Books to read by the fire: this list will get you through the dark winter months!

Reading by the fire is one of the best winter activities out there, we’ve made a list that will light up your dark months.

Written by Stannah

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
Edith Sitwell

Indeed it is. When winter comes around, especially during December, most of us crave the comforts of our warm and toasty homes. And one of the most popular activities to do during these darker months is to read a book, either by the fire, next to a beautifully decorated, lit-up Christmas tree, or buried beneath cosy blankets on the couch!

Stannah has put together a list of (mostly) classics for you to get inspired by this December. We couldn’t help ourselves and also made a small list of Christmas books! If you have grandchildren, nothing beats a good book to read together, especially when you serve it with hot cocoa and some butter cookies. That’s a precious memory in the making.

Sit back, turn the heating up a bit and let yourself be inspired.

Reading by the fire, these will get you through those dark winter months!

  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen: nothing will brighten your day more than a good laugh! The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen will give you exactly that. The book is written as a diary by Hendrik, an 83 ¼-year-old man who lives in a nursing home. His stories about the daily lives of the people around him are filled with hilarious passages, heart-warming stories and just a touch of drama. This book was such a big success when it came out in 2016 that it has been adapted into a play and a TV series.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: when this classic first came out in 1890, it was considered an indecent book – so much so that the editor actually deleted about 500 words before publishing it! This masterpiece by Oscar Wilde is nevertheless an amazing piece of literature, worthy of its title as a classic.  The story is about one beautiful, innocent young man’s seduction, moral corruption and downfall. The mysterious painting is what makes this book the perfect read for a long dark night.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one. 

George R.R. Martin

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; This is most definitely a classic. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should take care of that this winter! First published in 1813, it hasn’t lost its touch and still keeps readers glued to its pages. The reader accompanies the protagonist Elizabeth Bennet on her journey as she discovers the error of making hasty judgements and comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial and the essential. This masterpiece, written by literary queen Jane Austen, filled with scenes of Britain in the 18th Century, will keep you warm and fascinated on a sunny but cold winter afternoon.

A stack of books waiting the be read

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; the first book in a series written by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This mysterious book, set in post-Spanish Civil War Barcelona, will take you to a place full of shadows, forgotten books, old stories and dark intrigues. The protagonist, Daniel Sempere, will make you fall in love not only with him, but also with his father and their little book shop. This best-seller, which was first published in 2001, will make you want to sit down and not get up until you’ve read it all. It’s the perfect book for a rainy afternoon. Plus, you’ll know what to give your friends and family next Christmas: a copy of this amazing book!

The 100-year-old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson; This adventure of a book came out in 2009, published in its country of origin, Sweden. Its protagonist is a 100-year-old man called Allan Karlsson, and just like The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen, he’s not a very likely hero for any story. It is an amazing story with fantasy intertwined with reality – a must-read for anyone who wants to travel the world from the comfort of their own living room! We at Stannah enjoyed this book so much we even dedicated a whole article to it! Check it out here.

Christmas books by the fire, the cherry on top of your Christmas!

The Christmas season might be winding down, but it’s not too late to enjoy a few more Christmas classics!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; how could we leave this classic out? It has to be included on any Christmas book list! This masterpiece, written by master author Charles Dickens, has been adapted innumerous times since it was first published in 1845. The story of how Ebenezer Scrooge finds the Christmas spirit by travelling with the ghosts of Christmas pasts is immortal and will probably outlive us all. Put on your favourite Holiday song and let Charles Dickens take you back in time.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie; first published in 1938, it still has all the ingredients one looks for in a good murder mystery.  Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie combines the graceful investigation skills of famous detective Hercule Poirot with a special touch of Christmas spirit. This locked room mystery has all the ingredients for a thrilling afternoon of reading by the Christmas tree.

Books are a uniquely portable magic.

Stephen King

The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien; how incredible would it be if your father was none other than the creator of Middle Earth? This book was published 3 years after Tolkien’s death, it is a collection of letters written and illustrated for his children from Father Christmas. In these letters, Father Christmas tells the children stories about his own life and about his elvish secretary. It’s a treat to read and a perfect option for both adults and children. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you can’t miss this one!

Cosy books to read to your (grand)kids. 

reading to the grandchildren

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents

Emilie Buchwald.

Or on the laps of their grandparents. Think about your own childhood, did your parents or grandparents read to you? Can you still remember some of those books? There’s a good chance that if they did, you still enjoy reading a lot. And what a precious gift they gave you! Here are some books to inspire you to either continue the tradition or start a new one:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. The 7 chronicles that make up this series will keep you busy for quite some time! Aimed at pre-teens and written in 1949, The Chronicles of Narnia have become a literary classic, and they have by no means become outdated! Fantastic creatures, epic battles and thrilling encounters will keep you and your little ones glued to the pages of these books. And when you’ve read the chronicles, check out the beautifully animated films!
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein. Written for J.R.R. Tolkein’s own children, this short novel is a child-friendly introduction to the world of Middle-earth where the perils of the lord of the rings takes place. A ‘timeless classic’ according to GoodReads, this book will keep its readers enthralled, and just like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, if you liked the book, you’re sure to enjoy the film adaptation! Why not watch all 3 films in one sitting and make a day of it?
  • The Bear by Raymond Briggs; Written by the author of ‘The Snowman’, the famous Christmas book and film, this Winter book is great reading material for younger grandkids! The adorable friendship between a little girl and a great white polar bear will take its readers on a journey filled with fantasies and beautiful illustrations. Just be careful your little one doesn’t ask for a polar bear for Christmas!

Be sure you’re sitting comfortably, treat yourself and your loved ones to some cookies and let the magic of books enchant your winter!