Winter Reading

IMG_3141The snow is deep and the cold continues. It’s hard to get outside much. Every single day for the past month I have walked our dog with snow shoes on because it’s too hard to walk across the snow without them. Even so, more than once I have sunk in deep, as much as three feet into drifts and snow banks. Louie, too, tires of sinking deep, and often just walks behind me in my tracks.

But our house is very snug- well insulated and without drafts. We have wished at times for an authentic wood fireplace, but our electric one suffices for ambiance and warmth, and we are just as happy to not be carrying in wood, sweeping up wood scraps, carrying out ash.

So I have sat inside by our fireplace and done quite a bit of reading. Here are a few I can recommend from the last few months.

Oh, and by the way: JOIN a BOOKCLUB. I would never have chosen some of these books on my own. I get stuck in my favorite genres or authors, but a book club obligates me to read something else, something other. And that’s a good thing.

Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros.   I am impressed by the way she advances a plot by the mere use of brief snapshots. Her descriptions of place are wonderful- her words paint vivid pictures of whatever or whomever she’s describing.

The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore.   Based on the true story of the rivalry between Thomas Edison and John Westinghouse. Who among us stops to think about those days in America before electrification? Or of the people who were foresighted enough to know their inventions could change everything?

Prairie Fires, by Caroline Fraser.  If you grew up loving the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I’m not sure I recommend this. It’s a look at the harsh and brutal conditions of the REAL Ingalls, moving from place to place because of poverty. In the Little House series, we knew the Ingalls lived simply, but there seemed to be optimism, laughter, song, love. In this well-researched biography, she portrays the true Ingalls’ lives as more hardscrabble with less cheer and light. I guess I am glad to read the truth, but it also makes me a little sad.

Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter  by Jean Pendziwol and Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. I read these almost back to back, so truthfully they are a little muddled in my mind. But both are written beautifully and took me to a time in history and place other than here- and I love when books have that kind of power.

Happy Reading!



3 thoughts on “Winter Reading

  1. Thank you for the book suggestions. We are in a book club and have read books we had never heard of and enjoyed them. We love the four seasons and we don’t mean the New York restaurant. This winter reminds us of “winters of old” before brine and salt. When it was below zero for a week only sand was scattered about the road curves. A beautiful white landscape. We have a natural wood fireplace and go through 2 cords of wood per year. It is a daily chore that at some point, we will have to switch to propane. We love your Notations!


  2. Can’t get over the beauty of the snow but that’s the only nice thing I can say about winter. Good for you to get out everyday and for all that reading you’re doing. Thanks for the book recommendations. And, a book club would be good for me…maybe in the future if/when retirement permits.


  3. I’m happy to get your book recommendations and I totally agree with your book club advice. I’d never have read Ulysses without being in a book group. Ugh on the snow drifts — may you see some signs of spring soon.


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