If you live in the northern, eastern part of the US right now, like many other places in the world, it is freezing outside. Where I live, just outside Washington, DC, our inadequately insulated walls and bodies used to temperatures at least in the double digits don’t quite know how to cope. Pipes are bursting and creating frozen rivers along streets. Furnaces are groaning and giving up, taxed beyond their capacity. We are not used to this type of never-ending cold where the sun mocks you with its brightness while the air bites away at your toes and fingers until they’re numb.

When I even think about going outside I start to pre-shiver. I may not be able to open the door and step out into a hot sun with sand between my toes. But I can open a book and step into fictional world to warm me up!

Therefore, I’m choosing the best therapy for the cold I know, books!

Here are 5 books to keep you warm all winter! They may not all take place in warm climates, but they are sure to keep you warm in other ways while the frigid air knocks against your windows.

5. How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan

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First, this book takes place in warm, toasty, tropical Jamaica. (You’re welcome.) Second, I love this book because it is about a 42-year-old single mother caught up in the constant, unrelenting pressure of a high-powered corporate world. Like many women, she’s expected to do it all and more, be more than perfect at her job and at being a mother than everyone one else. Everything she does, she does for other people. Until she decides to do something for herself. Mothers, ladies out there, she’s a great role model for making sure you take care of yourself too.

(Full disclosure, I have only seen the movie. But I’m sure the book is better. It always is.)

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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This young adult novel starts out in the hot (and sometimes steamy for other reasons) terrain of Serra, a city in The Martial Empire. The story follows Laia, a slave girl, as she infiltrates the evil Martials in an attempt to save her brother. Of course, she also falls for her enemy along the way. If you want to feel like you’ve kept warm by running on a treadmill for five hours, this is the book for you. The action never stops and your heart races with you to the last pages.

3. The Beach by Alex Garland

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This is an oldie but a goodie. If you want to read about warm, tropical locations and get your heart rate up via some tense suspense, this is a great book. In the book, after discovering a seemingly Edenic paradise on an island in a Thai national park, young Richard soon finds that since civilized behavior tends to dissolve without external restraints, the utopia is hard to maintain. It’s like Lord of the Flies with adults and drugs.

2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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This book takes place in Sweden, in the winter. Snow and ice are so pervasive, they’re practically a character in this book. So why would I choose it? Well, for one, those people don’t complain about how cold it is. They can handle it. It gives me something to strive for. The real reason though is that this book is so heartwarming.

Grumpy Ove keeps trying to kill himself. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s a bit comical in the book. And as the book progresses his relationship and the thawing of his own cold heart make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It may take place in a cold town, but the book is filled with warmth.

1. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

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Yes, you can read a children’s book if you’re an adult and appreciate it. If you also want to escape the harsh cold, then why not grab the classic Island of the Blue Dolphins? Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kelp beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches. Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an American Indian girl spent eighteen years alone…It’s a Newberry Award Winner. It will send you to a warm place and warm your soul.

 

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