I love choosing a book that’s off my usual path and savoring it. When I can find a quiet moment among the holiday festivities, you can find me with that book. Along with the kids, I hope for a snow day or two. That’s when I feel permission (from whom?) to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.
We have a family tradition of new books for winter reading, which we give at winter solstice. That’s a night we give ourselves permission to stay home, light a fire, brew some cocoa, and open a new book for winter reading.
On most years, I research and give books that relate to the history or culture for places we plan to visit the next summer.
This year, I have no idea where we might go next summer. I’m staying focused on the present, because that’s just where we are right now.
So I took a different approach for this year’s winter solstice gifts. I choose two books that are closer to home, emotionally if not physically, and one middle-grades book I saw recently when poking around lists from my online book club.
Here goes. This year’s winter reading.
For Bill, a book to feed his emotional connection with Coach Jim Boeheim and Syracuse men’s basketball. In the Zone covers Boeheim’s forty-plus years as Syracuse men’s head basketball coach, during which time he amassed more victories than anyone except that fellow down in Durham, and where he became known for his belief in the zone defense, executed well.
Bill and I were among the few who were truly happy when Syracuse joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. It meant that a long-time Syracuse basketball fan could finally watch almost all of the games on cable and streaming channels available to us.
For me, I chose a book close to home. Literally. A Nutshell History of North Carolina has earned terrific reviews for its use of humor and stories to tell the history of our state in a memorable way. I’m all for some stories at this time of year, so this book is ready to open on winter solstice night for a fun jump into my winter reading.
Finally, a middle grades book. I’ve chosen The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. Set in 1967, the book earned Newbery Honors for its author. Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, and neither he nor his teacher is happy about it. The book is reviewed highly for its wit, and I look forward to a fun ride.
This year’s winter solstice is Saturday, December 21. A great time to pause for winter reading.