Hibernating With Books

This gentleman is not exactly hibernating. Perhaps he is waiting for a ride. For most of us the coming of winter means moving our reading indoors. In many ways it is welcome to me. It means a break from yard and garden chores for a few months and longer evenings to read.

So, how might one think of hibernating with books?

I’m a bit like the squirrels I watch in my yard, gathering acorns from my oak. The last weeks have been a time of “squirreling away” my reads. As a reviewer, that’s meant perusing various publishers for new and upcoming releases to review and requesting them.

I also keep an eye out for current books I’m interested in. I have Celeste Ng’s (an Ohio-born author) new book on my TBR pile and am looking forward to the release of Louise Penny’s newest Gamache later this month.

Long evenings, particularly in our dead of winter in January, are always a good time to lose oneself in a long book. I have a new novel, The Deluge, (actually coming out in early 2023) by Stephen Markley, another Ohio author. I also have a biography of Jonathan Edwards, a theological hero, by George Marsden, that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.

Of course, libraries are a great source of winter reads. It’s a good place to learn about newly published books and get recommendations. If hauling home a stack of books isn’t your thing, e-book borrowing is simple and free. Find out what app, like Overdrive, they use and load up your e-reader.

Used book sales are another way to squirrel away books. Many libraries do this as a fundraiser. I have friends who make great finds at Goodwill.

Have you run out of shelf space? Winter can be a good time to cull out the books you won’t read again, or even for the first time. You can donate or sell them. I half joke that my local Half Price store is my ATM. Truth is, I haven’t been to an ATM since before the pandemic.

Maybe it’s time for more shelves. Winter’s good for that, whether you buy or build them yourself. Then there is the fun of arranging them. And even if you don’t add shelves, if you are like me you could stand to tidy them. You might even try to catalog your books. Apps like LibraryThing make it easy and even have barcode scanners.

“Hibernating” doesn’t mean being antisocial. Bundle up and go to a reading, join a book group, or even just invite a group over to talk about favorite books. A grad group I was connected with did a books and brownies night. I always came away with one or two reading ideas.

But there is also that simple delight of a comfortable chair, a good light, a warm beverage, and that book you’ve been waiting to read, with a few others nearby. Sometimes simple pleasures are the best. Happy hibernating with books!

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