It’s that time of year again. There’s condensation on your single-glazed windows, your nose runs uncontrollably every time you leave the house, the woollies are back in rotation, spiced hot beverages are back on the high street and even the dog gives you a look of disdain if you leave the back door open for too long. Whilst we can’t guarantee what joys the British weather has in store for the next few months, we can promise that we’ve got the perfect books to get you through it.
Here are ten books to cosy up with from Little, Brown Book Group:
Fantasy has to be the best genre to curl up with on an overcast winter day. The Ten Thousand Doors of January steals you away to a magical world filled with adventure and mystery.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.
But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
'A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers and the doors they lead us through . . . absolutely enchanting' Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice
'The Ten Thousand Doors of January healed hurts I didn't even know I had. An unbearably beautiful story about growing up, and everything we fight to keep along the way' Amal El-Mohtar, Hugo Award-winning author
Halloween is behind us for another year, but that needn't spell the end of your witchy reading. So when the sky darkens at 5pm, light some candles, cast a salt circle and dive into this magical collection.
The Virago Book of Witches is a collection of more than fifty stories about witches from around the world. There are tales of banshees, crones and beauties in disguise from China, Siberia, the Caribbean, Armenia, Portugal and Australia. The characters featured include Italy’s Witch Bea-Witch, Lilith, Kali, and Twitti Glyn Hec. Alluring women, enchantresses, wise old ladies and bewitching women: they are all here and ready to haunt, entice, possess, transform, challenge – and sometimes even to help.
If you haven't yet got around to reading everything on Obama's summer reading list, never fear, this is what winter is for! (Aside from overeating and making small talk about whether it's been colder than last Christmas or not.) So grab a blanket, grad a box of tissues and curl up with this devastating novel.
Author of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in 1960s Florida.
Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.
'If greatness is excellence sustained over time, then without question, Whitehead is one of the greatest of his generation. In fact, figuring his age, acclaim, productivity and consistency, he is one of the greatest American writers alive' Time
This is the perfect wholesome tale to take you through the darkest of winter days.
This is the story of a man named Kang Dae-su. His whole life is a miracle, rising from poverty to running a successful construction company. In his twilight years, Kang is diagnosed with a brain tumour. He returns to his childhood home of Cherry Hill. He acquires a crumbling old house in which to retreat from the world, yet the residents of the town have other plans. They seem hell-bent on intruding on Kang's private property. But who does the house, and Cherry Hill, really belong to? Is it owned by the construction company who is trying to rejuvenate the neighbourhood? Or does it belong to the residents who have used the land to play, think, walk, love and explore for generations? And how is the bitter and despondent Kang's childhood tied to this magical place?
Miracle on Cherry Hill is a redemptive story of a damaged man regaining his trust in humanity. It explores the fragility of nature and human lives and is much-loved classic in South Korea. And it includes beautiful illustrations inside! This would also make a lovely Christmas present.
Well, we couldn't not include a super cute Christmas story on this list!
From the writer of Netflix sensation, A Christmas Prince, comes a heart-warming new holiday story showing that sometimes the detour in your journey is the path to true love...
This year, Emmie can't wait to share her favourite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. So when his hectic work schedule has him more 'bah humbug' than 'ho, ho, ho,' Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his festive spirit.
But Emmie's plan for a romantic mountaintop rendezvous backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy showing up at Christmas Point. Sam, a bestselling mystery writer, thinks Emmie's clever clues are from his agent, to help him get over his epic writer's block. When the two come face-to-face, Emmie sees Sam only as the wrong guy, but Sam, intrigued by Emmie, decides to stay, hoping the small, enchanting town will help inspire a new book idea.
When Grant keeps getting delayed by work, he tells Emmie to start doing the special Christmas activities she planned without him. Emmie is disappointed, until Sam joins her and she starts wondering if the wrong guy is really Mr. Right.
With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her heart in the direction of true love . . .
A winter read for all our poetry lovers.
‘Heather Christle’s poems may well be one of the places readers turn when they want to know what it was like to be young and paying attention in the early 21st century . . . Her poems are wide awake’ Mark Doty
In The Trees The Trees, each new line is a sharp turn toward joy and heartbreak, and each poem unfolds like a bat through the wild meaninglessness of the world.
‘At least once per poem, you feel like the triple-bars just lined up in the slot machine window and you laugh or cry out’ John Darnielle
‘Ecstatic, breathless, full of incandescent humour and wonder . . . Read and love her seemingly spontaneous utterances, spun from her rapt attention to daily life, nature, solitude, romance, to her own reeling and enchanting imagination’ Cathy Park Hong
‘Heather Christle’s poems are magical’ James Tate
A seasonal title, an ominous blood spatter on the cover, a John Grey historical mystery – what's not to love?
John Grey is now a Justice of the Peace and lives in the manor house he has inherited on his mother’s death with his new wife, Aminta.
As the village is cut off from the rest of the world by a heavy snowfall, George Barwell is discovered dead in the woods. Grey is called to examine the horribly disfigured body amidst the rumours that the attack has been the work of the Devil as the victim had been cursed by reputed witch Alice Mardike just days before his violent death.
As Barwell’s father-in-law leads the villagers into kidnapping Alice and throwing her into the millpond to see if she floats as a witch or drowns as an innocent woman, Grey agrees to investigate the murder: his main suspect is the very man leading the witch hunt.
But if Grey can’t solve the mystery of George Barwell’s death within a week, Mardike will be tried for witchcraft – and the sentence has already been decided . . .
Transport yourself to Little Jamaica, Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood this winter.
Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle – of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a ‘true’ Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too ‘faas’ or too ‘quiet’ or too ‘bold’ or too ‘soft’.
Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.
A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.
‘Zalika Reid-Benta announces herself as an enormous voice for the coming decade (and one that is desperately needed)’ Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
For our YA fans we'd recommend Shirley-Anne McMillan's heartwarming YA novel Every Sparrow Falling.
‘Be nice to the majority of people and they won’t bother you much. Don’t get too involved. Have a laugh but keep your distance.’
These are the words 16-year-old Cariad lives by. She’s just been placed in yet another foster home, this time with an elderly Christian couple in a small town off the coast of Northern Ireland.
Cariad knows how to play this game. She’ll toe the line just enough that her new foster parents don’t ask what she gets up to when the sun goes down, just enough that they leave her alone. It’s easier that way.
But when a boy at school disappears – presumed dead – and no one seems to care, it really bothers her. Then one night out walking on the clifftops, she sees him and he asks her to keep his secret.
Don’t get too involved. Have a laugh but keep your distance. These are the words Cariad has lived by . . . until now.
And to wrap up our list, another appropriately festive and cosy Christmas story from Carole Matthews.
Janie Johnson is ringing the changes this Christmas.
As a thirty-something hairdresser, Janie’s single status is a constant source of concern for her clients as well as her friends. So after one too many questions about her love life, a blind date disaster and hearing her ex-boyfriend is getting married, Janie decides it’s time to do something dramatic.
Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she’s mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right. Until that is she meets her gorgeous tour guide, Dominic.
But all good things must come to an end. Can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him, or will she get her Christmas wish in Wrapped up in You