8 Long Reads for Even Longer Winter Nights

  • February 9, 2016

We like big books and we cannot lie!

8 Long Reads for Even Longer Winter Nights

Looking for a perfect tale to tuck into on an endless winter evening? Try one of these titles, all of which would’ve made their authors rich if books were sold by the pound…

  1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. For sheer narrative power and character development, nothing touches this one. Kudos to the editor who changed Pansy O'Hara into Scarlett! My second choice (on a really cold night): 1001 Ways to Cook Muskrat by Rufus Spivy, a little-known gem that I just made up to see if you’re paying attention. ~Larry De Maria

  2. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. From the gripping first page, when young Thomas Cromwell endures yet another brutal beating from his father, this novel plunges readers into the complicated psyche of King Henry VIII's favored advisor and the tragic world he inhabits. The result is breathtaking. ~Carrie Callaghan

  3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This magical book about the Lost and Found Magic of England set during the Napoleonic Wars is full of spells and bells, tricks and trickery, fairs and fairies, dark and light, and the most amazing footnotes you'll ever see in a novel. But the most magical thing to me was how quickly its 846 pages flew by — I wanted 846 more! ~Liz Robelen

  4. The Rabbit books by John Updike. It's actually four books and one novella, but I always turn to Updike's Rabbit novels. Written at the end of each decade from the 50s to the 80s, they captured American life through the adventures of a terrible protagonist in Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, and through Updike's one-of-a-kind eye. You read an achingly beautiful line like "Our lives fade behind us before we die," and you realize Updike's gifts spread beyond those books, beyond America, through time. ~E.A. Aymar

  5. Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. This novel covers every theme that makes a novel great — and it has the space to. ~JR Scrafford

  6. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It’s a beautiful book covering love, mysteries, fantasies, and a flashback to 1984. Perfect! ~JR Scrafford

  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I've read this at least three times now, and I'd pick it up again in a heartbeat (except for the fact that I'm finally reading Tolstoy's other big book as part of a New Year's resolution). Despite the obvious emphasis on the title character's story — gripping, to say the least — it's the character of Levin who draws me in more and more on each subsequent reading: his philosophical and existential struggles, his fitful growth and development, and then the larger backdrop of familial, social, political struggles. All of life is in this book, and it'll grow with you (or you with it). ~Art Taylor

  8. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Most of Dickens’ works are tailor-made for winter nights, but it’s especially true for Bleak House. Aside from its magnificently dreary name, the book is filled with characters — Lady Dedlock, Jo, Esther, and others — whose troubles will make your own un-shoveled driveway seem like a minor annoyance by comparison. Read this one next to a fire — bonus points if it’s extra sooty. ~Holly Smith
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