Winter Book Recommendations

Here in Colorado, we got about six inches of snow last night. And when we get snowfall like that, there’s nothing I like better than to sit down with a book about…well, snow. Don’t ask me why.

So what winter books might I revisit this winter? I’ll give you a quick rundown here.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

It’s a case of old gods versus new gods in this 21st century classic. Shadow, a man just released from prison, has his world turned upside down when he finds out that his wife is dead. When it seems he has nothing, he has a chance (or maybe not) meeting with the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday. Together, they begin to assemble the players for the ultimate battle: new gods against old.

One of my absolute favorites. Widely regarded as Neil Gaiman’s finest work, American Gods is thoughtful, creative, and still timely, even though it was written more than a decade ago. It’s dense with memorable characters and settings, and the writing is clever and elegant. It’s so damn American, in fact, that you’d think that the author grew up someplace in the U.S. Though Mr. Gaiman lives in American now, he is in fact British.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Okay, so this one doesn’t always have snow. The setting shifts from tons of snow beyond the wall, to lots on the wall, to a decent amount around Winterfell, to pretty much none across the Narrow Sea and in the South (until the epilogue, that is). Also, the next installment in this series, entitled The Winds of Winter, obviously promises even more snow.

I’m listening to this one on audiobook for the second time and enjoying every moment. Some people have criticized the exalted Mr. George R.R. Martin for broadening his scope too much and taking too long to write his books. Some have even whined that he might die before finishing his series. I’ll let George speak for himself on that score…

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. No matter what you might think of this book, you’ve got to admit that there’s a heck of a lot of snow falling in the Seven Kingdoms. There are even two characters named Snow (Jon and Ramsay) to go along with the regular ol’ fluffy stuff.

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

This one isn’t necessarily my all time favorite horror novel, but it still deserves a spot on the list. It’s sufficiently creepy and atmospheric, and once the snow starts falling, the freakiness is only heightened. Plus, it turns that idyllic peaceful winter image on its head. Definitely an awesome book to read if you’re looking for a creepy winter’s tale. I wrote a review for it a while back if you’re interested. (Ironically, I read Ghost Story some time in July, when the only snow around was the icy buildup in the corners of my freezer.)

What are your favorite winter books? Feel free to mention them in the comments. Until then, stay warm!

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