5 novels to get through the cold season

Five books to read to get through the cold season

It’s the end of January and there is a feeling of unrest in the air. No matter who you talk to, everyone has enough of winter and the cold, dark days. We are ready for Spring.

Still, I’m trying to embrace this, mostly unloved season of the year. I’m trying to take it slow, rest a lot and spend my evenings reading instead of out in the cold. From time to time, I challenge myself to go on a weekday Netflix fast (so I only watch on the weekends) and I started again this January. This way, I have freed up a few of my evenings for some great books that have been waiting on my nightstand. Extra bonus: Reading in the evenings is so much more fun and relaxing than any Netflix show could ever be.

Dogs at the Perimeter – Madeleine Thien

I just finished this novel and it’s a great, engaging weekend read. You might like it, if you’re looking for an interesting story and some lessons about Cambodian history. I have read another novel by the same author last fall and it quickly became one of my favourite books („Do not say we have nothing“, in case you’re curious).

Dogs at the Perimeter tells the story of Janie, who as a child experiences the terrible violence of the Khmer regime in Cambodia. This is a point in history that has completely escaped me so far, so it was really interesting – yet grueling – to learn more about it. Thien has a wonderful way of making her characters and their pain seem real and it’s just a pleasure to read her books. This one will leave you with a lump in your throat, but I highly recommend it.

The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd

I read „The Invention of Wings“ while in Mexico last year and never got around to recommending it to you! It tells the story of two girls, Handful and Sarah, as they grow up together in early nineteenth century Charleston. Despite being the same age, their prospects of life couldn’t be more different. Handful is an urban slave, and Sarah gets ownership over her for her 11th birthday. As the years go by, both of them fight against slavery in their own way. It’s a great portrait of a devastating time in history, so I would recommend it to everyone – and I normally don’t even like reading historical fiction. Extra-bonus: Sarah’s character is actually based on a real woman, one of the first feminists speaking up in the anti-slavery movement.

The Group – Mary McCarthy

Now for a novel that is purely entertaining! The Group focuses on a group of women and follows them as they make their way in life after college. It’s set in New York in the Thirties, so the atmosphere made me long to go to Manhattan – and maybe travel in time. I was a bit surprised by how modern the characters acted, so it might not be completely historically correct. The Group is fun to read though, if you’re looking for something light and easy. Plus, it was really interesting to see the characters find their place in a world that didn’t regard women very highly.

Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Yes, this is a children’s book told from the perspective of a small pig. Hear me out. It is also a story that is beautifully written, sets an example for the importance of friendship and sticking up for others and it makes you long for a slow life in the country. All factors that make a great winter read, in my opinion. And as the prologue says: Everyone who ever wants to be a writer, needs to read this book. I definitely second that and urge you to pick it up as well.

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

Another children’s book, another favourite of mine. You probably know the story of Anne of Green Gables already, but if you haven’t yet read it or if it’s been long ago, you should definitely pick it up (again). Anne is an orphan girl, who gets adopted by chance and slowly but surely enchants the lives of everyone around her. She has a highly active imagination and oftentimes changes her circumstances for the better just by imagining. In my opinion, making the most of this time of year definitely requires some imagination! So, we can all learn from Anne in this aspect.

These are a few of the books I recently finished. It’s such a good time of year to read, so it won’t be long till the next roundup post! Did you read anything great lately, that I need to add to my reading list? Do tell!

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Hanna's Places - a green lifestyle blog

Hanna’s Places is a green lifestyle magazine written by Hanna Ulatowski. It’s all about slowing down in a fast-paced society and finding ways to live a more sustainable, simple lifestyle.

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