5 Books to Include on Your Winter Reading List

By Brett

Winter is here, bringing with it a wonderland filled with snowy landscapes, frozen rivers, and fluffy marshmallow snow-filled trees. However, winter also means shorter days and more time spent indoors to escape the blustery cold.

With winter and shorter days comes with the advantage of having more time to spend cozying up with a good book. Pair a book with a hot drink, a warm blanket, a comfy sofa next to a roaring fire (if you’re able) as you escape from everyday life.

Jim Harrison: Complete Poems
Jim Harrison

“You can’t step into the same river even once.
The water slips around your foot like liquid time
and you can’t dry it off after its passage.” – River VI

The Complete Poems of Jim Harrison is a true legacy, holding all verses ever published and an extra selection of never-before-seen works, composed across half a century. This collection explores nature's wonders (which were recurrently featured in his earlier writings), musings on rivers and time, the transitory state of life and death, plus Zen-inspired philosophies. Harrison’s work is rooted in his Midwest background and the experiences he himself had. He found solace outside, hunting and fishing with his dogs, hiking through nature, while also connecting with people through meals and conversation. His art reflects both the joys growing from these experiences as well as the sorrows that could also be found. One can dig into the depths of Harrison's thousand-page collection and be inspired to pay closer attention to each moment they’re living.

Jim Harrison made a lasting impact on the literary world through his extensive works. His novels, fourteen volumes of poetry, have been translated into two dozen languages, and produced into several feature length films, such as Legends of the Fall. In 2007, Jim Harrison earned the honor of being inducted into the Academy of American Arts and Letters. Early in his career he co-edited Sumac magazine with fellow poet Dan Gerber and earned recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation. His final work Dead Man’s Float was published posthumously in 2016—marking the end of an illustrious career.

To celebrate his legacy, Copper Canyon Press released The Complete Poems of Jim Harrison in 2021.

The River You Touch
Chris Dombrowski

“A river is a thread sewn into time that is not subject to time, or at least not subject in the way we humans are. Because it flows horizontally, we liken it to clocks and calendars, but it moves vertically as well, descending from peak to sea water, lapping at layers of strata, reading and rereading the deckled edges of the earth, softening rocks the glaciers teased forth, conversing with the eons, the kalpas.”

The River You Touch is a sincere memoir of life and fatherhood in Montana. Told through slow, drifting but never aimlessly flowing vignettes, Dombrowski navigates family, friendships, and the meanings to be found in nature, living amongst such a rugged landscape. It features wonderful, insightful reflections on his visits and feasts with poet and friend, Jim Harrison, before his passing in 2016. Dombrowski’s memoir deals in strong currents, steering through financial responsibility, sacrifices his art by taking a teaching job, while remaining hopelessly devoted to the landscape of Big Sky County, which demands a mountain tax for those families who wish to call it home.

Chris Dombrowski is a renowned author of three acclaimed collections of poetry and two narrative nonfiction books, The River You Touch: Making a Life on Moving Water, published by Milkweed Editions and Body of Water: A Sage, A Seeker, and the World’s Most Elusive Fish. He currently works as the Assistant Director for Creative Writing at the University of Montana in Missoula where he lives with his family.

The Wanting Way
Adam Wolfond

How small we are to the water would trigger the ways
Inviting the ways of compassion to each: offerings.
The ripples greatly sew the stitches of beings. Are we good? Can we be good?
How much water does it take to drown us, pull us into awakenings?

The Wanting Way is Adam Wolfond’s latest book of captivating poems. Wolfond, a nonspeaking autistic artist, poet, and university lecturer whose works have been showcased in documentaries, multimedia exhibitions, and academic journals. The Wanting Way explores his inner wilds, inviting others to consider, to experience his own non-speaking language, and methods of communication and connection as he points inward and outward simultaneously. The effect creates ripples and weaves a thread through The Wanting Way, both lyrically and ergodically threading the needle on the pages through different pathways - creating a liminal space demarcated by the self. 

The Wanting Way is the second in Milkweed Editions, Multiverse program, a literary series devoted to different ways of languaging. It primarily emerges from the practices of neurodivergent, autistic and non-speaking cultures."

Adam Wolfond is the writer of two chapbooks, There Is Too Much Music in My Ears and In Way of Music Water Answers Toward Questions Other Than What Is Autism, both published by Unrestricted Interest. He made history as the youngest ever author to be featured in the Academy of American Poets’ prestigious “Poem-A-Day” series. Additionally, he is also a found member of dis assembly – an innovative neurodiverse artist collective based out of Toronto.

The Ski Jumpers
Peter Geye

“The sunrise and its reflection off the lake has shattered the morning into an infinity of bright shards.”

The late filmmaker Agnes Varda once said “If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes. If we opened me up, we’d find beaches.” Perhaps, if we were able to excavate the interior lives of most of our fellow Minnesotans, instead of beaches we’d find frozen, snowy landscapes. In Peter Geye’s latest novel, The Ski Jumpers, follows English professor Jon Bargaard reliving memories of the sport he gave up decades ago to take care of his younger brother. Unfolding over the course of a trip out of Duluth towards a family cabin on the Gunflint, there is much to adore in this tale about letting go, by not being afraid to take flight - even if it means potentially crashing and burning. Geye leaps back and forth in time through memory, peeling back the layers of a Minneapolis childhood, family estrangement, secrets, and tragedies. 

Peter Geye's captivating works of literature have earned him numerous accolades, including the Minnesota Book Award for his novel Wintering. His other notable novels include Safe from the Sea, The Lighthouse Road, and Northernmost. The Ski Jumpers was published by the University of Minnesota Press in September 2022. 

Geye earned his MFA from the University of New Orleans and later achieved a PhD at Western Michigan University, where he also held an editor position for Third Coast. Currently, Geye teaches the year-long Novel Writing Project course at Loft Literary Center. He was born in Minneapolis and maintains residence there with his family today.

Fox Creek
William Kent Kreuger

“Since I first entered this world, what awaits has always been before me. If I turn this way or that, it is still there, waiting, more patient than any human being.”

Fox Creek is Kreuger’s 19th entry in the long running series of mysteries featuring private-eye Cork O’Connor of the fictional Tamarack County in Minnesota, a gate way to the very real Boundary Water’s Canoe Area Wilderness. Cork is approached by a stranger to track down his wife, who he believes is having an affair with Henry Meloux. Cork’s wheels start turning as he knows - this simply can’t be the case.

Henry coincidentally happens to be his friend and an Ojibwe healer who is more than 100 years old.  This triggers a cascade of events, leading to cat and mouse chases featuring, Rainy along with Henry and Delores to pushing deep into the Boundary Waters as they try to evade two killers pursuing the women. Closely behind, Cork and Dolores’s brother-in-law Anton, a tribal cop, pursues the two killers. Lovers of mystery, thrillers, and the North Shore will want to join Cork and the crew deep into the wilderness, a Kreuger blends the beauty and perils of nature.

Award-winning author William Kent Krueger has captivated readers around the world with his Cork O’Connor mystery series set in Tamarack County, Minnesota. The series featuring Cork, a man of both Irish and Ojibwe heritage, tallies 19 installments (so far) has earned multiple accolades, including the prestigious New York Times Bestseller List for nine consecutive novels. Other awards won by Krueger's work include the Minnesota Book Award, Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, Anthony Award, Barry Award Dilys Prize and Friends of American Writers Prize. Kreuger and his wife of nearly fifty years, reside in St. Paul – a city he dearly loves.

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