Winter is here, and with it comes a desire to relax. As cold nights approach, there’s nowhere better to be than under a blanket with a mug of your favourite warm beverage. To break up the binge watching of Netflix shows and Christmas movies, why not grab a book and immerse yourself in one of these classic books?
As a lover of the classic books, I have a few that I come back to every December. Others are by authors whose works I already adore. All of them will keep you captivated until the spring warms us up again.
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Having just read The House of Mirth for the first time, I’m excited to pick up another Wharton novel. Ethan Frome is set in the winter and follows the titular character and his affair with his wife’s cousin. This surrounds the mystery of his limp, which draws the narrator in.
The unnamed narrator is visiting a New England town when he runs into Frome. Later, he must stay with Frome because the snow won’t let him travel and that’s where the story starts. It’s an interesting twist on love triangles and reminds you to be careful what you wish for.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I read Alcott’s novels when I was young and I still find that I relate to her books. While some dislike the romance, Little Women expertly explores the gender dynamics of the post antebellum North.
Alcott perfectly captures the timely coming of age of the March sister. At the time, women were simply expected to be wives yet they needed to provide for themselves. It opens at Christmastime. What better time to crack open your copy and fall in love with the quick wit of Alcott’s work?
Emma by Jane Austen
If you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice but haven’t looked into her other novel, here’s your chance. Clueless took it’s inspiration from Emma, which is just as entertaining. Emma also happens the be novel that features the most activity surrounding winter and Christmas instead of just a reference to it. Emma Woodhouse is a spoiled but endearing protagonist who prides herself on her ability to meddle in the lives of others and create romance.
However, not all good intentions end with a happy ending. Either way, you’ll see how Austen transforms Emma into one of the most iconic characters we’ve seen.
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald allegedly won the hand of his wife, Zelda, with this debut novel. This is another book on my list, and it’s thought be somewhat autobiographical. Both Fitzgerald and his protagonist Amory Blaine were students at Princeton, and they also didn’t have the money to marry their love interests.
Until the book took off, that is. The response to the novel was enthusiastic and kicked off Fitzgerald’s career, which led to us eventually getting the now infamous The Great Gatsby. If you want to relive the Jazz Age in Fitzgerald style, this debut novel is for you.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Brontë’s first and only novel is another framed narrative. It’s set in the winter as a young man of wealth seeks shelter and discovers the story of his landlord’s dark past, and personally, I try to read Wuthering Heights every year because I enjoy the story so much. Lockwood finds himself at Thrushcross Grange with a family that is anything but happy.
When he digs deeper, he learns the truth of what has happened on the property. It isn’t a lighthearted Christmas novel, but it explores madness and morality in a way that challenges Brontë’s day and makes the reader really consider what’s important in the world, the pursuit of one’s own desires and the protection of morality.