Let’s be honest: February is probably the shortest month because no one wants it to last a day longer than necessary. The month is home to depressing weather forecasts, and potentially even more depressing holidays. (I’m looking at you, Valentine’s Day.)
One bright side to a month of blizzards and few hours of daylight? No one expects you to go out and be social when it’s dark and freezing. Instead, you can spend all day curled up with a book, without feeling like you’re missing out on the day. And it turns out, there are some perfect books out there to match exactly how you’re feeling this month.
After all, reading about the majestic snowfall is much more pleasant than wearing soggy socks all day that the snow seeped through; and reading about someone else’s dating struggles is way more hilarious than being alone with your thoughts on Valentine’s. So here are the best wintry, cozy books to keep you warm even when the month is seriously bleak.
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is the creative genius behind books-turned-movies like Stardust and Coraline. In this book, he transports readers to ancient Norway, which is cursed with an endless winter (. . .sound familiar?). A boy named Odd begins the quest to end the winter, and the mix of Norse mythology with quirky characters creates a delightful story to escape to. Their world is just as cold and bleak as this month may seem, but its ending will give you hope to look forward to March.
Brrr-illiant quote: “By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again. Not that year. Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.”
Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney
This is the perfect read if you’re going to be spending Valentine’s Day solo this year. This hilarious memoir by Katie Heaney reflects how she’s never had a boyfriend and barely even been on a second date at the age of 25. But she doesn’t mope about it. Instead, we are introduced to her hilarious friends, her even more hilarious bad date horror stories, and her bits of relatable wisdom. This book is perfect to remind you that finding love isn’t the most important thing in life—having fun is.
Brrr-illiant Quote: “Everybody who works in a coffee shop is at least a little bit hot.”
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
While Never Have I Ever is the perfect read if you plan on cozying up by yourself for Valentine’s, Girls in White Dresses is the book to get you in the mood for a night out with your friends. This will be especially relevant for those of us in early adulthood, and will help us keep a sense of humor about the panic that begins when friends begin getting engaged. The book tracks three close friends who turn to each other instead of men, in the true spirit of a Leslie-Knope-themed Galentine’s Day.
Brrr-illiant Quote: “I’ve been out to eat with boys who were my boyfriend, but that’s not dating. That’s just parallel eating.”
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I first read this 1999 National Book Award Finalist back in junior high school, and it still stands out in my mind ten years later. When high school freshman Melinda is sexually assaulted, she retreats into her own mind instead of interacting with others. As readers, we’re treated to her ironic and beautiful words that she won’t share in the world of the novel. While poignantly depressing at times (and the wintery weather matches the mood), Speak is ultimately an inspiring story about learning to stand up for yourself.
Brrr-illiant Quote: “Too much sun after a Syracuse winter does strange things to your head, makes you feel strong, even if you aren’t.”
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
David Sedaris takes on winter holidays in this hilarious short story collection, and it’s the perfect replacement for a Netflix binge when your Internet inevitably goes out during the next snowpocalypse. Most of the stories are set around a holiday, ranging from Halloween to Christmas to Easter, but his cynical take is entirely unique. Especially look out for “Let It Snow,” which is about being locked out in a snowstorm—it will make you even more grateful for your warm blanket and cup of tea as you read.
Brrr-illiant Quote: “If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt?”
Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
If the title didn’t make it clear, this is the perfect book to pick up if you’re feeling cold and need a great YA dystopian series to get your heart rate up (because that is just what YA dystopian series do, obviously). In this futuristic society, even “New Vegas” is covered in ice—and Sin City is more dangerous than ever. Blackjack dealer Natasha is looking for a way to escape to the mythical land “The Blue,” where the sun shines and waters are warm. This story is the perfect mix of adventure in a cold world with a hot love story, nothing less than you would expect from a book written by a married couple.
Brrr-illiant Quote: “The world had ended long before the snows came, his father liked to say. It had ended after the Great Wars, ended after the Black Floods, the Big Freeze only the latest catastrophe. The world was always ending. The point was to survive whatever came next.”
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This classic novel was described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written. Set in Russia, it’s full of the cold weather we’re lucky enough to only deal with for part of the year (but, you know, way worse). The story is of the doomed love affair between Anna, who rebels against society’s rules to leave her passionless marriage and be with the incredibly attractive Count Vronsky. The story isn’t particularly uplifting, but it’s the perfect choice to feel cultured and grateful that while it may be cold where you are, at least you don’t have to deal with the societal stigma and depressing end that Anna faces.
Brrr-illiant Quote: “He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”
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