Top 5 winter reads, featuring Philip Pullman, Peter Høeg and Brian Selznick
Craig Thompson's Blankets and the complete Calvin and Hobbes round out our winter reading selection
Ray Robinson’s new novel, Jawbone Lake, is ideal reading for the dark nights: a gripping, thought-provoking tale opening on the frozen landscape of its title. Here are five more recommendations for the season of ice and wonder.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick
Despite being over 500 pages long, this warm and magical tale can be devoured whole in one afternoon (preferably while curled up by a fire). That’s partly because half those pages are evocative pencil illustrations, but mainly because the further one delves into the story and its secrets, the harder it is to stop.
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Høeg
Christmas time in Copenhagen and Smilla Jaspersen returns home to find her 6-year-old neighbour Isaiah face down dead in the snow. Decidedly chilly in every way, this unique crime story has an intellectual twist due to its utterly original heroine.
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson
Calvin and Hobbes collections offer endlessly entertaining reading all year round, but Watterson’s particular ability to capture the winter season’s dual potential of mischief and wonder makes them perfect for this list. The strip featuring Calvin’s ‘snowman house of horror’ is a classic.
Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
The first and best in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, introducing headstrong young Lyra Belacqua, is a brilliant balance of thrilling adventure and philosophical enquiry. A story that contains a sustained investigation of the nature of the soul and still has time for a pitched battle between armoured polar bears is an achievement indeed.
Blankets – Craig Thompson
This graphic novel is defined from its cover onwards by evocative, snowy landscapes, as the author explores his formative years in rural Wisconsin. Thompson revisits younger versions of himself without irony or judgement, making this a powerfully resonant and moving read.