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Winter Solstice: Best Books to Read in the Dark


Photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy from Pexels

It’s time for the longest night of the year in a year that has felt like a long cold night in and of itself. So what to do in the dark? Traditionally, solstice celebrations are common in any culture where the weather gets cold, and most have the same basic idea: get warm, get inside (ideally with a nice fire, good food, and some excellent booze), and keep your inner light burning until the sun comes up.

Some pagan traditions keep a candle or fire light through the night, with celebrants awake to watch over it, carrying the light through the long night, and there are ways to capture the spirit of this old tradition (without the fire hazard). Instead, set up some soft lighting, and as the sun goes down at 4pm, snuggle up with a good book. What better way to spend a long night than sitting up till sunrise with a page-turner?

 

Wintering: The Power Of Rest And Retreat In Difficult Times by Katherine May

This beautiful non-fiction book talks directly about the solstice in parts, but that is only a fraction of what makes it the perfect read this year. All about the power of turning inward during the metaphorically dark times, this is a book about using lessons from nature, storytelling, and more to get through tough times. For the season, and for 2020, this is a balm for the tired soul.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

 

The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman

For something a little less peaceful, The Remaking begins when a pair of women are accused of witchcraft, burned at the stake, and twisted into an urban legend to be told for decades to come. Of course, this isn’t just a legend, and the book wanders through multiple time periods, telling the stories of the women accused of witchcraft again and again…

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

 

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child is set in the wilds of Alaska, in 1920, as a couple attempts to create a homestead in the wilderness and grieve their inability to have children. However, this is more fairy tale than Laura Ingalls Wilder frontier-lit. The descriptions of the snow, the winter, and eking out a living will certainly make any reader feel warm and cozy at home, but it’s the love story and the magic of the characters that bring this alive. It’s the perfect blend of unreal fairy story and harsh winter reality, and is absolutely perfect for the longest night of the year.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

 

 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

For any who have not already become fans of this time-travelling series thanks to the hit TV show, the solstice is a great time to start—not least because the books are longer than the night of the 21st! The solstices are a key part of the time travel at the heart of the series, but the pagan rites are not the only reasons to read Outlander at this time of year. The romance and magic, as well as the depictions of life in a time where things were a little less cozy, will leave any reader feeling warm and fuzzy.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

 

Warren the 13th And The Thirteen Year Curse by Tania Del Rio and Will Staehle

If the kids want to stay up for the solstice too, Warren the 13th’s adventures will keep them wide-eyed until it’s time for bed. This most recent addition to the series (plenty more to read if they’re going to start as soon as the sun goes down!) sees Warren continue his adventures to try and save his hotel from the forces of darkness…

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

 

 

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

Finally, another look at a book with a Russian folklore twist, as two sisters discover that their parents have the ability to transform—one into a bear, and the other a swan. But when they leave the girls behind, they must try and discover if their own gifts exist, and if they are enough to deal with the threats of the outside world.

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

 

What will you be reading this solstice? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know.

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