Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this is my first time participating!
This week’s topic is Ten Book Recommendations for __(fill in the blank)__ and I’ve chosen to go with recommendations for folks sick of the heat who want something to cool them down. It’s officially the dog days of summer, and while I love the heat, I know there are lots of folks out there who cannot wait for cooler weather to arrive. Until then, might I recommend reading books full of snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures.
I’ve pulled together a list of 10 fantastic books that will make you want to curl up under a blanket with hot cocoa. For each, there’s a short summary* and the coldest quote I could find from the story. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the chill!
Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
Author Jon Krakauer relates his experience of climbing Mount Everest during its deadliest season and examines what it is about the mountain that makes people willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense.
“Wind- whipped granules of ice and snow struck the climbers’ faces with violent force, lacerating their eyes and making it impossible to see where they were going.”
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors?
“We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.”
The Winter People, by Jennifer McMahon
West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom
“If snow melts down to water, does it still remember being snow?”
Sweetgirl, by Travis Mulhauser
Braving a northern Michigan blizzard to search for her missing meth-addicted mother, Percy James stops by the cabin of two drug addicts and flees with their endangered baby, triggering a dangerous race from the elements and a band of desperate criminals.
“It was the burning kind of cold. A tear had opened in my lip and I put my tongue to it and tasted the salty, pooling blood. There was already a throb and tingle in my toes and the air torched my lungs just to breathe it. I looked back after a minute and could not see the pinewoods or tell the falling snow in the fields from what was wind-thrown.”
The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey
Homesteaders Jack and Mabel struggle to survive in the harsh Alaskan wilderness, but the couple’s quiet life of hard work and routine suddenly changes when a small girl named Faina magically appears on their doorstep.
“She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting even as they strike. How did such force and beauty come to be in something so small and fleeting and unknowable?”
Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple
When Bee aces her report card she claims her reward, which is a trip to Antarctica, but her mother, Bernadette, disappears due to her intensifying allergy to Seattle and people in general, which has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands and Bee uses emails, invoices, school memos, private correspondence, and other evidence to try and understand why her mother has left.
“I hadn’t been outside yet the whole trip. Instantly my ears stung and my nose became a burning-cold stone at the end of my face. The wind blew so hard it froze the insdie of my eyes. The tops of my cheeks felt like they might crack. ‘We’re not even in Antarctica yet!’ dad howled in the wind. ‘Do you feel how cold it is? Do you?’”
The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces…As danger circles nearer, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales
“She had grown very cold, despite her furs, when at last Frost came through the trees, cracking his fingers and laughing to himself. He danced right up to Liza and breathed into her face, and his breath was the wind out of the north that freezes skin to the bone.”
Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
A small Swedish town rallies around their new ice rink in the hopes of their junior hockey team competing in the national semifinals. But the match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil.
“She ran out into the trees where they had left her that morning and started yelling hysterically, then collapsed and dug desperately at the snow with her hands, as if she might find her children there. Her ears and fingertips froze, and afterward she didn’t know how to explain what happened inside her.”
Nos4a2, by Joe Hill
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding missing things. Vic, now an adult, was the only kid to ever escape evil child kidnapper Charles Talent Manx, and Charles intends on getting his revenge by kidnapping Vic’s son.
“The snowmen stood in bunches, in families, and the breeze generated by the car snatched at their striped scarves. Snowmen fathers and snowgirl mothers with their snowchildren and snowpuppies. Top hats were in abundance, as were corncob pipes and carrot noses. They waved the crooked sticks of their arms, saluting Mr. Manx, Wayne, and NOS4A2 as they went by. The black coals of their eyes gleamed, darker than the night, brighter than the stars.”
The Snowman, by Joe Nesbo
One night, after the first snowfall of the year, a boy named Jonas wakes up and discovers that his mother has disappeared. Only one trace of her remains: a pink scarf, his Christmas gift to her, now worn by the snowman that inexplicably appeared in their yard earlier that day. Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he’s received. The case deepens when a pattern emerges: over the past decade, eleven women have vanished–all on the day of the first snow. But this is a killer who makes his own rules . . . and he’ll break his pattern just to keep the game interesting, as he draws Harry ever closer into his twisted web.
“The thaw during the day had made the tiny snow crystals hook together into larger crystals, but now that the temperature had fallen again, the water vapor had condensed and frozen onto other crystals. The result was that the snow which had been so fine, white and light this morning, was now coarse, grayish white and packed.”
What books are helping you stay cool this summer? Share in the comments below!
*Summaries from publishers and Follett.