July 10, 2012
Cold books to cope with hot summer days
by Nick Davies
Here in New York, the summer heat has been oppressive lately, and people are looking for an escape — fleeing the city for breezy beaches, staying secluded in ice-cold air-conditioned buildings, even just sticking their heads into the freezer for a few glorious seconds (at least I hope that’s not just me).
If you’re looking for a good book and hoping to escape the heat for a while, the last thing you want to pick up is something about the desert, or the jungle, or a hot and crowded city. In the spirit of escapism, here’s a slideshow of several books whose depictions of snow, ice, and frigid weather could help you cool off as you dream of cooler times:
The very epitome of bleakness, Wharton’s tale of repressed passion (set in Starkfield, NH, naturally) will leave you chilled, and in all likelihood, kind of depressed.
The Shining by Stephen King
A Stephen King classic, The Shining’s plot hinges on the isolation created by the snow, although not as much in the book as in the film.
If this Jack London story of a traveler desperately trying to stave off frostbite and hypothermia doesn’t cool you down, you might be beyond hope.
“Winter is coming,” the characters in George R.R. Martin’s series like to remind each other. The scenes in Winterfell and north of the Wall are fittingly chilling, often with nothing but ice & snow as far as the eye can see.
The preceding books are all at least somewhat grim, so here’s one to lift your spirits. The classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg is sweet and heartwarming, and still evokes the chill of December weather. NB: this does not apply to the 2004 film adaptation, which was sterile and creepy.
Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat
I would be remiss if I didn’t include our very own Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat, the first in his stellar steampunk trilogy, which takes place in New Venice, the Pearl of the Arctic. That icy landscape on the cover looks pretty appealing right now.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.