Less About Writing, More About Reading

The season is indulgent, and so is this blog.

It’s December, and it’s cold. The blanket of snow makes everything quiet and the condensed daylight hours makes everything slow down and feel more thoughtful, like we have to be more purposeful with what we have to work with.



Like most introverts I relish in these feelings and I identify with the characteristics the season exposes of itself – the days, short as they may be, feel more ready to accommodate my desire to recharge and to indulge in sweaters and dimly lit mornings filled with coffee and reflection. As cold and empty as winter can look, the dichotomy of the first snow-filled months is that they are brimming with emotion and depth. (The last snow-filled months are filled with desperation and crankiness.)



In the winter, no one awaits an apology if you don’t want to join in an impromptu game of some team sport, like they do in the spring and summer*.



In the winter, everyone is allowed to hermit in their own head. This is the place I am perhaps most comfortable, and in the winter, there is more tolerance for such behaviour. In general, people are more focused on independent study and are more compassionate of others.



In December in particular more care is taken; children and the elderly are given special attention, we slow down, bend down, listen. We smile more than we roll our eyes. (My eyes never did get stuck like my mom said they would.)



Everything is unapologetically nostalgic during this time of year, from food to music to pickled co-workers at holiday parties. We’re cheerful and hopeful and generous.



But every season must come to an end.



 When the warm weather rolls around, we recalibrate our wistfulness and live off of what we stock-piled through the winter, which is easily run dry by the landscaping that needs to be completed, gardens that need to be tended, demanding bosses, and kid-filled carpools (the desperation of March could probably deplete our resources all on its own).



But while we’re here, let’s settle in to the rich, gratifying parts.



And the best part?



For me, it’s books.



In the winter, books get read; their formerly stiff spines crack and snap with months of bottled anticipation.



This season brings me joy because I can tell that amazon wish lists everywhere are being filled and dust-lined books are being nursed (after months of next-weekend-promises). More than anything, it’s the season that I appreciate the feel of the paper between my fingers the most and in which no one blinks an eye at a full day of reading interrupted only by coffee refills, snacks and the occasional kitty sit-in that prevents you from turning the page.



So let’s indulge. If you’re reading this blog you probably don’t need much encouragement to pick up a book. But who better to celebrate the season with than other bookworms? (Remember when being called a bookworm as a child was a confidence shattering, cheek-brightening experience? From what I can gather of the young people today, reading is now considered cool. Isn’t that cool?)


So in the spirit of generosity here are a few of my tried and true. If you're willing**, throw out a few of your favorites so the rest of us know what to reach for this winter.










One of my favourites, and the perfect purse book because it's tiny and already tattered (well-loved).

This is a much longer book than Catcher in the Rye, but it will take over your entire life (I'm a slow reader - the 800+ pages might go more quickly for you. But one thing is for sure, you'll need tissues.)

This book is entirely about threat-preparedness. A must-read if you have a feline cohabitant.

Interestingly, I accidently stole this book from a psychiatric hospital. I worked there as a nurses aid and during night shifts if I was sitting watch outside a patient’s room, I was allowed to read. This was one of the books in the library, and I honestly took it home by accident, always intending to bring it back. I’ve felt terrible guilt ever since, but I have to say I’m not sure Hitchcock is an appropriate choice for a high-security psych ward. I’d venture to say he could do more harm there than good. Maybe I’ll take some of my old books and donate them to the ward, but keep Hitchcock. That’s seems like a healthy trade.

*As an adult I attempted to play soccer. I gave it a try but not one of my former teammates would expect an apology because I don’t want to play anymore. Soccer is hard, and my entire legacy was getting hit in the head with the ball and getting into an argument with the ref. I have the greatest respect for anyone who can marginally play that horrid sport.


** I will not hold it against you if you don't want to share. I'm notoriously greedy when it comes to my books as well - a trait I blame solely on my birth-order. (I am the youngest. As a child I hid everything from my sister, even chocolate between my mattress and box spring, which resulted in disaster. But it was MY disaster, and that was the point.)

Write a comment

Comments: 4
  • #1

    Tricia (Friday, 13 December 2013 15:35)

    I have read four books this week alone, so obviously I'm a lover of this post. And I just took The Catcher in the Rye out of the library to re-read as my copy has disappeared. I don't mind sharing favourites, as I am the eldest child and just hogged all the books. So hard to pick though. Alice Munro books. I still love A Fine Balance and The Outsiders, and I'll suggest The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and The Horse's Mouth by Joyce Cary, because they are so beautiful.

  • #2

    Amanda (Friday, 13 December 2013 19:54)

    Tricia my amazon wishlist just got longer. Thank you for the recommendations!

  • #3

    Marguerite (Saturday, 14 December 2013 11:17)

    Just finished The Orenda by Joe Boyden.-an amazing book I was enthralled with it. If you haven't read it, try to do so. It is a tour de force.
    I also recently read The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton It was excellent
    A couple of months ago I was lent The Dinner by Herman Koch and loved it It is a prime example of a novel with an unreliable narrator,
    Have you ever read Mark Haddon's The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nghttime? I recommend it too.
    Apart from that anything by Alice Munroe or Edna O'Brian provides great reading.
    I always go back to one of Jane Austen's novels to read elegant prose
    I read 4-5 books a week and always have As a child I was often AWOL, off hiding somewhere,trying to read in peace.I still get teased about that by my siblings!!
    Loved the post Amanda I am delighted to know that you are an avid reader.

  • #4

    Michael (Sunday, 15 December 2013 07:54)

    I am reading Volume One of Karl Ove Knausgaard's "My Struggle". A long, self indulgent, engrossing, offending book by a Norwegian author that switches from weighty philosophical ruminations on the nature of literature to the remembrances of his first kiss. He harkens back to Proust, and coincidentally my wife is reading Proust's "Remembrances" (in a Norwegian translation). For lighter fare, I read Delacourt's "Shopping for Votes", how marketing is impacting political campaigns and policy making in Canada. But I am a slow reader, and I doubt if I have ever read 4.5 books in a week in my life. I also "read" a couple of cookbooks, looking for ideas.