As December approaches, we’re all about mindful routines that can help us decompress. From work, social engagements, and the general hustle and bustle of the holiday season. And for us, there’s nothing quite like finding a quiet moment, reading a good book and getting cozy as winter whispers outside the window.
We’ve made our reading list and checked it twice. Here are the titles we recommend picking up this winter.
For An Environmental Read
The Last Winter: The Scientists, Adventurers, Journeymen, And Mavericks Trying To Save The World by Porter Fox
While many of us long for the chill of winter and dream of falling snow as we sweat in the summer heat, rreports on climate change have driven home the reality that we are getting closer and closer to a world without winter. The Last Winter explores this unprecedented change taking place in the northern latitudes of our planet.
As the planet warms, winter is shrinking. In the last fifty years, the Northern Hemisphere lost a million square miles of spring snowpack and in the US alone, snow cover has been reduced by 15-30%. On average, winter has shrunk by a month in most northern latitudes.
In The Last Winter, journalist Porter Fox travels along the edge of the Northern Hemisphere’s snow line to track the scope of this drastic change, and how it will literally change everything—from rapid sea level rise, to fresh water scarcity for two billion people, to massive greenhouse gas emissions from thawing permafrost, and a half dozen climate tipping points that could very well spell the end of our world. Fox’s research is animated by four harrowing and illuminating journeys—each grounded by interviews with idiosyncratic, charismatic experts in their respective fields and by his own narrative of growing up on a remote island in Northern Maine.
For A Cozy Fireside Read
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
Whether you’re nestled in at the family cabin, curled up in your favourite chair, or just enjoying some much-needed time away from work and your computer, this enchanting modern fairytale is perfect for reading in your downtime over the holidays.
Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretela–a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.
Decades later, when teenage Perdita’s search for her mother’s long-lost friend prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.
For A Holiday Read
How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
A holiday classic, we pull The Grinch off the shelf year after year. For both young and old, it serves as a simple but much-needed reminder that while decorations and presents are nice, the holidays are not marked by the things we have—but by the people and community we’re surrounded by.
The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville’s holiday celebrations, and plans to steal all the presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his amazement, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday.
For A Collection of Poetry
Cast Away by Naomi Shihab Nye
The perfect antidote to the increased consumerism that always seems to go hand in hand with the holidays. Surrounded by stuff? This collection of poems connects the dots between our consumption and our culture. It challenges readers to become activists and do better in the world we share.
National Book Award Finalist, Young People’s Poet Laureate, and devoted trash-picker-upper Naomi Shihab Nye explores these questions and more in this original collection of poetry that features more than eighty new poems. “I couldn’t save the world, but I could pick up trash,” she says in her introduction to this stunning volume.
With poems about food wrappers, lost mittens, plastic straws, refugee children, trashy talk, the environment, connection, community, responsibility to the planet, politics, immigration, time, junk mail, trash collectors, garbage trucks, all that we carry and all that we discard, this is a rich, engaging, moving, and sometimes humorous collection.
For A Chilling Read
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
Grab a hot chocolate and an extra blanket before diving into this chilling ghost story. Even if you have the thermostat turned up, The Winter People is sure to send a shiver down your spine.
Set in West Hall, Vermont, The Winter People weaves together the stories of two families living a century apart: Sara, a bereaved young mother in 1908, desperate to find solace after the sudden death of her little girl; and Ruthie, a young woman living in the same town, present day, who wakes up one morning to discover that she and her sister are alone–their mother, who never strays far, has gone missing. In this small New England town steeped in myth and superstition the lives of these women are drawn closer and closer by a fateful choice and long held secrets.
Looking for more reading recommendations? Check our fall recommended reading list.