Student Snippets


Blizzard Books

If you are inclined to get carried away with the spirit of Snowmageddon 2015, below I offer you suggestions for books to read while you're hunkered down in this mess or while you're hearing about it on the news from far away (lucky you!). In retrospect, perhaps I should have complied a list of beach reads instead.

Oh well. Here it goes:

Blankets by Craig Thomason- The black and white artwork in this graphic novel makes the snow it depicts intense in contrast with the rest of the drawings. Set in the 90s during a heavy winter in the Midwest, this tale of young love will make you want to snuggle with someone to keep warm.


Simila's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg- Secrets wait beneath the ice in this dark crime thriller that takes place in Denmark and Greenland. Simila, the protagonist, will make you re-consider the very structure of snow itself and all the trails you leave behind in it as she tracks down a child's murderer.

Snowpiercer (both volumes) by Jaques Loeb and Jean-Marc Rochette- Another graphic novel! But another great one, especially if you are a fan of dystopian adventure. Set in the future when the earth has frozen solid, humanity survives on a train barreling through the cold. Now the slave occupants of the back of the train must fight their oppressors (those living in luxury at their expense at the front) for equality and a voice.

The Ice Storm by Rick Moody- Against the backdrop of the swinging 70s, this novel follows two families as everything in their lives comes to a head when they are forced to stay in place for a serious winter storm. Death, abuse, sex, drugs, and general drama are big players here. You will want to go outside and shovel after you put this down just to have an excuse to leave your house.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut- This apocalyptic classic centers on a new form of ice that freezes water at room temperature. If all the talk of ice isn't enough to make your blood run cold, then the way Vonnegut shows humanity's avarice will. Don't worry--as serious as it gets, the author will keep you laughing with his cynical caricatures.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer- Always the outdoorsman and thrill-seeker, here Krakauer chronicles his journey on a March 1996 expedition to the summit of Mount Everest during which eight people died in a blizzard. It's definitely a page-turner every step of the way.


In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette by Hampton Sides- If you love novels about boats or books about survival, move this one about a journey through uncharted artic waters to the top of your list. It starts out a bit slowly, but you won't get up for so much as a bathroom break in the last quarter of the book when it's all polar bears, snow-blindness, vortexes, and madness.

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian- During the course of a snowy night in rural Vermont where treacherous roads and downed phone and power lines prevent a laboring mother from delivering in a hospital, a midwife performs a C-section and must deal with the consequences, both legally and psychologically. Bohjalian's descriptions of the storm's aftermath will have you ordering condoms off Amazon Prime as soon as you finish the book. (Thank God for Prime in this weather...)

The Shining by Stephen King- Blizzard giving you cabin fever? This is your cure. In case you missed the seriously scary movie adaptation, this story is about a family stranded at the Overlook Hotel as its patriarch becomes the property's new caretaker, whereupon he loses his mind and becomes homicidal. Be careful you don't blow a fuse, because this horror classic will have you leaving the lights on 24/7 as you run your little space heater.

The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis- Three siblings stumble into another world where it's always winter under the rule of the evil White Witch. With their help, Aslan (lion and savior) can banish her and bring spring to the realm once again. It sounds like a simple kids book, but it's a powerful allegory and beautifully written. It will make you remember what's magical about this season.


Honorable mentions go to Jack London's White Fang, Piers Paul Read's Alive, Gary Paulsen's Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child, Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, Leif Enger's Peace Like a River, Lone Alaskan Gypsy's A Tundra Tale, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and Donna Tarte's The Secret History. Unfortunately, there is only so much room here, and I already exceeded it.