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Every season holds special delights for readers, and here are some favorites for snowy days or long, dark nights.  Make a cup of tea, (or the Bookworm snow day fave, hot chocolate) grab something fleecy and your woolliest, silliest socks, and try one of these.

The Lymond Chronicles: Six volumes of Renaissance wit, intrigue, swashbuckling, poetry, magic and romance with chess-themed titles. A marvelously complex hero and a huge cast of fascinating characters including the toddler Mary Queen of Scots. Volume one is good. By two chapters into volume two, I was laughing out loud at the best trick an author has ever played on me, and irrevocably hooked.  There’s enough here to savor until spring (if Phil is right).

Zenna Henderson: I have the big Zenna Henderson omnibus reader, as well as those of my paperbacks that have survived the years, moves and lending. Henderson wrote wonderful interrelated stories of good aliens, called The People, who leave their dying planet and come in small lifecraft to the American Southwest. Their stories of reunion, survival and coming of age are completely unique and deserve to be more widely known.  Many of Henderson’s stories take place in old mining towns and schoolteachers are often the narrators. One unrelated story is the creepiest tale of OCD ever. Check her out.

Tana French’ s tales of the Dublin murder squad are again loosely interrelated, with a different detective narrating each one, so you can start anywhere. I’m planning to read them in order again, very slowly, and hope that by the time I get to the end there’s a new one!

Garden books: There is a special happiness to be found in reading and dreaming of gardens at a time when no one can possibly expect you to go out and, well, actually work in one.  Curl up with a pile of your favorite catalogues. I especially like to pick out all the old roses and peonies that will never make it in my shady yard–in my winter dream graden they thrive! Check out Onward and Upward in the Garden, by Katherine White. Besides being an editor at the New Yorker for many years, and marrying E.B. White, White wrote about gardening and about her garden in Maine. If you can find a copy, Celia Thaxter’s An Island Garden with Childe Hassam’s color illustrations is a wonderful way to pass a winter afternoon.

Happy reading!