There is a reason why many animals opt to hibernate throughout the winter. Sadly, for us humans, we don’t necessarily have that opportunity. Instead, we are forced to continue our usual routines throughout the winter months no matter the weather.
Most of the United States continues to be rocked by harsh winter weather, which makes it the perfect time to stay inside with a good book. Here are a few suggestions to add to your winter reading list to carry you through the spring thaw.
- A suggested winter reading list
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- Booked to Die by John Dunning
- The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
- The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
- The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
- Ex-Libris by Ross King
- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- Malazan Books of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
- Heroics for Beginners by John Moore
- Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin
- The Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
A suggested winter reading list
Fantastic winter reading list suggestions from leading authors including
Carlos Ruiz Zafron, John Dunning and Matthew Pearl.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
If I continue these lists for the next 50 years, this book will still be the first out of the gate. It has moved into a tie with The Razor’s Edge as my all-time favourite. It touches on such diverse topics as forbidden love, the Spanish Civil War, and the innate need we have for books.
It layers all of these things on the mystery of why a disfigured man is burning all of the copies of books by Julian Carax, an obscure author whose novel, The Shadow of the Wind, was discovered by the main character Daniel Sempere when he was 10. But be sure you have a lot of free time when you start this one; I stayed up all night reading the last 250 pages.
Booked to Die by John Dunning
The first novel in Dunning’s “Bookman” series is a minor classic, especially if you’re a fan of the biblio-mystery genre or a book collector. It’s the story of a Denver cop-turned-rare book dealer Cliff Janeway, and it will teach you a lot about the book trade while taking you on a mystery thrill ride at the same time. Best of all, it has one of the best surprise endings of any mystery I’ve ever read.
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
The story of a young Baltimore attorney who makes it his personal cause to defend the recently-deceased Poe’s reputation from the rumours that he drank himself to death. Pearl weaves a gripping fictional story around historical fact, much of it newly discovered as he was researching this book. Anything to do with Poe is perfect for a stormy winter night.
Have you read any of these classics? Maybe it’s time to add them to your winter reading list
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Forget all of the movies you’ve seen; if this is your first time reading the novel, you are in for a treat. The mix of fiction with French history takes you back to another place and time, and D’Artagnan, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis provide more rollicking adventures than Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy combined.
The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
There really aren’t any sub-par Lincoln/Child books, especially ones that feature FBI Special Agent Pendergast, but for whatever reason, I liked this one the best. This is a great novel on its own, and a crucial introduction before starting the Brimstone trilogy.
Ex-Libris by Ross King
In seventeenth-century London, an antiquarian bookseller named Isaac Inchbold is called upon to restore a private library destroyed during the English Civil War. This seemingly simple task pulls Inchbold into a deadly search for a lost manuscript amid the political and religious upheaval of 1600s Europe.
Do you have space on your winter reading list for a series from Steven Erikson?
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Zafon’s semi-prequel to The Shadow of the Wind. The Angel’s Game is the story of David Martín, a young Barcelona author with a troubled past who writes crime novels under a pseudonym. As he struggles with his love for a woman he cannot have, he also realizes that his talent has been sold to the highest (in fact only) bidder, and despair overtakes him.
Then he receives a surprising and lucrative offer from a mysterious French publisher to write a book that will change people’s lives forever. He accepts the offer, only to learn that his new situation is far more deadly than the first. This novel is the perfect way to end a winter of great reading.
Malazan Books of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
I suggest these to most only hesitantly, not because they aren’t good, they are my favourite books after all. I do this instead because they are heavy and dark. If you want something happy well, don’t come here. Ever. Steven Erikson’s Books of the Fallen are depressing at their best.
He’s an anthropologist and his incredibly deep and rich fantasy world reflects it. I’ve never read anything with deeper cultures that create more complex interactions and characters. At the same time as this rich and depth comes a brutal approach to story-telling.
Things happen that shock me, characters die that would never in another universe and it’s that gritty and somewhat realistic approach to a fantasy world that I find so refreshing and worthwhile. I suggest to you with a warning, however, don’t expect to be smiling. The read is enjoyable, but in that deep way where you’ve seen something incredible, not the bright way where something is cute or funny.
Heroics for Beginners by John Moore
Maybe just to outweigh the books of the fallen I’m listing some much lighter works now. Heroics for Beginners is hilarious, commenting and teasing more usual fantastic works. It’s hard to explain other than it turns tropes on their side, plays them to the hilt, and simply provides an entertaining and quick read.
If I had any criticism it would be that, it just went by too fast.
Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin
Another hilarious look at fantasy Skeeve (Later the Great) and Aahz are wonderful, rich characters in a comical and entertaining world that manages to provide a humorous outlook without bordering on ridiculous.
Enter here to find the Klahds from Klah, Perverts from Perv, Deveels from Deva, and other such Demons that travel the Dimensions. Skeeve is truly entertaining as a character, and while the books sometimes go by very quickly what I enjoyed most was the growth of characters from book to book. Their actions have an effect on them over time and it’s refreshing to have it so well illustrated.
The Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
Be warned right here, that if you aren’t okay with homo-sexuality you won’t be okay with the books. Sorry about the spoiler but well…there it is. They were the first books that I ever read that had homo-sexuality so prominently in them and I found them engaging and entertaining. Mercedes Lackey is a master of her craft and she exhibits it in this trilogy recording the last Herald Mage and his saga.
Which of these books will you be adding to your winter reading list?