Books for a Snow Day

Snow days are great for so many things: sleeping in, eating comfort food, and snuggling under a warm blanket in your best pajamas with a good book. Here are some recommendations for books that will make your snow day the best ever.

Long Journeys

If you have a lot of time on your hands or feel inclined to start a longer book to fill your day, here are some options.

Here’s one from my TBR: The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett. This modern classic is nearly 1,000 pages, but don’t let that scare you off. From what I’ve heard, it’s full of intrigue, action, and romance in 12th century England.

The Accursed is a gothic tale of psychological horror by Joyce Carol Oates. Clocking in at just under 700 pages, it would be a great page-turner to read while sitting by the fire.

And the longest book on this list is Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. It’s an epic story set in an England where magic is real and very dangerous. As an added bonus, it has footnotes. I love novels with footnotes.

Suspenseful Stories

Cold, grey snow days are a natural for scary stories. Just don’t let the chill get too deep.

Laird Hunt‘s In the House in the Dark of the Woods is a short book that packs a powerful punch. Set in colonial New England, it’s about a woman who goes to pick berries and becomes lost, ending up in the titular location. I can’t say any more for fear of spoiling anything.

Two books by Leila Slimani would be great for this list. You could choose The Perfect Nanny, but you could just as easily go with Adèle. Both are literary fiction books written in the style of a psychological thriller and both are capable of devouring in a single day.

The protagonist of Evie Wyld‘s All the Birds, Singing, lives alone in an isolated farmhouse on a British island. Something is killing her sheep every few nights. Is it an animal, or something from her past coming back?

Short Fictions

If neither of the above sections sounded interesting, good news: the world of fiction has plenty of offerings that won’t occupy too much of your time.

Dept. of Speculation is Jenny Offill‘s short (179 pages) but powerful novella about marriage, trust, and intimacy. It’s the story of a wife examining her marriage and all its ups and downs over time. It’s well worth your time.

David Levithan‘s book The Lover’s Dictionary is the story of a relationship told in the format of a dictionary, with each letter telling a part of the story. I don’t always like quirky setups, but this one is executed very well.

One of the benefits of a short story collection is that you can read as many (or as few) as you choose. I’d recommend Lucia Berlin‘s spectacular collection A Manual for Cleaning Women. Her stories are like potato chips: you might think you’re only going to have one, but the next thing you know the whole bag is empty.

Have a Laugh

If all else fails, I’m willing to bet you like to laugh.

Sarah Vowel‘s Assassination Vacation certainly isn’t conventionally funny–it is, after all, a nonfiction book about each President of the United States who has been assassinated–but the way she tells the stories is captivating and surprisingly laugh-out-loud amusing. This is the book that taught me that I actually like nonfiction. A lot.

If you like office comedies, may I recommend Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris? It’s a sharply observed comedy about office manners with a surprisingly heavy twist that somehow doesn’t miss a single beat.

Of course, you could always go with Tina Fey, the queen of funny. Her book, Bossypants, is an undisputed delight. I could honestly read her words all day every day.

Great Snow Day Reads

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