Writer in Residence Winter Reads

Join our Writer in Residence Arthur Slade as he guides us through winter with a handful of excellent winter reads. 

"Well, it's winter. That time when we sit back, put our feet up on the furnace or fireplace and settle into a heartwarming book. Or a literary masterpiece. Or a book where all your favourite characters die and nothing happy happens. 

Personally I love winter because it allows me to read guilt free. In the summer when it's 30 degrees Celsius out, I should be soaking up the sun. But winter. Winter is so long. It's so cold. No one expects you to be outside. 

So here are a few books that have to do with winter."

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Once Upon a Northern Night
Jean E. Pendziwol

A wonderful picture book that brings the perfection of winter to life. This is a great book to read to your child (or yourself). Both the prose and images capture the stillness of that perfect winter night. 

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A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones
George R.R. Martin

"Winter is Coming!" They shout this over and over throughout the whole series. When really they should say, "Your favourite character is going to die!" If you like your action bloody and your plot twists heart-wrenchingly painful, then this is the series for you. Game of Thrones has a very Saskatchewany feel to it. Well, we always say, "Winter is coming." But we usually add, "Put on your winter tires." 

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The Golden Compass 
Philip Pullman

There is a huge connection between winter and fantasy novels. The Golden Compass is no exception. It is the magical adventure of Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. Her travels take her to so many places, but the most important trip of all is when she goes to the home of the armoured polar bears. Armoured bears! Who talk and fight wars. They make Pooh bear look like...well... a honey bear. Anyway, much of the magic takes place in the North under the shining Northern Lights. A true classic. 

**Librarian Tip: Follow-up with the prequel to this series, Once Upon a Time in the North, another great winter related fantasy novel, set in the same world. You can never have too many fighting bears! 

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

What's that? There's a magical world on the other side of that wardrobe? I'm in! Oh wait, an evil queen has made it so that winter has lasted for 100 years. As long as I can get a magical toque, I'll be there. This is another classic tale of fantasy and adventure. Narnia is a land where lions talk. Where beavers talk. And giants get names like Rumblebuffin. So be careful. Don't get turned into stone. And don't eat Turkish Delight.

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Alan Moore

This is not so much a novel about winter. It's actually about 1000 years in the history of the English town of Northhampton. Oh, and it's 1, 266 pages long. I'm sure it must mention winter at least once. But it's not on the list because of that. Many people find winter to be long. But this book, well, it is longer than winter. It is longer than an eon. Read it and by the time you are done, winter will be over. And, if for some reason your furnace fails (or an apocalypse comes), throw it in the fireplace. The book will burn all winter long. 

Ummm...if you have the library's copy, don't follow that last suggestion. You'll be expected to bring it back, apocalypse or not. 

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The Snow Queen
H.C. Andersen

Why not read the first classic of winter. Long before Frozen, there was The Snow Queen