton creates a story that relies on the setting as much as the characters for her novel, so much so that you will feel the Amsterdam wind against your cheeks as if you’re in it yourself.


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Taking place in snowy Philadelphia on Christmas Eve, 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas is told in quick vignettes over the course of the day from several perspectives. At the heart of the book is Madeleine Altimari, a 9-year-old who is mourning her mother, and who wants nothing more than to be a jazz singer. Madeleine is determined to take the stage and make her public singing debut at The Cat’s Pajamas, a floundering jazz club owned by a man named Lorca. Full of magical realism, Cat’s Pajamas holds the type of magic and hope that only Christmas Eve can.

Perfect for winter because: The sparkle of snow outside a jazz club, the promise of Christmas morning and what it will bring, and the touches of magical realism make this the perfect book to read as the Christmas season approaches.


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A magical, mysterious black and white circus appears out of nowhere in the middle of the night. Le Cirque des Reves, as it is called, is only open at night, and is filled with breathtaking magic and performances. However, at the heart of the circus is a magical competition between Celia and Marco, made by their instructors at the time of their births. Against all odds, and all instruction, the two fall madly in love, and the fate of Celia, Marco, and the entire circus is at stake.

Perfect for winter because: The black and white motif, the magical love story, and the rich details draw you in, perfect to settle in with as the days get shorter and darkness sets in increasingly early.


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Margaret Atwood turned 75 this month, but she’s not letting that slow her down. The iconic author released a new collection of short stories in September, and many of them have a particular theme in common: the cold. Nine wintery tales to read while you’re inside and anything but cold, Stone Mattress has something for everyone. “Alphinland” is the story of one woman being guided through a stormy winter night by the voice of her husband. “The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom” is about a man who buys a storage space at auction and finds a surprise inside. The title story “Stone Mattress” takes place in the Arctic.

Perfect for winter because: These winter themed tales are perfect to read in the comfort of your own home, safely tucked away from the apocalypse often happening inside the book.


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