A Genre For Every Season: Winter

Winter is almost upon us. With it comes fuzzy socks, marshmallow-laden hot chocolate, and the biting cold. But if you’re like me, winter is the perfect time to cuddle up with a soft, warm blanket and read.

Maybe you’re wondering what to try. Well, instead of giving you suggestions, although I’ve sprinkled a few here and there, I’d rather speak about the best genres to read during these blistery months, especially if you live in a place where winter is FRIGID, spring is cold, summer is construction season, and fall is your only solace.

Cozy Mysteries

Cozy Mysteries are the epitome of the perfect winter read because there are many cozy mysteries that take place exclusively in the holiday/winter months, including A Midwinter’s Tail by Darlene Ryan and Winter Whodunnits: A Dozen Cozy Mysteries For a Chilly Winter’s Night.

What are cozy mysteries, you ask? They are a subgenre in the mystery category that has as little to no sex and violence. Quite the opposite of the Noir style subgenre. Not saying you shouldn’t read the more hard boiled, unflinching mysteries, just that I always picture cozy mysteries as much more snug and wintery. Plus, cozies sometimes even have recipes for cookies, which are a must to combat the dark days and cold nights of the dreaded winter season.

There’s not too much murder to get your blood boiling but plenty of puzzles to keep those brains nice and toasty. Not to mention, there’s something about curling up with an excellent, comfortable read while snow is lightly falling out the window and your pet is politely or not-so-politely curled in your lap.

Self-Help Books

Winter marks a new beginning, at least in the western calendar. New Years starts the year off with a bang, sometimes quite literally, and sets us all scrambling to meet our goals (ah, how soon we forget those goals).

Self-Help books can either tap into your brain philosophically or spiritually, like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho or reroute your entire way of thinking, just like What To Say When You Talk To Yourself by Shad Helmstetter. They can even change how you see others, like What Every Body Is Saying by Joe Navarro.

Reading self-help books is a gift worth investing in. Not only are you reading about mindfulness, healthy living, or improved social skills, you’re actively engaging your brain, making it much stronger and more well-rounded. Reading also lowers stress levels and focuses on something that no other media can provide: the ability to simultaneously tap into several parts of your brain. If that isn’t a good enough accomplishment, you aren’t giving yourself enough credit.

Historical Fiction

Winter is a time when we wish to lose ourselves in other things and not think so much about those poor dead trees or the terrible howling wind. Instead, we turn to Netflix binge sessions, hardcore gaming, and of course a novel to keep us satiated. Fantasy and sci-fi can definitely hit the sweet spot here, but what pairs even better is historical fiction.

Why? This particular genre is interesting because you can choose to live in our world and experience it with a whole new lens, all while reading something balmy, if you’d like. Ah, you can imagine what it was like to feel warm and learn something new about previous decades.

Although, if you wanted to read about historical nobles donning scarlet capes, setting contrast to snow’s stark white, and bask in beautiful imagery while in the safety of your heated house, well that’s possible too. Stories like A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, or The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak are great for letting you slip away for a moment in time and forget that if you let your blanket slip for an instant, you’ll begin to feel chilly too.

Whether your goal is prepare your mind, find comfort in your home, or drink in winter’s beauty without unpleasant temperatures, these genres will surely do the job. Winter is a time of reflection, so let yourself bask in the beauty of reading and learn something new about yourself and the world.