winter reading

The days are shorter, the daily temperatures have dropped, and the winds are brisker. In short, it’s staying-in season. Here are five books that pair nicely with a cosy blanket and a monstrously large cup of tea.

Under the Skin by Michel Faber

Michael Faber’s first novel is a sci-fi tale of a girl named Isserley who drives through the Scottish countryside and picks up male hitchhikers. The plot is almost nonexistent but Faber builds the story as a slow burning reveal worth investing the time.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History chronicles the actions of a group of six young, eccentric college students who, under the influence of their classics professor, discover a new way of thinking and living that sets them apart from their fellow students. Their change in mentality leads them to destruction and murder, with the novel playing out as an inverted detective story trying to answer why rather than who.

 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale centres around Vida Winter, a well-loved, reclusive author, and Margaret Lea, the young biographer tasked with recording Winter’s true past after a lifetime of lies. It’s unashamedly a book for people who love books, with heavy echoes of gothic literature that will delight fans of the genre.

The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier

Any of du Maurier’s books would fit on this list; they all feature some combination of suspenseful plots, rich settings, and dark characters. The Scapegoat, one of her lesser known works, takes the well known trope of two lookalikes taking each other’s places and turns it into a examination of the hidden side of human nature and the extent of responsibility in relationships.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Highsmith’s debut novel is an intriguing psychological thriller about two men who meet on a train and decide to trade murders – one man’s wife and the other man’s father – to get away with the perfect crime. Highsmith works through all the feelings of guilt and remorse leading up to and after the acts are committed, leaving readers with an unsettlingly normal picture of the mind of a killer.

Words: Kate Klassa