9 Books to Channel the Cold When You're Dying in the Heat

Was it ever cold out? Right about now is the point in summer at which we all feel like we're melting. Here, nine literary coping mechanisms to help you channel your inner winter wonderland. Blast the A/C and imagine blizzard conditions ahead.

It's Freaking HOT Outside

Was it ever cold out? Right about now is the point in summer at which we all feel like we're melting. Here, nine literary coping mechanisms to help you channel your inner winter wonderland. Blast the A/C and imagine blizzard conditions ahead.

'Call of the Wild' by Jack London

A classic of American literature, the wild may be calling to you lately (and by the wild we mean “someplace not unbearably hot.”) But since an actual trip to the Yukon likely doesn’t fit with your schedule, it might be better to just live vicariously through Buck the sled dog as he learns to survive in the frigid north.

'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey

Snow! In this novel by Alaska native Eowyn Ivey, a childless couple homesteading in 1920s Alaska is so lonely for a child, they construct one out of snow. The next morning, the “child” is gone, but the couple instead spots real flesh and blood girl running through the trees. Nothing in this novel is quite what it appears except for the fact that it’s Alaska and therefore cold... and do you really care 'bout anything else?

'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy

What gives Tolstoy’s masterpiece an edge over other tales of aristocratic drama? Well, the literary critics can argue about it all they want, but as the temperature inches ever upward, I’m going to say that for it’s the fact that it’s set in Russia. Inside we have intrigue and indecision, but outside it’s snowing.

'The Golden Compass' by Phillip Pullman

Take a break from sweat-inducing stress and revisit your young adult years with the first book in the His Dark Materials Trilogy. As an added bonus, a large chunk of it takes place in the Arctic. Block out the heat waves coming off the sidewalk outside and go hang out with the polar bears.

'The Yiddish Policemen's Union' by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon’s alternate universe novel envisions a world in which, instead of founding the state of Israel after World War II, the world’s Jewish population relocated to a region of Alaska. This naturally creates all sorts of problematic identity issues for the Chosen People, especially since their lease on the land is almost up, but most importantly for those of us caught in a heat wave, Alaska = cold. So sure, the characters could get themselves killed investigating a murder and a secret conspiracy, but at least they’re not boiling.

'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote

Truman Capote’s famous true-crime novel doesn’t take place during winter, but it’s chilling enough to make you shiver, anyway. The novel pioneered the genre with its mixture of reporting and imaginative recreation of the events surrounding the real-life murder of a Kansas family. Even in this heat, it will give you chills.

'Into Thin Air' by Jon Krakauer

Go climb Mt. Everest in this bestselling memoir. The book recounts a fatal disaster up on the tallest mountains’ frigid peaks, one that left Krakauer emotionally scarred. The story is riveting, haunting, and as an added bonus, takes place in the freezing cold.

'Tracks' by Louise Erdirch

This chilling tail by Native American author Louise Erdirch might actually make you glad it’s not winter. It begins with the haunting line “We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall,” and never quite lets us in its powerful story of life on a Native reservation in the era of exploitation and land grabs. Not that we've necessarily left that era...

'Game of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin

You know it’s hot outside when a George R.R. Martin book seems like a comforting read, just because you really need to hear someone say “winter is coming.” Maybe skim over the parts with Daenerys, and focus on Winterfell and the Wall. But take heart; after all, the Starks are always right in the end!