“Game of Thrones” jokes aside, here are some of my favorite wintry reads. Quite a few have strong ties to nature. Maybe this is because when the weather cools down, I like to curl up on the couch in front of my electric fireplace and look out the window while I read.

“Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners” by Minnesota author Gretchen Anthony is a staff favorite that is perfect for the holiday season. Each year Violet Baumgardner opens her holiday (brag) letter with the same greeting: “Dearest loved ones, far and near — evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners!” This year is different though. Her husband Ed has just retired and her daughter Cerise has been keeping a secret from her that comes out with a bang at Ed’s retirement party. This delightful novel is laugh-out-loud funny and features distinctly Minnesotan characters. It is also excellent on audio. Gretchen Anthony will visit the library for a special discussion of this book on Dec. 4 from 2-4 p.m. If you’d like to attend, sign up at bit.ly/evergreentidingsff or call the library.One book that is getting a lot of attention is “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May. In this memoir, May writes about going through difficult times in her life, and how she embraced the opportunity to slow down. While I enjoyed this book, and think it’s the perfect pace for winter reading, a similar memoir that I liked even better is “Flesh and Blood” by N. West Moss, just published last month. This is Moss’ memoir about trying to have children, struggling with infertility and miscarriages, reckoning with not having children, and dealing with a serious illness that made her bleed heavily and have very little energy. This book deals with tough topics, but it is a comforting book. Moss’ writing is compelling and calming. She is forced to slow down and after hysterectomy surgery spends months recovering, mostly living in her sunroom with her mother there to care for her. I loved the sweet, close relationship between 50-something Moss and her 80-something mother.For nature-themed winter reads, I come back year after year to “Indian Creek Chronicles” by Pete Fromm. This is Fromm’s memoir of his postcollege experience living in a tent in the Idaho wilderness for seven months, tending to salmon eggs, with only his dog for company. He cuts and stacks cords of wood, hunts, fishes, cures meat and settles into routines with the seasons. There’s a peaceful rhythm to this book and Fromm faces interesting encounters with wild animals.Similar to Fromm’s memoir, I adored “Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl” by Jonathan C. Slaght. To earn his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Slaght travels to the remote forests of eastern Russia to study the elusive fish owl. He shares his experiences with the Russian locals, and through brilliant writing makes the months he spent in tents waiting for owls seem fascinating. This book won a Minnesota Book Award and was longlisted for the National Book Award.I love nature memoirs, as evidenced by the titles above. One more that I enjoyed is “A Woman in the Polar Night” by Christiane Ritter. In the 1930s, Ritter left her home in Austria to spend a year living on the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen with her husband. Ritter recalls her year living in a poorly constructed hut on the edge of the sea, spending months without sunlight. Occasionally she takes harrowing trips to see their neighbor, 60 miles away, and retrieve their mail. This book will make you appreciate central heating and paved roads. Originally published in 1938, Pushkin Press released a handsome edition in 2019. If you like to buy your books, I would highly recommend seeking it out.Next time you’re in the library, please share your favorite winter reads with me.

Katelyn Boyer is the adult services librarian at the Fergus Falls Public Library.

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