Hi everyone. It's still winter. And don't get me wrong, I love a lot of things about winter! Hot chocolate, snowy parks... drinking hot chocolate in a snowy park. But between the post-holiday blues and the post-election blues and the already-slipping-on-my-New-Years-resolutions blues, winter can feel awfully blue. It's still the perfect season for reading, but sometimes you just want to read something that's going to take you far, far away from the cold and the sludge and the chapped body parts. You want to read something cheerful and, above all, warm. So here are a few books to read if you're already sick of winter, and need a mental vacation to warmer climes.
After all, just because you're curled up in a blanket, reading in the middle of a blizzard, it doesn't mean that you have to be reading about a blizzard. You could be mentally sailing on a dread pirate ship. Or traipsing around the Florida everglades. Or hanging out with your favorite comedy writer, complaining about L.A. traffic. Whichever genre you prefer, I promise there's something out there that can distract you from shoveling the driveway.
So, ready your mental sandals and shades, and check out some of these warm reads for the dead of winter:
1'Swamplandia!' by Karen Russell
The Bigtree family have been professional alligator wrestlers for years now. But their theme park, Swamplandia!, is losing business to the new, hell-themed attraction in town, World of Darkness. Ava must try to hold everything together, despite her missing father, her abandoning brother, and her sister who's dating a ghost. Swamplandia! is a wonderfully bizarre adventure through the Florida Everglades, guaranteed to make you forget all about the cold weather.
2'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman
But of course. If you're looking for romance and high adventure, sword fights and true love, puns and affectionate satire of fantasy novels, The Princess Bride is the book for you. Beautiful Buttercup is to marry a prince... but he might not be the man of her dreams. Cue swashbuckling, kidnapping, and miracles. This is escapist fiction in the very best way.
3'Why Not Me?' by Mindy Kaling
Look, sometimes a "warmer clime" just means hanging out in L.A. with a hilarious genius like Mindy Kaling. In her second memoir, Why Not Me?, Kaling talks about her career in comedy, her adventures in dating, and Hollywood's fixation with actresses' weight ("Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they're walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.")
4'This One Summer' by Mariko Tamaki, art by Jillian Tamaki
Rose and Windy hang out at the beach every summer... but this summer feels different, somehow. This One Summer isn't quite a cheerful read from beginning to end, but it is a sweet, poignant look at growing up. With gorgeous artwork and relatable characters, This One Summer will transport you back to those confusing summers between childhood and teenage-dom.
5'In a Sunburned Country' by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is that one fun English Teacher you had in high school, who was always going off on interesting tangents and bringing in donuts for the class. In a Sunburned Country is his report on travels through Australia, stuffed with ridiculously funny facts and anecdotes. If you can't afford an actual mid-winter trip Down Under, this book is the next best thing.
6'Invisible Cities' by Italo Calvino
Look, Italo Calvino is weird. There's no getting around that. His writing is experimental, and his books aren't huge on plot. But don't let that scare you away, because Invisible Cities is a beautiful, odd little book. Every page or so takes you to a new, made up city: desert cities that stand on stilts, shiny copper cities, secret cities beyond your comprehension. Just a collection of imaginary cities to visit as you please.
7'Grayson' by Lynne Cox
OK, this isn't quite a warm book (the narrator is in 55 degree water the whole time). But it will certainly leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Grayson is a true story from swimmer Lynne Cox. When Lynne was only seventeen, she found a lost baby whale while on her morning swim... and decided to risk her own life in rescuing it.
8'The Essential Calvin & Hobbes' by Bill Watterson
I mean... it's Calvin & Hobbes. When is Calvin & Hobbes not the right choice? Hunker down with The Essential Calvin & Hobbes, and add some philosophically-charged summer nonsense to your winter reading list.
9'Anansi Boys' by Neil Gaiman
Anansi Boys is technically a sequel to Gaiman's American Gods, but it easily stands on its own. It all begins when Fat Charlie Nancy's father dies suddenly on a Florida karaoke stage. It turns out, Charlie's father was an ancient god, and now he has to deal with a demigod brother he never knew he had.
10'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams
Sure, space is a pretty cold and uninviting place. But The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one hell of an absurd road trip to the stars. If you ever feel like blowing up the planet Earth and hitchhiking to some distant corner of the galaxy, Douglas Adams is the man for you.