My Top Six Cold Weather Writers

Cold weather never travels alone. It packs many well-loved delights in its frosty bag of tricks, including: hot chocolate, gingerbread, nifty patterned gloves and scarves, pumpkin-flavored everything, frozen breath, crackling wood fires, mulled beverages, and fairy lights. Whilst those are wonderful there are other, lesser extolled, pleasures in which to indulge: mint chocolate brownies, hot water bottle cozies, the scent of real pine, watching snow fall at midnight, and seasonal reading. Oh, seasonal reading! How I adore thee.

Yearly I turn to you, as the calendar begins its long hike through winter’s desolate days…

I seek you out to warm my cold soul and chapped heart…

You do things to me that hot drinks and heavy blankets never could…

What a comfort you are, my winter writers!

There is but one solution when faced with the inevitable onslaught of nasty, chilling weather: arm yourself to the teeth with a weighty supply of wonderful books, and dig in for the duration. As soon as temperatures sink, an instinctual survival mode kicks in and I start to ritualize my life-including a long-standing pattern of reading works by the same authors. The books themselves vary, of course, but their progenitors remain fixed. This time of year my preferences tend towards the following qualities of language, attitude, or thought: severity, hardiness, bareness, intellectual passion, bluntness, pluckiness, and mental or emotional resilience.

Do you read in such seasonal ways? If so, please share your favourite cold weather books and/or writers in the comments! Here is my list.

MY TOP SIX COLD WEATHER WRITERS

EMILY BRONTË

Emily Brontë by Branwell Brontë

Emily Brontë by Branwell Brontë

REASON: Her solitary, willful disposition.

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.”

ANTON CHEKHOV

Anton Chekhov, 1889

Anton Chekhov, 1889

REASON: No one speaks to my deepest soul the way nineteenth-century Russian writers do, Chekhov chief amongst them. 

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”

EMILY DICKINSON

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

REASON: The economy of her writing.

“One need not be a chamber to be haunted.”

THOMAS HARDY

Thomas Hardy by Herbert Rose Barraud, 1889

Thomas Hardy by Herbert Rose Barraud, 1889

REASON: The emotional disconnection that I feel when reading any of Hardy’s writing, coupled with his lovely descriptive powers, is a hypnotically somber experience.

“This hobble of being alive is rather serious, don’t you think so?”

HENRIK IBSEN

Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

REASON: His insight into the contradictory morality of human nature, and how it relates to matters both domestic and commercial, invites genuine contemplation.

“It’s a release to know that in spite of everything a premeditated act of courage is still possible.”

SYLVIA PLATH

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

REASON: Her prickly, bloody, disconcerting, bold, and passionate writing screams “barren, melancholy winter” like no one else on this list. 

“I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I’m here.”

 

20 thoughts on “My Top Six Cold Weather Writers

    • Thank you very much. It is no secret that I have a slight crush on Chekhov. He was quite dashing. 🙂

      Thanks for the FYI about the photo. Hmmm. I just checked the post (on my husband’s laptop, rather than mine), and it is fine! Perhaps it is just bugging out on your end?

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  1. I loved this so much! It happily whisked me back to my childhood winter “library” which was me holed up in my frosty room under a musty blanket reading the “Emily’s” as well as Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott….such fond, happy memories of discovery and joy. I need to go read them again 🙂

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  2. A lovely yummy and cozy post. Our temperatures have suddenly dropped to, so I’ve had the chimnet swept and we’ll light our first fire of the season the evening. This time of year always reminds me of winter tea times watching BBC adaptations of the classics by the fire. Good times.

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    • Thank you! I drank a nice hot cuppa whilst writing the post.

      What a wonderful combination of things your described. I can do all of those things, except sit by a fire. We have two fireplaces but, alas, they do not function.

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  3. I agree with the previous commenter’s remarks about Anton Chekov’s fab string tie. It looks like something from a kid’s cowboy hat – the one that has the whistle on the string.

    I also like what he said about the artist asking questions vs. answers.

    I’ve got my winter reading started… Am reading two books on WWI (I have no idea why) and as many Hollywood history books as I can manage.

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    • Chekhov could make anything look fab, including a string tie.

      That is one of my very favourite quotes.

      WWI books are amazing, and I am, always, with you on the Hollywood history books reading binge.

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  4. Pingback: [My Top Cold Weather Writers] Honorary Mention: Christina Rossetti | A Small Press Life

  5. I’d have to include Tolstoy and Dickens, along with Hardy and Chekhov. And maybe Melville’s Moby Dick if the weather gets really bad for a long spell. Thanks for following me. I’m looking forward to reading your posts on a regular basis.

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    • Dickens definitely deserves an honorable mention. As for Tolstoy, I consciously decided to use only one Russian writer and that slot went to Chekhov. Nineteenth-century Russian literature holds a very special place in my psyche, so it was a hard decision. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is one of my favourite pieces, by any writer ever.
      I certainly hope that I will not have to sit out a spell of bad winter weather, but reading Moby Dick in such situations makes sense!

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  6. Pingback: [My Top Cold Weather Writers] Honorable Mention: Charles Dickens | A Small Press Life

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