Friday, December 15, 2017

Our Winter Shelf

Just in time for the Winter Solstice on December 21, here are the books you suggested for Our Winter Shelf.

Many of you chimed in with The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, especially The Long Winter, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Both perfect choices.

Here are more:

Joyce F:
An entire shelf of cozy mystery suggestions - M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin, Hamish MacBeth), Mary Daheim (Alpine series), Jeanne M. Dams (Dorothy Martin or Hilda Johannson books), Diane Mott (Goldy Bear caterer), and Jo Dereske (Miss Zukas).

Winter Solstice or any other by Rosamund Pilcher.
Nine Coaches Waiting and Thornyhold by Mary Stewart.
Jane Austen - take your pick.

The Agatha Raisin books - here's one appropriate title, Kissing Christmas Goodbye.
Agatha Christie  - I found these two titles that fit our theme - Hercule Poirot's Christmas and The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (short story mysteries).
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

From the irrepressible Tullik:
The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys (I wrote about this splendid book here).

Winter: Five Windows on the Season by Adam Gopnik - a series of lectures given on the impact of winter on art, culture, polar exploration, etc.

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann - Tullik suggests that if nothing else, read the chapter 'Snow'.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf for the frozen Thames chapter.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens for its chapter 'Christmas at Dingley Dell'.

Christmas Day - tongue in cheek poem by Irish poet Paul Durcan.

The Ice Palace - a short novel by Tarjei Vesass who was Norwegian and should know something about winter. I found an Amazon Kindle edition for 99 cents.

My thought for the Winter Shelf was for it to hold books I already owned and wanted to reread. That way, I wouldn't have to leave my house and 
brave the snow and ice and cold to get to the library or bookstore.

So here are my choices, many of which I have written about before on Belle, Book, and Candle and I have included links to those posts.

I had Little Women in mind when I started thinking about this list and have an edition (see the photo at the top of the post) that is inscribed in my grandmother's handwriting to my mother - Christmas 1932.

The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink - just in case I want to spend a little time in the Florida sun (here).

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas - my parents gave me this little book with woodcut illustrations and I reread it every year.

Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols - I'll save this one for the approach of spring to get me in the mood to think about the garden.

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg - I read this suspense novel a long time ago and remember that Smilla, a Greenlander now living in Copenhagen, surely knows her way around snow and ice.

Essays by E.B. White - almost anything written by him brings me comfort.

Endangered Pleasures by Barbara Holland - its subtitle says it all - In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences (here).

And finally,

Simple Pleasures: Little Things That Make Life Worth Living - a collection of essays by various British writers published by The National Trust (here).

So there you have it. Plump up the pillows in your reading chair, gather a warm, soft throw and your favorite cup of tea, and settle in for a long winter's read. Enjoy!


  1. That's a great list. I'm sorry I didn't contribute, but I have 'moving houses' brain and couldn't even remember the zip code I've had for 12 years the other day!
    I'm in love with your copy of Little Women. I have a copy of that, Eight Cousins, and Rose in Bloom that were my mother's. I can't remember if they're inscribed or not.
    I loved the Barbara Holland book. There's a similar one by Rose Macaulay called Personal Pleasures. I'm with you on E. B. White and Beverley Nichols, anything by them. And I watch A Child's Christmas in Wales, the one with Denholm Elliot. Except this year it accidentally got packed up and taken to the new house. I do have the copy of the book my mother gave me, though, so this year, I'll read it instead of watching it.
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Joan, aren't we fortunate to have books that belonged to our mothers. My copy of LW has a copyright date of MCMXXIX. (We may be the last generation that can read Roman numerals! I personally have a fondness for them.) I also have a copy of Eight Cousins with no inscription, but a copy of Under the Lilacs with an inscribed date of 1934. That is the extent of my Alcott collection.

      I read the Macaulay book of essays but have to say I love Ms. Holland's irreverence and wit.

      Penny writes that the BBC is producing as yet another adaptation of Little Women and it should be on Masterpiece Theatre in the spring.

      I hope the moving chaos is calming down. Thanks for taking time to comment. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. Oh, Belle, such a delightful list, many of which are on my shelves and others that will hopefully find there way here. Thank you for compiling this and for sharing it and best of wishes in this Christmas season.

    1. Thanks, Penny, for your suggestions. There are some old friends on the list and some new ones to meet! Should keep us warm over the winter. Best holiday wishes to you and you family as well.

  3. How could I forget "A Child's Christmas in Wales" ??!!
    Nice one Belle!!

    1. (haha)I covered for you, Tullik. You added some stellar ones to the list. Thanks for that. You always come up with the unusual and the intriguing.