Best Books for Winter Reading

It is the time of year that many of us enjoy reading winter books, and I am sharing some of the best books for winter reading.

best books for winter reading on a table

I love to read books set in the season featured in the book. During the summer, I am not usually in the mood for a book set in a cold place, and during the winter, I don’t enjoy reading a book set in a tropical location.

This time of year, many people are longing for spring, but the reality is that for most of us, there are several weeks, if not longer, of winter left.

During December, I often turn towards holiday books, but during the rest of winter, I love to read books set during the winter months and in colder weather.

If you are like me and love to read winter books during the colder months of the year then this list of best books for winter reading is for you.

The list includes fiction and nonfiction. As always, this list only contains books that we have read.

Winter Fiction Books

The Forest of Vanishing Stars book

Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel. The story of a group of Jews who escaped the ghettos and hid and lived in the forests during WWII.

Much of this book takes place in winter, or at least colder weather, so it makes a great winter read for those who enjoy WWII historical fiction.

The Diamond Eye book cover

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn. Set in Ukraine during Hitler’s invasion, this WWII book is a great read. It was one of my favorite books in 2022.

It is based on a real-life female sniper during WWII since it is set in Ukraine it is perfect for winter reading.

The Frozen River book review

Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon. This is the perfect winter read. I read this in December and it ended up being one of my top reads of 2023.

The Frozen River is based on the real life midwife Martha Ballard who lived in Maine in 1789. This book takes place of the course of one winter so it makes a great winter read.

Winter Solstice book review

Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher. First published in 2000, this book has become a winter classic for many people. I have heard some people say that they read this every year.

This is a slow, quiet novel set in Scotland. But it is not dull. It is about life and death, marriage and divorce, and the overall ups and downs of everyday life.

I now have a goal to read all of Rosamund Pilcher’s books.

Between Shades of Gray book review

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This WWII historical fiction book is set in Lithuania and Siberia. Lina, the main character’s life, is changed forever when the Soviet Secret Police take her and her family from their home.

This is considered a young adult book, but it is a book that adults will enjoy, too. Since most of the book is set in Siberia, it makes for a great winter read.

Still Life Book by Louise Penny

Still Life by Louise Penny. This is a recent read for me. Yes, it took me years to pick up a Louise Penny book. This book is set in Quebec during the colder months of the year.

Many people think of this one for fall reading. It is a good fall read, but it also makes a good winter read. If you love mysteries and have not read Louise Penny, it is time to pick it up. As you read on in the series there are quite a few that are set in the winter.

The Walnut Tree

The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd. This is an excellent book for fans of Downton Abbey. It is a WWI book set during the holidays in England.

Once Upon a Wardrobe

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan. A brother and sister are on a quest to find out where Narnia came from. I read this in December and enjoyed it.

It is set during the holidays, but I think it would be a good read for any time in winter.

The Winter Guest book

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff. This historical fiction WWII book was published in 2014. It is set in winter, which is perfect for this time of year.

Winter Nonfiction Books

Empire of Ice and Stone

Empire of Ice and Stone by Buddy Levy. I have mentioned this book multiple times over the last year. There is a reason for that. This book is so good. I think it is the perfect nonfiction winter read.

Empire of Ice and Stone is the story of the Karluk and its voyage between Alaska and Siberia in 1913. It is a story of leadership, survival, and more.

If you love adventure stories this is a great one.

The White Darkness by David Grann

The White Darkness by David Grann. This book is about Henry Worsley and his fascination with polar exploration.

It shares his journey across Antarctica. As usual, David Grann does a great job drawing you into the story.

The Children's Blizzard

The Children’s Blizzard by David Lakin. Have you ever heard of The Children’s Blizzard or The School Children’s Blizzard?

The Children’s Blizzard is the real-life account of winter on the Dakota prairies during 1888 when over two hundred people died in a blizzard. It is now known as The Children’s Blizzard because most of those who died were school children.


Endurance by Alfred Lansing. Published in 1959, this book about Antarctica is considered a classic nonfiction book.

I read this book years ago when my father-in-law highly recommended it. If you have not read this one, it is a great read. I think it is time for me to reread it.

The Ghost Ships of Archangel

The Ghost Ships of Archangel by William Geroux. Grace enjoyed this book about an Arctic voyage during WWII.

If you love little-known WWII stories, you will probably enjoy this one.

Best Books for Winter Reading

5 thoughts on “Best Books for Winter Reading”

  1. I listened to Endurance on audio and it soooo exceeded my expectations! I also loved Once Upon a Wardrobe o audio (due to the fun collections of accents).

    I have a copy of Winter Solstice and Between Shades of Gray on my shelf waiting their turn!

    • I bet Once Upon a Wardrobe would be good on audio! I think we have similar reading tastes so I think you will enjoy Winter Solstice and Between Shades of Gray. There are so many books to read and not enough time to read them all!

  2. I am in the midst of listening to Endurance and really enjoying it! Lynn, could you give me some sort of rating on Winter Solstice? I hear so many people talking about it. Would you rate it PG or PG-13, or maybe you could just give me some idea of how much of various things are in it, so I can decide if it’s a good one for me to read or not? Thank you!

    • I would say it is mainly PG with a few PG-13 things. I do not like overly graphic books, especially romance books. I don’t read romance unless it is fairly clean. I would not consider this book romance, but that topic is what I think you are wondering about. This book does deal with divorce, affairs, and some difficult topics, so the topics are more PG-13, but besides a couple of things, I don’t remember it going into a lot of details with the romance. I think I skimmed a few paragraphs and that is all. I hope that helps answer your question. I am so glad that you are enjoying Endurance. It is such a great read!

  3. That’s exactly what I wanted to know, Lynn. Thanks so much! Yes, I am giving updates to my family about Endurance: The Endurance has sunk…. They are shooting the dogs, etc. I put a couple other books about the expedition on hold. That’s how it is when I get interested in something – down the rabbit hole, which I thoroughly enjoy!


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