Top Ten Short Novels to Snuggle Up With During a Blizzard by Stephanie House
“Whether the weather is cold, or whether the weather is hot, we’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.” Thus went the tongue twister we chanted in theatre camp. Recently, New York City, DC, and the surrounding areas got a crash course in just that. Most people snuggled up to their favorite streaming service to weather the storm. Now, if you’re anything like me, Netflix is enjoyable, but sitting in front of a screen is what I do for a living. So when it came that I was presented with two extra days of free time, I knew I’d rather rest my poor eyes and my laptop and settle in with a book. My absolute favorite way to weather the weather, whatever the weather is to snuggle up to one of my old favorites. So for this list, I decided to include books that I thought were so good that they were worth re-reading.
My criteria for this list was simple. One they had to be enjoyable, as any book read for pleasure must be. Two, I chose shorter books, ones that you can easily finish in two-day storm: all under 250 pages, and perfect for being locked up in the house for a couple of days. The third box that they had to fill one of two purposes: they either had to provide the reader an escape from the cold or else embrace the cold. I was of both of these minds during the storm. On the one hand, I’d had little snow as a child, and the stark white world excited me, on the other, I was I decided that it was best to provide two options.
If it is in your nature to escape the cold, read:
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- If I could I would read this novel once a month, as it’s a classic for any occasion. If you’ve already read it give this classic another chance while you have the extra time. The scene in the city where the heat is unbearable for the characters will feel less suffocating to you, but the deaths will still keep the same sting.
Holes Louis Sachar – Another one to balance out the cold weather, this book is primarily set in the desert, in the middle of dried up lake bed. It is a story that spans three generations and includes a beautiful love story, a gang of rag-tag nicknamed juvenile delinquents, and a “no good dirty rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather.”
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams – A great way to escape from any unpleasant situation is to read this delightful novel by a former Doctor Who writer. The mishaps of the oblivious Arthur Dent will tickle you into forgetting any problem, no matter how blizzard sized. Think: Monty Python, in space!
Dragonsong by Ann MaCaffrey- One of my favorite books from when I first started reading for pleasure. I like to take this book out when I want to come back to a world so unlike our own, but so relatable. The main character Menolly is a fisher’s daughter who dreams of becoming a Harper, or a musician, however her family doesn’t think she is capable of anything, being a girl.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle- A soft fantasy/ science fiction book, that you can read through the entire series or you can just enjoy this first one, which is a lovely romp into astronomy and theoretical physics. A science fictional Alice in Wonderland in many ways.
If your preferred method is to embrace the cold weather:
Call of the Wild– Jack London- The first book that comes to mind when I think of snow is always this adventure novel. Set in the Yukon in Canada, the novel centers around Buck, a dog stolen away to become a sled dog and his master Thornton.
Brian’s Winter– Gary Paulson- The quasi-sequel/quasi alternate universe story to Paulson’s staple of sixth grade classrooms – Hatchet. This short novel details a young man’s struggle for survival in the Canadian wilderness in winter.
Night by Elie Wiesel- plenty of references to cold, but more than that, this novelization of Elie Wiesel’s memoirs is an exercise in empathy. In this often gruesome tale of one of the most horrific eras of human history, Wiesel takes you into Auschwitz camp, right at the heart of the Nazi Regime. You’ll be thankful for the warmth of the blanket and tea that you snuggle down with.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson- Before The Shining, before Stephen King even picked up a pencil, there was Shirley Jackson. Chilling in another way, Shirley Jackson’s horror masterpiece is one that is sure to give you pause when the blizzard wind howls.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This one is sort of cheating because it is at once an embrace and an escape. I bet if you listen hard enough, you can hear the jingling of the bells on the White Queen’s sleigh…
Stephanie House, also known as “The Literary Nerd,” is an aspiring author and blogger who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, concentration Creative Writing from GCSU. She now lives with her fiancé in Washington, DC.