If you’re stuck indoors for the rest of this week due to family Thanksgiving obligations or fear of the storm that’s supposedly approaching — or because you’re simply trying to avoid the world — a good idea might be to just spend your time off reading books. City folk like us couldn’t be more jealous of those of you lucky enough to have a fireplace and an idyllic landscape to look out at, but even if we have a subway rumbling right outside our doorstep, squeezing the maximum amount of coziness out of our Thanksgiving-break reading experiences shouldn’t be too difficult. These books will help you keep you warm as the temperature dips.
Essays, Henry David Thoreau
All Thoreau wanted to do was not pay taxes and walk around the woods to get more in touch with nature; what could be more cozy than that? This collection, recently published by Yale Press,is sort of required reading if you want to know about peaceful protest or how to appreciate your own late-November jaunts through the woods — and you’re sure to enjoy it even more if you preface your reading with a trip to the market to buy a jug of apple cider (to which you may well want to mix in a good amount of bourbon. We’d suggest something like Maker’s Mark or Buffalo Trace).
The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories, Jack London
If the crappy weather strands you indoors, hopefully you’ll be stuck with beer, whiskey, and these classic London stories that will remind you that no matter how cold it is outside, at least you aren’t roaming across a tundra just trying to survive off whatever you can find.
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Whether you’re reading this Brontë sister’s classic or a book by another of her siblings, nothing complements these novels like listening to the wind whipping outside your window and drinking a few pints of Guinness topped off with cider.
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
You’re pretty sick of Gatsby right now, but This Side of Paradise is Fitzgerald’s coziest book. His debut novel finds the great American author recalling his early years in the Midwest and at Princeton. Since this one is about 300 pages, you wouldn’t be remiss to read it with a vodka martini in hand, taking breaks to stare out your window and watch the snow slowly fall.
Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
It’s an Edith Wharton book, so you know you’re getting your share of love and tragedy, but you know what else you’re getting? A snowstorm in a fictional Massachusetts town. So go grab your Pendleton blanket, and stay warm reading one of Wharton’s great works.
A Country Doctor’s Notebook, Mikhail Bulgakov
You think you know all there is to know about Bulgakov because you read The Master and Margarita, but this semi-autobiographical work that takes place in the countryside is a short, 160-page read that is perfect for an afternoon (or perhaps a train ride home for the weekend) when you just want to finish a book in one sitting.
The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
You’re probably familiar with The Cider House Rules, but any book by one of New England’s greatest living writers does the trick if you’re snowed in and slow-cooking something. Even though his plots aren’t always that cozy (there’s some dark stuff in this one), you can’t beat the setting.
The Ice Storm, Rick Moody
An ice storm approached a New England town in the early 1970s while two families prepare for Thanksgiving. You know that is a recipe for all kinds of disaster, but you just keep on reading and drinking Glenlivet because you don’t dare go outside.
Mothers and Sons, Colm Tóibín
While some of the stories in this collection are a bit unsettling, there’s something about this Irish writer’s work that slowly warms you up. This is the sort of book you read when it gets gray and slushy outside, so make a hot toddy while you read about mothers who are addicted to wine and abusive priests.
Still Points North, Leigh Newman
You might think you have it rough with a few inches of snow dusting your sidewalk, but try growing up in Alaska like Leigh Newman did. We’d suggest picking up this wonderful memoir and reading it while baking cookies and then washing them down with ice-cold milk.