Shut in for the winter? We don’t blame you, but time home isn’t time lost. Pour some tea and hunker down with one or two (or all) of these inspiring books.
As the weather takes a turn from chaotic to challenging in many parts of this country, one of the greatest distractions (other than playing outdoors until the sun goes down) is to sidle up to a good book, a cup of hot something, and nothing else. The solitude and the quiet and the need to escape in a fairy tale or romance, or even some dark and twisted mystery are almost like a recipe for chasing away the winter doldrums.
The holidays and busy time are over. A new year has begun. It can be similar to turning the pages on book chapters, as life looks very different for many and eerily the same for some. Either way, the passion with smelling a fresh book and its contents makes for the best whiling away of hours.
I have a few favorites, some old and some new. Some were given to me, and many were bought or reread at some point just to ensure that I didn’t miss a beat, or what the author had to convey with their story. Stories are so fascinating to me. Whether fiction or non-fiction, I find that I can gather an immense amount of inspiration and knowledge, and possibly new ways of relating by just a single page or a sentence. Books are that good, in print and in person.
These are my 10 favorites that I believe will warm that inner heart and maybe even give you some good belly laughs along the way:
1. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This small treasure of a book is an easy, worthwhile read for those who need a little dose of simplicity and an honest look at the value of the beach, solitude, and its offerings.
2. Journey of the Heart by Catherine Ghosh
A compilation of poems by some of the best spiritual poets alive. I often read a poem or two when I need a boost of good feelings and metaphoric glances at life and living. Catherine is a beautiful person who put her own heart and soul into this collection.
3. The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
In his entire series of the Agreements and many of his other teachings (which I previously wrote about), this amazing set of words will not disappoint. As a matter of fact, I think it is my favorite amongst his other books, because it puts a wonderful topping on all his other lessons about being the best person you can be.
4. The Loop by Nicholas Evans
This author has many fiction novels in publication, and I have read them all. The way he infuses each story with romance and adventure, and brings to light situations within each depiction of characters and their hearts, it’s perfect reading for cozying up to the fire or taking into a hot bath by candlelight. I couldn’t put it down for a second.
5. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
A mysterious and twisty turning novel that had me on the edge of my seat. Set in the windy city of Chicago, using the World’s Greatest Fair as the main story line, this book had me turning each page, utterly captivated.
6. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
I actually read this book twice. It was that good. Wall’s memoir of her insane family life and parental habits, and how all the children dealt with what life threw their way was (and is) one of the most interesting and emotionally wonderful reads. I laughed. I cried. I felt I could relate on so many levels. I might even have to read it a third time, as it’s the type of book you want to go back to when you need fun pages to turn.
7. Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp
Another memoir-type, this book depicts a former alcoholic woman who befriends a dog, without ever realizing she needed or wanted a dog. It was through their relationship that she found herself more full of love than ever before—the only road to that love being through four furry legs. Her style of writing is priceless and definitely touches the heart.
8. Sky Time in Gray’s River by Robert Michael Pyle
This was a recent read for me, and the story is all about nature and its glory. I loved every word, page, depiction of the author’s whereabouts through his images. It always gave me a sense of just how precious nature is, our place in it, and what never to take for granted.
9. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
One of my all-time favorite authors—he makes me laugh, and he bases most of his stories on his family life and their crazy ways (or how he perceives their ways as crazy). He laughs mostly at himself, which I feel is something we can all aspire to. Each chapter is one complete belly-buster after another. It may not give you the warm cozies, but laughing up a storm is sure to make your heart feel good.
10. A Big Piece of Driftwood by yours truly
A semi-fictional novel based on a woman who learns the value of self-love by experiencing her own mistakes and triumphs and simple living. It will make you cry, laugh, and maybe even inspire actions taken to accomplish the biggest task in life: love of self before loving another.
Books can sit on the shelves for years, but during the winter time with shorter days reading serve an even more relaxing and enriching purpose, with inspiration and expansion. So cozy up, open the pages of your favorites, and enjoy each hour that passes.[image: via Olga Filonenko on flickr]