Abby's Picks of the Week: January 23, 2023 Cozy Books for the Snowy Days of Winter:
by Abby Flancher, Staff Writer
Cozy Books for the Snowy Days of Winter:
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.”
In the midst of a war-torn country, four siblings are sent away with the rest of London’s children in order to escape the carriage that war brings. When Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy arrive at their new home far out in the country, they discover a secret world hidden in the back of a wardrobe called Narnia. It is a magical place where beavers talk and make supper for visitors, and fawns stroll idly through the snow carrying parcels and umbrellas. Though that snow never melts. While there the children learn of a great power in Narnia that keeps the world frozen and cold. They also learn of a prophecy that tells of four children that could bring an end to the everlasting Winter.
When it is snowy outside, the common feeling between people is the innate desire to curl up at home under a blanket and hide from the freezing winds of the season at hand. The first book in the Narnia series is the book that people should take under the covers with them to escape into. Every single page drips with a sort of magic and light that captures the beauty of the season. The love and care between the four siblings is utterly heartwarming. This book is the literary embodiment of getting cozy under the covers while snow falls outside your window.
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
“Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening Hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.”
Lyra is a young girl living at Jordan College, Oxford with her daemon when her world is flipped upside down. The Gobblers, a mysterious group of children snatching horrors, have taken her best friend and the only way she could possibly hope to get him back is to take the dangerous journey to the far North into a new world where witches thrive and armored bears roam. She ventures into a new and dangerous part of her world and discovers the people attempting to connect one. People like her Uncle Azriel.
While Narnia tells a story of a beautiful world where the darkness never sees like it will truly win, The Golden Compass tells a story steeped in mystery and darkness. It isn’t a necessarily dark story but it does have deeper twists and turns that lead down a shadowy tale of betrayal and dark magic. All of this takes place in the snowy world of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl with the determination and bravery to take on world ending foes.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
“All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Now Anna Karenina is a little bit different from the first two stories on this list. Unlike Narnia and The Golden Compass, Anna Karenina is not a middle grade or young adult read. This book is far more challenging and difficult to parse through but that does not mean its enthralling story is not worth experiencing. Winter is a very slow, comfy, meandering time of the year so there is no better time to pick it up. It is a brick of a novel that explores themes of love and grief. Even though this book takes place throughout every season of the year, the description of each of them is so vivid and comforting that it is perfect for the calm winter months.
This book follows two love stories that intertwine and play out beside each other over the course of the novel. The first story is between Anna Karenina, a young married woman, and a young man named Vronsky. The second is between two characters named Kitty and Levon. Tolstoy is a master at creating a story that feels truly and viscerally. Each character is fully formed and memorable despite the mountains of pages, containing a plethora of new people to meet and explore.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”
Even though Christmas has passed, the story of the March sisters is one that has the ability to bring comfort and joy throughout the whole year. This story follows the four sisters in the March family and the trials and tribulations they face as a family. Meg, Amy, Beth, and Jo are each characters that I personally have grown up with and grown to love. Once you read this book you begin to see the four of them, not only in yourself, but in the people around you.
While it is true that there are seemingly many other stories that could be far more interesting to spend time reading, this story feels like a peek into the lives of a real family. I adore reading about daring journeys, magical adventures, and unbelievably tragic romance. I can’t help but sometimes want to see the life that I live reflected in a book. I have never had sisters but I grew up in a house full of brothers. The experiences aren’t exactly the same as those of the March sisters but the stories of childish greed, unnecessary squabbles, and undying love for each other is something that I have personally lived with my brothers. This book brings me immense aunts of comfort and I truly hope that anyone that picks it up can experience the same amount of joy I felt at seeing my own childhood reflected in the words on the page.
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
“The silence of the snow, thought the man sitting just behind the bus driver. If this were the beginning of a poem, he would have called the thing he felt the silence of the snow.”
One of the most beautiful things about winter is the snow. And no I definitely do not mean the piles of dirty snow steadily growing in the parking lots around town, nor do I mean the tedious snow that coats peoples cars in the morning to the point of being unable to leave the house on time. I mean the snow when you watch it glide softly past the street lights outside your house. I mean the fields of snow that you run through with your friends and toss around at each other until your noses have turned into bright colored cherries that rest upon your face. Orhan Pamuk writes about the beauty of snow and the people that inhabit the world around it for it is snowing throughout the entire story.
Ka is a man returning to Istanbul after receiving news about his mother’s death only to find that he world that he grew up in has changed from one of childhood memory to one that has been plagued by the suicides of many young women after the banning of head scarves in schools. He travels to the city of Kar to investigate but also to visit Ipek, a woman that he desperately wants to love and love him in return. This enthralling tale of political battles and warring hearts is undoubtedly enough to keep readers completely entranced by every word. It is the perfect book to read while you sit under a blanket by an open window, while listening to the silence of the snow.