It’s been stormy and rainy lately here in Perth, and the chilly mornings have been putting me in a huge reading mood (even more than my usual cravings for long books)! Today I am bringing you 5 of not only some of my all time favorite books, but also books that are perfect for binging during long nights and cool, cozy days!
1) The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.
Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.
Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.
Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.
No doubt the queen of dark Grisha magic herself ❤ The Language of Thorns is jam-packed with enchanting fairytale-esque short stories. There are even some retellings in the book, such as a rendition of The Nutcracker and a Little Mermaid fairytale twist. Every one of her short stories are so deliciously dark and magical – perfect for gloomy nights under warm lights ❤ I have a review of each short story here if you’re interested to know more about my thoughts on the book! 🙂
2) The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
It is 1945 and Barcelona is enduring the long aftermath of civil war when Daniel Sempere’s bookseller father decides his son is old enough to visit the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There Daniel must ‘adopt’ a single book, promising to care for it and keep it alive always. His choice falls on The Shadows of the Wind.
Bewitched, he embarks on an epic quest to find the truth about Julian Carax, the book’s mysterious author. Soon Daniel is consumed by strange discoveries about love and obsession, art and life, and how they become entangled within the shadow world of books.
One of my more recent reads! The Shadow of The Wind is a gem. It’s one of the most atmospheric books I have ever read, and it’s perfect for late night reading sessions. It’s long and enigmatic, which is perfect since the story takes place in dreamy Barcelona, where the rustic themes seem to fit perfectly with talks of secondhand bookstores, a mysterious author, a slow-burn romance, and tragedy. I have a more in-depth review of this incredible novel here. I highly recommend this book if you have the time to savor your reads and take your time reading. The Shadow of The Wind is not a book to be missed!
3) The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming
Here’s another recommendation for readers who are a fan of bibliophilic themes in novels! It’s short, sweet, but packs a punch. One of my favorite things about this book was that there was a strong family dynamic figure in the book, and honestly all the literary references were spot on (and was a win for me all by themselves)! It’s a book about real people handling real life events. The rawness is just so incredibly palpable (which is right up my alley), you feel it! Again, my review is here if you’d like to read more about my thoughts! 🙂
4) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Ah, The Night Circus makes an appearance yet again. What can I say? I’m completely obsessed with this novel. What better winter read than one that takes place in a charismatic, spellbinding night circus in a story that takes place in Victorian London and has elements of forbidden love and written in poetic prose? The Night Circus is undoubtedly the perfect atmospheric book to curl in bed with at night. You can envision yourself surrounded by striped tents, the smell of cinnamon things and chocolate covered popcorn wafting through the air, dreaming of cups of cocoa in striped cups topped with clouds of whipped cream and chocolate mice. The Night Circus, if anything, is a book not to be missed! My full review of this book can be found here.
5) A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
This last recommendation stands out for its angst and length (a whopping 700+ pages!). This heart-wrenching novel will keep you up at night, longing to keep the characters of the book company. Perhaps some might keep those pages turning, but I think savoring it is a good idea too! You really take in the emotions of each character. You will be there rooting for them when they are at their happiest, wanting to shake them vigorously when they get reckless, and ache when they are at their lowest. Prepare a big mug of tea/coffee (and perhaps a box of tissues) – it’s going to be a long night with this book.
What do you guys think of this list? Have you gotten the chance to read any of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts on any of the books! If you have any favorite Winter reads you’d like to recommend, please do share them below!