If there is one thing the rest of the world can admire about us Canadians, it's that we know how to make the best of winter.
"I shovelled all the snow into a huge pile and had to use a ladder and garbage can to get it as big as I did," he says. "It took four to five hours to sculpt, and I coloured it with food colouring and water."
"I work with guests and perform at the campfire with children of all ages singing silly songs, telling stories, and wow-ing them with my magic smoke signal readings," he says.
And while the campfire is currently on display for his community, we only wonder what he'll make next. Can we offer a Canadian suggestion? Poutine please!
A snow day is the perfect time to curl up with a page-turning thriller like Gone Girl. The worst thing about getting pulled into a suspenseful read is having to, well, stop reading to go to work or to meet friends for dinner. If, like everyone else in the world, you’ve read Gone Girl already, try Unbecoming, a clever, engrossing thriller set in the world of antiques restoration (yes, it’s possible!). You won’t want to stop until you’ve turned the last page.
It’s quickly become de rigueur to recommend this page-turner as a must-read for Gone Girl fans. If you haven’t yet picked up Hawkins' bestseller, there’s no better time to hole up with this mind-bending mystery, driven by beautifully executed unreliable narration and psychological manipulation.
If you loved Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster so much you want more where that came from, good news: She published two dark, twisted masterpieces before Gone Girl. Dark Places follows a woman who testified against her brother after he was accused of murdering her entire family, but who must confront the possibility that he was wrongfully convicted. Satanic cults also play a pivotal role. This should keep you occupied for a long day snowed inside!
For those who shy away from traditional thrillers, Ng’s elegantly written, mournful mystery combines the suspense of a thriller with the prose quality of a literary masterpiece. What’s more, the story of a biracial Chinese-American family coping with the disappearance of their beloved oldest daughter delves into themes of race, family, and teenage angst that we can all relate to. Read our review.
A long stretch trapped inside is also a great opportunity to indulge in a long read, like Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Or, if you’ve already given that a shot, this thick and thrilling book she published well before her 2013 blockbuster. Tartt immerses you in the fascinating world of a group of eccentric students who share a dreadful secret -- then spends hundreds of pages slowly unraveling the events that led to their shocking act.
This hefty book is long enough to fill days beneath snow drifts, and features rich period settings, engaging characters, and a suspenseful plot that will keep you engrossed. When a once-wealthy family takes in lodgers in post-WWI London, the drama soon cranks up to unexpected levels.
You’re probably not going to read Infinite Jest
in just one or two snow days. But why not tackle a tough-but-worth-it read like Marlon James’ 2014 epic? 36 hours cut off from the world is just the right amount of time to immerse yourself in a world of gangsters, druglords, and Jamaican politics, and to appreciate James’ brilliant prose. Read our review.
This sprawling Dutch novel is the perfect answer to a snow day -- lurid, suspenseful, compulsively readable, and lengthy enough to binge on for hours. And you’ll need to, because once you pick it up you’ll be dying to know what happens to burly mathematics genius Siem, his gorgeous daughter Joni, her insecure photographer boyfriend Aaron, and their seemingly stable, but secretly tortuous and fraught, lives. Read our review.
You might be locked in your (suddenly tiny-seeming) home for the foreseeable future, but your mind can wander freely with Cheryl Strayed. Prepare to see Reese Witherspoon portray her in the film rendition once the snow has cleared, and in the meantime imagine that you, too, are exploring the Pacific Crest Trail, taking in every gorgeous detail of the natural world around you.
Jon Ronson, the author of The Psychopath Test
, will soon be bringing another
of his witty, well-researched nonfiction books to stores. In the meantime, though, combat your stir-craziness with this insane and hilarious chronicle of how bizarre New-Age techniques have been militarized (or considered for military application) by the government.
If you’re feeling into the winter melancholy, lean into it with this beautiful, haunting novel, which tells the story of a man with an unexplained condition that propels him to walk ceaselessly for days at a time, through snow, sleet, wind, and exhaustion.
Read this cynical, tragic novel during a winter storm, and you may start to feel paranoid, but take heart -- if you stay in and read about the perils of ice storms and swingers' parties, you're unlikely to get into the kind of trouble found in Moody's book. Winter weather acts as a catalyst for a number of fateful events in the Connecticut suburb where The Ice Storm is set, and none of the characters' lives will be the same once the snow melts.
Whether you’re in Manhattan or elsewhere in the line of the storm, Lethem’s darkly comic, richly textured novel boasts an atmosphere of ominous gloom that evokes a blizzard as much as the very supernatural events threatening the city in his surreal novel.
Or, turn up the heat with some beachy reads. Snuggle under a thick blanket, sip some hot cider, and read this classic comedy about a man who, in the grips of a mid-life crisis, takes refuge in a Caribbean vacation.
Of course, if you’re reading Wouk, don’t forget to read Yanique’s recent, and wonderful, response: a novel by and about the Caribbean people of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The book marries a warm, summery atmosphere with social commentary and intriguing magical and folkloric threads. Read our review.
If you’ve read Jane Eyre (and hopefully you all have), turn to the warmer, and yet more tragic, side of Charlotte Bronte’s romance -- the heart-wrenching tale of Bertha, Rochester’s first wife, a Creole heiress he alleges is violently insane. Rhys’ novel tells her story, from her childhood in sunny Jamaica to the horror of Rochester’s attic.
Submerse yourself in the heat of urban India, and of a dangerously passionate romance, and staying warm shouldn’t be a problem. Kapoor’s vivid depiction of New Delhi will transport you far from the driving snow, and the erotic charge between the protagonist and her dubious boyfriend will make you shiver in a good way. Read our review. Read our review.
Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo are slated to star
in a film adaptation of this delightful and thought-provoking book, so now’s the time to get prepared. Adichie’s warm, lovely novel is like the smart, funny best friend you wish you were waiting out the blizzard with. Her protagonist, Nigerian-born Ifemelu, confronts the struggles of globalization, racism, and her love for a long-lost boyfriend with equal parts strength, hope, and common sense.
Storms tend to intensify our relationships to our houses; we feel more appreciative of and intimate with the home that’s sheltering us from icy winds and swirling snow than we might at more balmy times of the year. This is the perfect time, then, to snuggle up under the eaves, listen to the wind howling, and read this funny, atmospheric novel about a mysterious house and the families that live in it over the years. Read our review.