Saturday Seven: Cold Weather Reads

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Since this is the first Saturday Seven, I’ll explain it briefly for my readers. It’s a weekly meme for writers, bloggers, and book lovers in general. Every week you pick any book, writer, or author-related topic you’d like and make a list of seven things that fit it. Go click on the link above if you’d like to learn more about this meme or if you want to read the contributions from other bloggers.

I talk about science fiction and fantasy quite a bit here, so many of my future Saturday Seven posts will probably be related to those genres somehow. If hashtags were a thing in blogs, I’d end this paragraph with #YouHaveBeenWarned. Ha!

It’s been bone-chillingly cold here in Toronto over the past few weeks. Temperatures like -25 C (-13 F for you Americans) have often been our daytime high when you factor in the windchill. We’ve had multiple extreme weather alerts, and our city government has opened extra warming shelters to keep everyone who is living on the streets alive through this cold snap.

I feel very grateful, indeed, to have a warm, safe place to live. While we’re waiting for the weather to warm up a few dozen degrees, I’ve been thinking about books that are best read when it’s far too cold to go outside for non-essential reasons.

1. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

As freezing as Ontario is at the moment, at least we know that our winter weather generally ends by April. The citizens of Narnia had no such guarantee!

2. The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel.

While this is the second instalment in the Earth’s Children series, they can all be read as standalone works. This tale follows the adventures of a teenage girl named Ayla who attempts to survive in a harsh Palaeolithic landscape on her own for years on end. I wasn’t even allowed to ride my bike past a certain point in our neighbourhood when I was her age, so I’m always fascinated by how someone so young survived all of the challenges that came her way.

3. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.

Wang Lung and his wife struggled so hard to survive. I always enjoy reading about how closely their well-being was tied to what the climate was like and how their crops did in any particular year.

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

The chapters that dealt with Jane’s years as a student and teacher at Lowood School are an especially good read on chilly days. Even something as simple as a cup of hot tea and a piece of fruit feels like a luxury when you’re in that section of the storyline.

5. Robert Frost’s Poems by Robert Frost.

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “Mending the Wall,” and of course the classic “The Road Not Taken” are a few of the best poems to read from him on days like today.

6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

While I’m not a huge fan of gardening in real life, I did enjoy the descriptions of how Mary and Colin coaxed the abandoned garden back to life in this story after winter passed. They made it sound like such a magical process.

7. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

This was my least-favourite Little House book the first time I read that series. I couldn’t imagine how Laura Ingalls and her family would survive such a long, snowy, and bitterly cold winter while they were also running out of food. My subsequent readings of it were much more enjoyable, although I still always wince when I reach the scene where Almanzo risks his life to leave town and buy wheat to keep everyone alive until spring.

What are your favourite cold weather reads? I don’t host comments on this blog, but I’d love to discuss it with you on Twitter.

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