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Reading in a Winter Wonderland

These books will warm you right up this holiday season.

When the Minnesota weather is frightful, these winter-themed reads will be delightful. Check out a few book recommendations from staff member Jerry Erickson.

Snow Play by Birgitta Ralston

Winter is here and as everybody who lived through the last one knows, that means snow and lots of it. This year, instead of letting it get you down and staying indoors, embrace the white stuff! The book Snow Play, by Birgitta Ralston, can be your blueprint for fun in the winter wonderland that is Minnesota. Snow Play has 25 fun outdoor projects, such as: a snow cave, ice slide, snow castle, nature projects in ice and a snow frosted cake that will get both kids and adults outside even on the coldest winter days. 

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

David Sedaris, author of noted bestsellers Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked, is back with a collection of his best holiday-themed essays in Holidays on Ice. This collection originally came out in 1997 and the author has added six additional stories for the reprint. David Sedaris’s trademark playful humor is a common thread throughout the book, working its way through "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!", a chipper suburban Christmas letter that spirals dizzily out of control, and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol," a vicious theatrical review of children's Christmas pageants. But the book’s best essay is “SantaLand Diaries” where he recounts his time working as an elf at Macy’s.  It might be the funniest elf story ever put to paper. Not to be missed.

Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman’s debut novel brilliantly captures the charm and dread of small town life.  Set in the fictional rural town of Owl, North Dakota where they don’t have cable and they don’t really have pop culture... but they do have grain prices and alcoholism. The novel tells the story of three characters who, though they never actually meet, still form a vibrant depiction of the town. But when a deadly blizzard—based on an actual storm that occurred in 1984—hits the area, their lives are derailed in unexpected and powerful ways. Downtown Owl is a satisfying character study, and strikes a perfect balance between the funny and the profound.

Polar Express by Carl Van Allsburg

The Polar Express opens at the exact moment when a young boy entertains the possibility that Santa Claus many not actually exist. He is then whisked off to the North Pole on the Polar Express with other like-minded children to meet the red-suited gentleman himself. The train takes the children to the center of the city, where Santa and the elves have gathered for the annual giving of the first gift of Christmas. The art work is exquisite and the story of the true spirit of Christmas is told with an economy of words, but is still quite moving. Highly recommended for all ages.

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