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my favorite winter reads

it’s winter in new england, which means it’s time to wrap yourself in flannel, string lights all over the house and seek shelter from the cold/snow/wind/ice with a book. my first instinct was to compile a list of rom-com-like books, but i do that way too often, so i thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight the stories i love to get lost in on snow days, not beach days.

(links lead to goodreads. please consider shopping with your local indie bookstore to read these! they need you more than amazon does.)

the starless sea by erin morgenstern

“far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the starless sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. the entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. but those who seek will find. their doors have been waiting for them.”

this book is insane. the concept, the writing, the characters, the small details that all wind themselves together—i was hooked from the start. definitely a world i wish i could go back to for the first time. (also i couldn’t fit the whole synopsis in, so go read it on goodreads!)

listen while you read: the lighthouse keeper – sam smith

the invisible life of addie larue by v.e. schwab

“france, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. thus begins the extraordinary life of addie larue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. but everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.”

i recently reviewed this, and i stand by everything i said in the review. go read it and then come talk to me about henry please.

listen while you read: awake my soul – mumford & sons

the night circus by erin morgenstern

“the circus arrives without warning. no announcements precede it. it is simply there, when yesterday it was not. within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. it is called le cirque des rêves, and it is only open at night. but behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, celia and marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. despite themselves, however, celia and marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.”

erin morgenstern deserves a repeat because both of her books are so different yet so enchanting in their own ways (and their synopses are SO long). haven’t revisited this one in a while, but it was such an enthralling read that i want to go back as soon as i can.

listen while you read: mirrorball – taylor swift

the raven boys by maggie stiefvater

“an unlikely group stumbles across ancient magic in virginia: blue, the daughter of the town psychic in henrietta, virginia, who has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. gansey, who seeks the welsh magic he believes saved his life. adam, who searches for a way out of the circumstances he was born into. ronan, who seeks to recover the magic of his childhood.”

this book—and the rest of the series that follows it—is so beautifully put together. the characters are so wonderfully constructed, and while the plot is super complex, it really encourages you to stay for a while with the group. also, a really nice fantasy that isn’t a basic kind of magic.

listen while you read: ghost – halsey

salt to the sea by ruta sepetys

“while the titanic and lusitania are both well-documented disasters, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history is the little-known january 30, 1945 sinking in the baltic sea by a soviet submarine of the wilhelm gustloff, a german cruise liner that was supposed to ferry wartime personnel and refugees to safety from the advancing red army. the ship was overcrowded with more than 10,500 passengers — the intended capacity was approximately 1,800 — and more than 9,000 people, including 5,000 children, lost their lives. sepetys crafts four fictionalized but historically accurate voices to convey the real-life tragedy. joana, a lithuanian with nursing experience; florian, a prussian soldier fleeing the nazis with stolen treasure; and emilia, a polish girl close to the end of her pregnancy, converge on their escape journeys as russian troops advance; each will eventually meet albert, a nazi peon with delusions of grandeur, assigned to the gustloff decks.”

this is on the list for anyone who loves sad shit! i love this author’s historical fiction, but just a forewarning that this book is about a great tragedy. it’s an amazing read, but if you’re not in the mood for sobbing, scroll past.

listen while you read: never let me go – florence + the machine

heartless by marissa meyer

“catherine may be one of the most desired girls in wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried king of hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. a talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. but according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen. then cath meets jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. for the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. at the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. but in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.”

i love fairy tale retellings in general, but this idea was so great in concept and in execution that now i want marissa meyer to write villain origin stories forever. her character development makes the ending *fist clench* that much more impactful.

listen while you read: unsteady – x ambassadors

what are your favorite kind of books to read on snowy days? let me know in the comments!

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