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Good winter books to read
As we are approaching the winter season, it’s time to grab some winter-themed books to read during the cold and grey weather.
I don’t think I have realised the charm of a good winter book for year. Up until two years ago, I never thought of making a list of books set in winter or creating a Goodread bookshelf with the best novels for the coldest season of the year.
I read whatever books I feel like to survive the long snowy days. I indeed regret not paying much attention to cozy winter reads, ( since I adore fall reads).
But then I read The Bear and the Nightingale on one December day!
Katherine Arden’s beautiful winter-story is the first book in the Winternight Trilogy. It’s one of the best fantasy books set in winter. The enchanting novel about the young girl’s adventure was one of my favroite winter reads that transported me to a magical world.
Since then I always make sure to create a list of best books to read over winter break. Books set in cold season that sucks all the heat from your body, pushing you into the freezing wintry landscape.
By the way, when I say winter-themed books, I actually mean good winter books to read from popular genres.
In this list of winter books for adults, you can find feel-good winter books with compelling plots. If you’re a fan of the best winter mystery books or winter fantasy books you will be ecstatic to have found your next favourites
Winter is also the perfect time to reread some great classic books set in winter.
Agatha Christie has always been the queen of cozy winter mysteries, so I have also included some of her books in the list.
Also, I am a huge fan of book quotes from literature, whether it’s classic love quotes, or uplifting literature quotes, I always love writing them in my book journals which is why I have included some good winter quotes from these popular Winter themed books. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Why is winter reading so popular ?
- Colder weather: With shorter days and colder temperatures, people tend to spend more time indoors, making it the perfect opportunity to curl up with a good book and be transported to a new place.
- Holiday breaks: Winter is a time when many people have time off from work or school, providing more free time to read.
- Darker evenings: With the sun setting earlier, people tend to have more free time in the evenings to read.
- Coziness: Winter is associated with warmth and comfort, making it the perfect season to curl up with a warm blanket and a good book.
- More time spent inside: With the colder weather, people tend to spend more time inside, giving them more opportunities to read and explore different themes and emotions.
- Less outdoor activities: With less daylight and colder weather, people tend to do less outdoor activities, and reading can be a great indoor alternative.
So are you ready 19 Atmospheric Winter -Themed Books for Frosty- Chilly Days?
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Snow Child is a story of isolation and hope in the wild beauty of the Alaskan frontier.
The homesteaders Jack and Mabel just moved near the Wolverine river way. The childless couple who are in their fifties fighting their own battles.
During Alaska’s first snowfall they decide to build a snow child. And the next morning, they realise that the child has come to life.
The Snow Child is definitely one of the best books to read in winter for so many reasons. Firstly, it’s a book set in the cold and snowy environment. It also represents the themes of magical realism, fairytales and mythology. Which means even if you’re looking to read for best winter fantasy books, The Snow Child is a great choice. The book also illustrates the harsh realities of homesteading in the long Alaskan winter.
Overall The Snow Child is a beautiful books set in winter, that will transport you to the cold, wild beauty of the Alaskan frontier.
“She looked directly up into the northern lights and she wondered if those cold-burning spectres might not draw her breath, her very soul, out of her chest and into the stars”.The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman‘s intense novel Beartown narrate the story of a small community in the forest with a dwindling population.
Beartown and the people are engrossed in hockey. They believe teenage hockey players are going to change the future of the community.
Their victory in the national competition is the last resort to make the town great again.
What makes Beartown a good winter books to read is that it will transport you to a new place. You’ll find yourself in a community that pours all its hopes into a youth hockey team .
“Never trust people who don’t have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.”― Fredrik Backman, Beartown
The Shining by Stephen King
The Shining is Stephen King’s third published novel and first hardback bestseller!
The story follows Jack Torrance, a struggling writer who needs to find a place to start his life all over again. So he becomes the caretaker in a remote hotel in Colorado. As he settles in with his wife and son, who accompanied him in the new job, his son starts to have visions of the horrible incidents that had happened at the hotel.
The Shining is a spine-chilling winter horror book that is set in the cold and eerie setting. Stephen King is known for masterfully crafting of slow-paced stories that can gradually transform into gut-wrenching terror.
Find the full list of Stephen King’s novels that you will love reading this winter!
Winter by Ali Smith
This is the second novel in Ali Smith’s tetralogy.
Winter follows four people. Two middle-aged, estranged sisters and two strangers, who pretend to be in a relationship. All of them come together to live in a mansion in Cornwall.
Although the story takes place during the Christmas season, Smith infuses so much more political and social issues in the novel.
If you’re in search of thought-provoking and immersive novels to read in winter, Winter by Ali Smith is a good choice. The classic and utterly original writing make Winter, an unputdownable book for cold and blustery days.
“That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.”― Ali Smith, Winter
Girl in Winter by Philip Larkin
A Girl in Winter is one such novel that might feel like a meditation. There are several parts to the novel. In the first we follow the life of a refugee girl during a harsh winter in England .
She works at the local library during the second world war. Later, we learn more about her life as a 16 year old.
Set in England, this coming of age novel is a classic winter mystery.
A Girl in Winter is a beautifully haunting novel in a winter setting with the themes of loss and innocence.
If you want to enjoy more books set in England in winter season, check this post. 29 of The Best Historical Books Set in England
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
If you’re into horror books set in winter with creepy settings and an eerie atmosphere, I would HIGHLY recommend Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People.
The story is set in West Hall, Vermont, a town known for its many secrets. The most notable is the mysterious death of Sara Harrison Shea, who was found dead in 1908. Nineteen-year-old Ruthie and her family are the present day occupants of Sara’s house.
But it seems the history is about to repeat as one morning Ruthie’s mother goes missing.
“If snow melts down to water, does it still remember being snow?” Jennifer McMahon, The Winter People
Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie
You can’t have a winter reading list without including the books from Queen of mysteries, Agatha Christie.
This new collection of winter-themed stories is a perfect read for a cold, stormy night. The book consists of twelve stories of mystery and suspense that features everyone’s favorite Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple.
These perfectly plotted Christmas adventures are sure to boost the spirit of the holiday season.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Cold Mountain is a sweeting tale of an American civil war soldier who goes to AWOL and makes an exhausting journey back to Cold Mountain. It’s a tumultuous tale of the civil war in America.
Cold Mountain is a literary masterpiece that is often compared to Homer’s Odyssey for its poetic nature. On the surface level it’s the story of Inman and Ada, their old lives and the life that they’ve been dreaming to live together. But there is also the bewildered physical journey of the character, making through the snowy, cold and wet paths.
The key element that makes Cold Mountain one of the best books set in winter, is the writing. Inman’s battle with nature, describing the weather and the lives of people, Cold Mountain is a beautifully composed novel that you should read in winter time.
The Terror by Dan Simmons
While compiling the book set in winter, I want to include book that take in slightly different setting that how why I chose Dan Simmons’ novel The Terror.
Now this horror story is set in the Arctic but what makes this novel even more enthralling is that The Arctic, itself is a main character of the story. The story follows the 1845 Franklin Expedition in search of the legendary Northwest Passage.
The looming darkness and freezing temperature throughout the novel make the book a perfect book to read in winter.
“Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. It has no plan, no point, no hidden mysteries that make up for the oh-so-obvious miseries and banalities.”Dan Simmons, The Terror
Winter Street Series by Elin hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand’s Christmas-themed novel weaves together the dysfunctional family drama and winter romance.
Quinn family is looking forward to their holiday family gathering, but just before that the unexpected events cause a family chaos. Kelley Quinn, the owner of Winter Street Inn and the father of four, finds out about his second-wife’s affair.
But the drama doesn’t end there. The family has a lot of problems that might jeopardise their relationship with each other. Find more fun and festive holiday-themed books here
One is given only a certain number of Christmases in one’s life.” Elin hilderbrand, Winter Street
Greenglass House Series by Kate Milford
Greenglass House Series is a captivating mystery novel for middle graders but also greatly loved by adult readers.
The story takes place on the frosty winter days at Green Glasshouse. Twelve-year-old Milo encounters secretive guests, each with their own mysterious stories that involve the house.
From snow drifts to chilly nights an epic atmospheric series to indulge in.
“Nobody said it had to be a story with an ending all neatly tied up like some ridiculous fairy tale. This story’s true, and true stories don’t have endings, because things just keep going.”― Kate Milford, Greenglass House
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This irresistible debut novel winter-story takes you to the Russian wilderness, to the life of quick-witted Vasya.
She loves everything about winter, especially the time spent listening to the nurse’s fairytales about the blue-eyed winter demon. When her stepmother refuses to serve the creature of the forest, Vasya senses a darkness in the village. This dark fairy-tale is a must-read during the cold months.
“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me. Please. Please let me help you.”― Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Christina Lawrence’s New York Times bestselling novel is a quintessential Christmas, holiday romance that revolves around the choices made by the central character Maelyn Jones.
Having celebrated their week-long holidays, the family and friends of Maelyn are about to leave the cabin. She secretly wishes for the thing that will make her most happy. And just like she wished for, it’s been granted to her. A charming YA winter novel to read during the chilly nights. Find more atmospheric YA reads!
“The only person whose expectations you have to live up to is yourself.”― Christina Lauren, In a Holidaze
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Jack London’s masterpiece is set in the wildness of Canada and Alaska.
The novel begins with Buck,- half St. Bernard and half sheepdog. He leads a prosperous life as a household dog on the ranch of California. Later, Buck is kidnapped and transported to wildlife as a sledge dog in Alaska.
Soon Buck becomes ferocious and savage in nature. He learns to fight for food and sleep beneath the snow on frosty nights.
A classic winter adventure novel you should read.
“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”― Jack London, The Call of the Wild
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah’s New York Times bestselling novel follows dysfunctional a family, destined to follow an untamed life in the wild of Alaska.
Ernt Allbright’s wife and daughter are incapable of confronting his impulsive decisions, including his recent choice to move to Alaska. Thirteen-year-old Leni is both anxious and excited about this new life, but she secretly hopes that the new land can give her family a new start. But soon when winter approaches, their life in the remote corner of life gets hard and miserable.
A heartwrenching novel that describes the hardships of Alaskan winter. Find full list of Kristin Hannah’s books
“You know what they say about finding a man in Alaska—the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”― Kristin Hannah, The Great Alone
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
C.S Lewi’s fantasy novel follows four siblings- Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy who has been sent to their country house during World War II.
But soon they are about to explore the magical world- the enchanted Narnia, where the evil white witch has imposed eternal winter. The four of them along with Aslan, the Lion are about to fight for the people of Narnia.
One of the best novels for winter that is worth adding to your seasonal reading list.
“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes, in the end, a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier
This delightful holiday mystery follows Sophie, who works as an intern at the hotel in the Swiss mountains.
As New Year’s Eve ball is about to take place, Sophie is busy keeping up with the daily tasks. But soon mysteries are about to unfold, causing grave danger to everyone including Sophie.
A cozy winter read for the fans of Agatha Christie novels.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is a retelling of the Nordic fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Set in the atmospheric Viking world, the story follows the nameless young girl , the Lass who has the gift of communicating with the animals, meets a giant bear who offers her family a luxurious life, if she joins him in the castle for a year.
As the Lass visits the castle with the bear, she soon realises that the beautiful icy castle holds many secrets.
As she tries to solve the mystery of the palace, the bear gets enraged with her.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is a good winter book that promises a Norwegian fairy tale, set in a land of eternal winter.
The sweet retelling of Nordic Ice Bear saga is a great book to read in winter, especially if you’re a fan of myth retelling books
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
New York Times bestselling author Maeve Binchy’s final novel A Week in Winter is a spellbinding tale of hope, community and friendship.
Set in a small coastal town, the story follows a group of people who spend one week in an Irish holiday house. When Chicky Starr decides to turn the decaying mansion in her hometown into a holiday spot, the villagers aren’t impressed,but that’s until the guests start to arrive.
If you’re in search of cozy winter books that actually compliment the chilly weather, A Week in Winter is a good choice. The story surrounding the bleak-but-mesmerizing Stone House country inn with warm giant kitchen, old-fashioned log fires, and elegant bedroom makes A Week in Winter a must-read winter-themed novel.
Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice is a heartwarming winter read that tells the story of five lonely strangers. When a tragedy brings together five strangers for the Christmas holidays in Scotland, their lives will be changed forever. Told in multiple perspectives, it’s is a tender tale of humanity.
Winter Solstice is one such great winter read that will make you forget about the dark gloomy days. Instead the novel will pull you into the lives of unforgettable characters.
With the themes of love, tragedy and redemption, Winter Solstice is an absorbing novel that you should read on a cold winter day.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Secret History is an inverted detective story that revolves around the tightly knit group of six students of Hampden College and one of the classmates’ murder.
The group is a part of an invitation-only Ancient Greek program which is run by the mysterious Julian Morrow.
The Secret History is good book to read in winter, for its intensity and thrilling elements.
The masterfully written plot infused with entertainment, intelligence, and suspense make The Secret History one of the best psychological thriller books to read in winter.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman recreates an epic version of the great Norse myths.
From the creation of the nine worlds to Loki, Thor and Ragnarok, Gaiman adopts his own style and language to describe these stories.
There is humour, drama and action and a lot of complex characters that will take you to the world of mythology.
“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”― Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Winter Garden illuminates the complex mother-daughter relationship and the enduring links throughout their lives.
Anya has never been an affectionate mother. Her daughters Meredith and Nina gave up the idea of trying to know their Russian born mother. But now their father’s unexpected illness has brought the sisters even closer.
However, their father unusual request startles them both. He wants them to get to know more about their emotionally detached mother.
One of the best books to read in winter for sure!
“To lose love is a terrible thing. But to turn away from it is unbearable. Will you spend the rest of your life replaying it in your head? Wondering if you walked away too soon or too easily? Or if you’ll ever love anyone that deeply again?”― Kristin Hannah, Winter Garden
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Moon of the Crusted is a suspenseful novel that’s centred around the remote Anishnaabe community in northern Canada.
As winter is arriving, the community suffers because of insufficient food and other necessary supplies. However, soon they realise they are completely cut off from the outside world. Amidst the chaos, an unexpected visitor arrives.
This post-apocalyptic, slow-burn novel would be a good winter read.
“Fear squeezed itself into the gym.”― Waubgeshig Rice, Moon of the Crusted Snow
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton’s Ethan From is melancholic distress and forbidden love.
Ethan Frame is a struggling farmer who is in a complex relationship with his wife Zeenie. When the vivacious and charming Mattie Silver comes to live with them, Frome finds himself attracted to her.
This compelling gothic fiction is the perfect classic winter story to curl up with.
“They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.”― Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
Which are some of your all time favorite cozy books to read in winter?
What books would you like to reread during the chilly nights?
Let me know in the comments.
Always curious to hear from you,
Find more novels for winter