Hello from the frozen tundra that is Kansas City. Our fireplace is getting a workout, I’m drinking at least one cup of hot chocolate a day, and I’m spending a lot of my spare time with my covers piled high and reading, reading, reading.
Here are my winter-themed book suggestions. I’d love to hear yours.
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
Since then I’ve read many a charming Binchy novel, with their Irish characters and settings, and I’ve never been disappointed.
Margaret Flanagan of Booklist gives this synopsis of A Week in Winter, Maeve’s last novel:
Stone House, a country inn on the West Coast of Ireland, is owned and operated by Chicky Starr, a Stoneybridge native lately returned after living a largely lonely life in the U.S., and it serves as the cozy setting for these interrelated tales of love, loss, friendship, and community. Specializing in winter holidays, Stone House plays host to a variety of guests whose lives are bound to change for the better once they succumb to both its vintage charms and the restorative powers of companionship and human kindness.
And from People magazine: “Reading this novel is like ducking out of a cold rain into a fire-warmed pub filled with laughter.”
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
“The days are long, but the years are short. Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.“
What came out of that realization was Gretchen’s self-described, year-long happiness project. While you don’t have to read The Happiness Project at the beginning of a new year, it’s kind of interesting to do so since the chapters are organized by month starting with January: Boost Energy.
Other chapters are February: Remember Love, March:Aim Higher, April: Lighten Up, May: Be Serious About Play, June: Make Time for Friends, July: Buy Some Happiness, August: Contemplate the Heavens, September: Pursue a Passion, October: Pay Attention, November: Keep a Contented Heart, December: Boot Camp Perfect.
My book club read The Happiness Project and there were some strong opinions on it. Some loved the book enough to buy multiple copies for friends and family. Others found Gretchen too self-absorbed. My own opinion was somewhere in between but I was glad to have read it and I enjoyed the very lively discussion that resulted.
Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand
The Christmas plot line is a departure for Elin Hilderbrand, who has been called the Queen of the Summer Novel, but Winter Street has the same elements that make her summer books so compelling: strong female characters, complicated family dynamics, and a memorable setting, namely the island of Nantucket, where Elin lives.
Her website offers this synopsis:
Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.
I will warn you that the ending of Winter Street leaves things a bit up in the air; a little too up in the air for some. But Elin has shared that there will be not one but two sequels to this novel, which helps explains things a bit. In any event I will always read anything Elin writes (she writes her books in longhand by the way) because I enjoy her stories and characters that much.
As for my winter reading list, my book club is reading these two books in January and February:
Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James. The East Coast of England. Murders on a college campus. A Scotland Yard detective. I was thrilled to download this to my Kindle because I was craving a mystery to curl up with. I’ve also never read anything by P.D. James, who is a British mystery legend, so I was especially looking forward to this one. I’m a little more than halfway through and I’m enjoying it.
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. I read this a few years back and I remember liking it. Downton Abbey fans will particularly enjoy this story of a character similar to Cora, the American wife to Lord Grantham.
So, I’d love to know…what are you reading?
P.S. If you’ve made it this far, you probably enjoy books. Are you also on Pinterest? I keep track on Pinterest of the books I’ve read. I also have boards for the books I want to read, ideas for living with books (great eye candy!), and all things books, authors and libraries. I’d love to connect with you there.
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