To play with the order of Swinburne’s famous phrase, the hounds of winter are on fall’s traces. Earlier this week we had a low temperature that settled in the twenties, which, over a few days, matriculated into the thirties and eventually received its diploma. This spate of cold weather was not totally surprising since I live in a town more than six thousand feet above sea level; it was only surprising because I live in the middle of sunny Mexico.
I know what some of you are thinking: what a wimp. I’m sure someone out there trekked five miles through snow in twenty-below-zero weather as a kid to get to some lame social studies class. But I say, better you than me.
Okay, we’ve established my wimp credentials. But in my defense, our house has no heat, other than the oven, which I admit to only occasionally turning on. Lately I feel as if I’m living inside the crisper drawer of a Sub-Zero refrigerator. San Miguel is the only place I’ve ever lived where in winter I have to go outside to warm up.
The chilly weather reminded me of how I love nothing more in winter than to sit near a roaring fire, hot drink in one hand and a riveting book in the other, strong reading lamp overseeing it all, like some Greek God of Good Reads. Let’s face it, this is exactly how one should spend a good winter’s day or evening, don’t you agree?
With that in mind, I let my mind wander, as minds do, and thought of books I’d like to re-read, as I was standing in front of a warm oven, which would have to do because our house does not have a fire place. Did I already mention how cold our house gets?
I chose to limit my selection to four works of non-fiction and four works of fiction—all of them contemporary. (Re-reading literary classics is a different, ahem, story.) I could just as easily have picked forty of each. I’ve elected to merely list them and save both of us the trouble of any embarrassing comments.
By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons by Ralph Caplan
The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: The Wisdom of Children’s Literature by Jonathan Cott
Quick read: The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers by Tom Standage
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Freaky Deaky by Elmore Leonard (no, wait, make that Get Shorty, or Swag, no, Out of Sight… all right, I’ll compromise and settle for anything by Elmore Leonard)
Quick read: Montana 1948: A Novel by Larry Watson
That takes care of re-reading oldies but goodies. To find your next great winter read of new works, don’t forget to check out the amazing slate of books by FUZE, including my own humorous memoir, Nobody Knows the Spanish I Speak. FUZE books make great holiday gifts, even if they don’t fit into a normal stocking.