As we start to hunker down for the holiday season, we wanted to come up with the perfect seasonal reading list: think books you can curl up with as the snow falls outside your window, warming up these coldest, darkest days of the year. We started out with a few of our all-time favorites and asked our community of readers for a few of their top reads as well, and came up with a list of great reads for all ages.
Each of these links will take you to the list on our Bookshop page, which means every order supports independent bookstores! Ackerly Green may receive a portion of the proceeds from any sale placed through our Bookshop store.
This book is just a delight. I think it’s every kid’s (and adult’s) dream to be snowed in with a strange cast of characters and a mystery to solve. This was one of my favorite reads last winter and I’m looking forward to curling up with the sequel, Ghosts of Greenglass House, this year!
As a community of Erin Morgenstern stans, we’d be remiss if this wasn’t at the top of our list (even though this book has been on almost every single reading list we’ve done so far). This book is just such a treasure and so wonderfully wintry. I would have zero problems with it being winter all year round if it meant living inside this book and its many magical tales-within-a-book.
“Pretty winter vibes (set in a big snowstorm in the mountains)! A little bit mystery, a little bit magic forest/lineage of witches, very atmospheric!” —Tinker
A childhood favorite I recently re-read, this book has a special place in my heart as a Midwesterner who grew up on the blustery, frozen shores of Lake Michigan! A mystery of riddles and wits for all ages, this is a classic that never gets old.
This one has been on my winter TBR for years, and I will admit that its delightfully icy cover is definitely what first caught my eye. Myth and magic combine as Miryem, the daughter of moneylenders, take on a frozen world ruled by creatures “who seem more ice than flesh,” and is brought into an impossible tangle of secrets and sacrifices that will determine the fate of a kingdom.
A “Midwinter classic” as suggested by reader Lexington, this is technically the second in the series of the same name, but you don’t need to have read Over Sea, Under Stone first to enjoy this tale of elemental magic and a young boy who must join with the six Signs of Light to face down the evil Dark once and for all.
An avalanche stops a cross-country sleeper train in its tracks—and there’s a murderer on board. If that’s not wintry then I don’t know what is. Plus, is there anything cozier than an Agatha Christie mystery? I thought not.
The second volume of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, if you’re a literary fiction lover or have one in your life, then this one can’t be missed. It’s strange and lyrical and absurdist, equal parts bleak and humorous, and will leave you thinking long after you put it down.
“Loosely based in feudal Japan, where the seasons are a major consideration in the movement of plot,” reader Sapphire suggests Lian Hearn’s bestselling series. The first book, Across the Nightingale Floor, follows the story of Takeo, a young man who leaves his peaceful mountain village in pursuit of his destiny when he discovers his father was a powerful assassin, and he has inherited the same deadly, preternatural skills. With five volumes, this series will definitely last you through the winter!
A devastatingly beautiful book about a blind little girl in Nazi-occupied France and a German soldier who tries to track down the resistance through the strange radio programs that the girl and her uncle broadcast. I got this book as a Christmas present a few years ago so, I associate it with being cold but cozy and also a little emotionally broken—which, aren’t we all this time of year?
Too obvious? Too bad! C.S. Lewis merits a re-read every few years, if only for the sheer joy and magic of stumbling into Narnia again for the first time after being away. This is another book I’d be happy to brave the cold to live inside, knowing that no matter how long the winter feels, Christmas always comes.
“It takes place in winter in Montreal and revolves around a huge mystical house. The main character meets/befriends small First Peoples versions of the Wee Folk who draw magic from the quiet within, the taw. There are game pieces involved, thin carved ivory discs. The climactic battle is a siege of the house/mansion.” —Lexington
This book (and the whole Winternight Trilogy) has been on my TBR for years because it just looks so cozy! Set in the snowy Russian wilderness, it follows a young girl’s quest to protect her family from evil winter spirits that seem to come straight from her childhood fairy tales.
I’m a sucker for both historical fiction and survivalist stories, so a book set in 1920s Alaska checks a lot of my boxes already. When a lonely, childless couple builds a girl out of snow and a real girl appears, running wild through the woods with a fox at her side, the couple wants to adopt her as their own—but is she everything she seems? A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, this is the perfect winter novel.
“Fleeing England for America, and trying to survive the trials of a new land and being a witch,” the story of Mary Newbury as suggested by reader Sapphire tackles questions of magic and identity in chilly Puritan New England, told through the pages of a young girl’s journal. Magic, witches, and an epistolary format? All we need is a hot chocolate and we should be good for the rest of the winter.
Did we catch some of your faves? Think we missed the perfect cozy read? Let us know! Our lists are always growing, and we’re happy to keep adding to this list!