Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowed In: Wintery Reading

This massive snowstorm—with more to come tomorrow—puts me in the mind of wintery reading, and my old-time favorite is, of course, The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read it over and over and over, and still have that very same (tattered) edition, complete with my name and phone number printed and cursived on the endpapers. The agony when Pa couldn’t play the fiddle! The horror of hearing the train wouldn’t be running for the rest of the winter! Almanzo and Cap’s lowkey heroism! The constant grind of the little coffee mill!

Though there’s not the same happy ending, I also recommend The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin, a nonfiction account of an unexpected blizzard that swept the plains in 1888 (I’m guessing this might be the same year as the events in The Long Winter). After reading some of these survivors’ stories, you will never complain about being cold again. Interestingly, this event gave rise to meteorology and weather predictions.

The specifics are fuzzy, but I also long ago spent a delightfully cozy afternoon reading Winter by Rick Bass, a memoir of a winter in the Yaak Valley of Montana (no electricity!).

Here are some other wintery reading suggestions that were offered up on my Facebook page (thank you Caroline, Marilyn, John, NC, Diane, and Keith):

Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner
“Nebraska” by Ron Hansen
Giants in the Earth by Old Rolvaag
Rick Bass short stories
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrad (polar exploration)

Happy reading…and shoveling!


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.