Thursday 20 November 2008


So I've been thinking about snow. Not because we have some today, it's actually a mild, breezy, pleasant day, but partly because it's due to get a lot colder by the weekend and the forecast is for 'wintery showers'. Of course, that could mean anything in this country, ranging from nothing at all, to half a dozen snow flakes, to this, from our winter of 2005:

Somehow or other I'm not expecting that this weekend.

Anyway, the other reason for me thinking about snow is that the book I'm reading now, Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve, and the book I read before it, Dead Cold by Louise Penny, are both books that have snowy settings. The former is set in the Arctic of the future and the latter in Quebec in winter. And they made me realise just how much I love reading books with winter-wonderland settings. So that, of course, started a book hunt around the house. Does anyone else love doing this or is it just me?

Here's what I came up with:

Hmm. I don't know why but I would have expected more. So I tried to think of more, but other than the wonderful first chapters of The Wind in the Willows nothing much came to mind. Although one of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael books, The Virgin in the Ice, has a very cold winter setting too, if memory serves, and is my favourite of the twenty or so books.

I did find a list of sorts here and that does provide a few interesting alternatives but nowhere else could I find a recommended list of 'snowy' books. Not even on Amazon's listmania.

So I was wondering... do any of you have any favourite books that have snow settings? Or even just 'wintery' settings - I'm not that fussed - just really in the mood for sitting indoors by the fire and reading about winter.



Val said...

The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie (Very snowy)
The Nine Tailors by DL Sayers (opens in the snow)
There is a Michael Innes short story with a snow setting that comes to mind..
but not unfortunately the title! which I'll have to go look up now :o)
Death and the Dancing footman by Ngaio Marsh......

A busy day ahead but I'm sure my mind is going to think of some more at unlikely times

Jeane said...

Have you tried Ordinary Wolves, by Seth Kantner? It's set in Alaska. And of course if you like reading children's fiction now and then, there's always The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Nan said...

Such a nice, interesting topic, Cath. I would bet there's a list of Christmas books that might feature snow. I'll go check:

That's a pretty long list that could keep you busy just looking them all up!

DesLily said...

well now.. I do love the still gorgeous (and someone finally older than me!) Omar Sharif so Dr. Zhivago comes to mind!

Anonymous said...

I've recently read Michael Gilbert's "After the Fine Weather", which is of course when the snow arrives. It's not a cozy read and I hope to write about it soon - I'm so behind with writing about the books I've read.

I also have "Snow" by Orhan Pamuk to read, which I expect has a snowy setting, although not a winter-wonderland sort of book and "The Snow Geese" by William Fiennes (non fiction).

My favourite which came to mind immediately when I read your post is a children's story by Hans Andersen - "The Snow Queen" and of course there are also the "Narnia" books by C S Lewis.

Also Anita Shreve's "Light on Snow", John Wain's "A Winter in the Hills" (set in N. Wales).

Cath said...

Hi Val. That sounds like an interesting list of winter crime fiction. I've read some Agatha Christie but none of the others except for a book of short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers that I've only just started - Hangman's Holiday.

Jeanne, I don't know Ordinary Wolves so have made a note of that. I completely forgot The Lion the With and the Wardrobe - such an obvious one.

Nan, thanks for that excellent list - I've saved that into a folder to look at later.

Hi Pat. I forgot Doctor Zhivago too. Not that I've ever read the book. I tried to read it once and didn't get very far, the names completely confused me.

Margaret, the first two are new to me and the last. The rest I'd forgotten about, despite having read Light on Snow! And my grandaughter is in her school's Christmas play - The Snow Queen - this year so I should never have forgotten that. Old age...

Thanks for the ideas everyone, I'll be making a list soon and doing a post about it.

DesLily said...

me either..but then I liked looking at Omar too much to just "read" and not have that great view lol lol

Cath said...

Yeah, he was gorgeous in the movie of DZ, and in the one with Barbara Streisand er... Funny Girl was it called? Absolutely adored him in that.

DesLily said...

yes, Funny Girl lol.. he's still handsome even in his 70's! His son is goodlooking but not as good looking as he was/ is!

Charlotte said...

The two that come to my mind are both children's books--Winter Holiday, by Arthur Ransome, and The Wolves of Whilloughby Chase, by Joan Aiken.

Cath said...

Thanks, Charlotte! Haven't got around to doing my list yet - hopefully today or tomorrow - but will add those when I do.

Tara said...

The first thing that comes to mind is The Long Winter, which I see you thought of too. Also, Smila's Sense of Snow - which I didn't finish.