5 Books to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

pool_waterNow that summer has officially settled in, the temperatures are rising and our faces are melting.  Ok maybe not literally, but the week of 4th of July always seems to be miserably hot and humid (at least here in the south).  They say if you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen, but unless you can afford a trip to the southern hemisphere, we thought we’d help you cool off with a list of books that may counteract your sweat glands.  The following titles prominently feature wintertime and cold weather to cool you down from the inside out.  They’re better than a day at the pool.  Enjoy!

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The_Long_WinterOk so technically this is a children’s book, but it can be enjoyed by all ages of readers, especially if you’re looking for a quick and easy cool-down.  Wilder’s imagery of a South Dakota winter season that lasted the better part of a year will make you grateful for the warmth of the summer sun, especially when you realize that all the Ingalls family had to keep warm was a pitiful wood stove, a stack of quilts and each other.  But if you’re looking to cool off, scenes of blizzards, snowdrifts, and icicles will definitely do the trick


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The_Snow_ChildAn older couple living in Alaska, Jack and Mabel want a baby more than anything, but thus far the two have remained childless.  But during a cold and isolated Alaskan winter in 1920, the fates intervene in a bizarre and magical way.  Jack and Mabel finally get their wish, but at what cost?  Is their new happy life real or a result of the intense cold and loneliness?  The Snow Child is a quiet but powerful book about the juxtaposition of desire and reality set against the white and wintery background of a vastly frozen landscape.  Believe me, you’ll be shivering in no time.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

girlwiththedragontattooThere’s a good chance that you’ve already read this book, but if you really can’t stand the heat, take a moment to revisit the cold and desolate Swedish winter that Larsson depicts here.  If you haven’t read this one, you might as well jump on the bandwagon.  You’ll be glad you did.  For those who want a frigid setting with a firecracker plot, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is worth your time.


Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Hoeg

Smillas_Sense_of_SnowIn terms of plot, Smilla’s Sense of Snow can sometimes feel a little slow, but the landscape imagery is absolutely chilling (in more ways than you may think).  When a Copenhagen woman searches for the truth in a neighborhood boy’s death, things get quickly tense and dangerous.  But the main character is an Arctic weather specialist and the book takes place during a Denmark winter, so if it’s cold weather you crave, Smilla’s Sense of Snow ought to do the trick.


Winter by Adam Gopnik

WinterIn the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that I have not yet read this book, but I do own a beautiful copy and plan to snuggle into it this coming winter.  But I will say that I’ve heard nothing but good things about this collection of essays which has been billed as a “love letter” to the winter season.  An introspective and philosophical approach to the pondering of wintertime, Gopnik’s book is sure to put a pleasantly refreshing chill in your bones this summer.

About Karli Cude

Karli Cude, previous moderator of Hooked Bookworm, is an avid reader and former bookseller. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in English Literature in 2010 and completed a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences in 2013.

  • Elaine Childs

    Next time I visit Knoxville, we’re going to have to sit down and have a chat about The Snow Child. I listened to the audiobook because you recommended the novel…and I really, really, strongly disliked it! You’ve never steered me wrong before, so maybe I missed something because it was an audiobook!

    • http://www.typographicalera.com/ Typographical Era

      Really?! I’m surprised you disliked it so much! The plot is kind of slow so maybe it would not be the best audiobook (I can pretty much only listen to very fast-paced mysteries or thrillers on audio because I get so distracted). At the time I read The Snow Child I was exploring a lot of different fairy-tale re-tellings and I loved this version of Snegurochka and I guess I really enjoyed the similarities between the two landscapes (the original folk tale is from Russia). When did you read it? I read it in January right after it was released and so maybe it’s one of those books that is best enjoyed in the winter. Hmm. We shall discuss it someday!