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Get lost in winter reading

Illustration of a woman reading a book by a window
Image Credit: Ian Indiano

There is nothing better than curling up with a good book under a warm blanket to avoid the cold winter. With the right setting of fuzzy socks, a hot beverage, aesthetic fairy lights and plush pillows, the long but seemingly short hours of reading can begin. Here’s some titles to help get you started on your winter reading list.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Set just after World War II, the book follows Claire Randall who is whisked away to 1743 Scotland by a circle of ancient stones. Randall leaves her husband back in the future and meets Jamie Fraser, the “gallant young scots warrior” who lights her heart in ways she’s never felt before. Claire, being torn by the two loves, and by two different times, has to choose who she’ll stay with forevermore. If you enjoy a bit of history, a dash of fantasy, and a whole lot of romance, then consider picking this story on your next visit to the bookstore because it will definitely be one you can’t put down once you’ve started.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A critically acclaimed classic novel that’s set in the roaring twenties and has been read by generations since its release almost a hundred years ago. The book follows the perspective of Nick Carraway, neighbour to Jay Gatsby who becomes infatuated with Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin. Take a dip into high society and mingle around the wealthy as you attend elaborate parties and hear about the latest love affairs; all while you’re in cozy pyjamas and sipping hot cocoa.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

Take a trip to war-torn Sarajevo just 30 years ago, and follow the perspectives of three different people fighting to survive. Their stories revolve around the cellist who plays Albino’s Adagio once a day to honour the 22 victims of a shell that landed in a bread line. The cellist becomes an emblem of hope to the people of Sarajevo and inspires many in a time of fear and disparity.

The Color Purple by Alice walker

In preparation of Black History Month in February, consider picking up an award-winning book that follows the lives of African American women surviving in early twentieth century rural Georgia. The novel addresses the muted topics surrounding domestication and sexual abuse and depicts the lives of women who go through growth, pain, struggle, companionship, and resilience. Dive into this empowering and heartwarming story this winter as you accompany separated sisters who maintain their bond through years of letters and undying loyalty.

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

From the Ashes is the number one bestselling Canadian print book in 2020, according to BookNet Canada. The memoir follows the story of the author himself as an abandoned toddler. The novel depicts his resilient journey as a Métis-Cree facing the challenges of being orphaned at a young age. After eventually being adopted by his grandparents from his father’s side, he faces the pressures of not succumbing to the same destructive behaviours as his drug-addicted father. Following that life and experiencing abuse, alcohol addiction, and crime, Jesse realizes that change is essential to turn his life around and embraces his Indigenous culture as he finds his way back to himself.

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin 

If you were in love with Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, then prepare to fall in love again with Uzma Jalaluddin’s Ayesha At Last as a great adaptation of the original but with a definite twist. With her cousin receiving hundreds of marriage proposals and Ayesha finding each one more ridiculous than the next, she resolves to reject an arranged marriage. Ayesha meets the very conservative and judgmental Khalid who’s also smart and annoyingly attractive, and Ayesha becomes torn about her feelings for him despite the way he looks down on her hobbies and choices of apparel. Facing constant judgment and prejudice, readers follow both the perspectives of Ayesha and Khalid as they navigate the pressures of family expectations.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Enter a journey into the stars and experience the struggles of ostracism and judgment that follow Binti of the Himba people into the galaxies. The first of her people to be accepted into the Oomza University of higher learning, she must choose between leaving the comfort of her people and joining the institute where only strangers who disrespect her customs will surround her. Her journey alone to the university will not be an easy one as she crosses the stars to make it and faces many obstacles on the way.

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

This story follows two loving sisters, Elfrieda and Yolandi. Elfi is a renowned pianist and happily married, and Yolandi is divorced and broke. Even though Elfrieda has a seemingly put together life, her constant attempted suicides say otherwise; and Yolandi is doing everything she can to stop her sister from killing herself each time. Faced with life-changing decisions and trying to keep her life in order, Yolandi struggles to keep her heart in tact and her sister alive.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Nothing says “winter reads” than one of the greatest Christmas classics by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. With a new year upon us, this book will have you reflecting on what is important and the changes we need to make in our lives to better ourselves. There is no better story to get you in a self-improving mood than Ebenezer Scrooge and his three Christmas ghosts.

Maybe you’re looking for some action, romance, or sci-fi; maybe you’re looking for something that educates and stimulates the mind, or maybe you’re open to something new and thought-provoking. Whatever story you want to jump into come winter, enjoy it, because every once in a while, we need a break from reality.

Did you know? London has a public library!

Borrowing books is a great alternative to buying. Choose from over a dozen branches around London. Visit for more information, including locations and directions, and how to get a Library Card.

Where to Buy books in London

Ensure you are up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 restrictions before you shop.