One of my favorite things to do when it’s cold outside, is curl up with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book. These are five novels that I love to read in Winter, because either they’re set in Imperial Russia (where it in my mind always snows, for some reason), or because I got the book as a present for Sinterklaas and I can’t wait to read it.

// “Anna Karenina” – Leo Tolstoy


For my Literature class, I wrote an essay about adaptations from Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”. To prepare for some deep analysis, I read the novel again and I discovered, that it’s actually the perfect book to read in Winter.

The novel follows the story of Anna Karenina, an unhappily married socialite in Imperial Russia who falls in love with Count Vronsky, a handsome young man. The two lovers are swept up in their affair, but their love comes at a price…

// “Shiver” – Maggie Stiefvater


This book is both the epitome of Winter and one of my favorite reads. “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater (“Huiver”, as translated in Dutch), is the reason I fell in love with Rilke’s poetry. Main character Sam Roth is a lover of poetry – and Grace, the only girl who seems to understand him.

It seems like a pretty straightforward love story, but author Stiefvater added a nice fantasy twist: werewolves. What I love about “Shiver”, is that the werewolves aren’t portrayed as hot guys that can turn into a werewolf on command, but as people who are tortured by their curse, as they change into a wolf in Winter time. “Shiver” is a beautiful novel, and my favorite to read in Winter.

// “Grimm’s Tales” – Philip Pullman


I have had this book in my bookcase for years now and only this Winter, I decided to start reading it. The cover alone feels like Winter, with its icy look, white branches and Little Red Riding Hood dashing through the snow.

Philip Pullman, author of “His Dark Materials” trilogy, rewrote the original Grimm Tales, such as “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Rapunzel”, “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin”. There’s something about fairy tales that makes them a perfect read for Winter!

// “Crimson Peak” – Nancy Holder


After watching Guillermo Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” last October (check my review of the film here!), I found this book in the store. It’s the official novelization of Del Toro’s film – so the book is based on the film, and not the usual other way around.

I was intrigued, and started reading the book immediately after I bought it. “Crimson Peak” follows the same story as the film, where Edith Cushing falls in love with a mysterious Englishman Thomas Sharpe. After their marriage, Thomas brings Edith back to his ancestral home, where secrets lurk in the shadows and death comes creeping out at night…

// “Love Letters From Great Men” – Ursula Doyle


I got this book from my sister-in-law Nini for Sinterklaas and I absolutely love it! I’m a hopeless romantic and this book is full with love letters – some more romantic than others.

From Napoleon’s “I do not love thee any more; on the contrary, I detest thee” to John Keats’ “My dear girl, I love you ever and ever and without reserve”; their letters are an absolute delight to read, something to keep you warm while it’s cold outside.

These are the five books I’m planning to read this Winter – any new books that you are dying to read? Or perhaps classics that you return to when it gets cold?