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Winter – A Season Full of Wonders at the Library

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

- from “Winter-Time” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Winter is not everyone’s favorite season, but for many winter has its own special magic. From the joy of gathering around a fireplace and watching a winter snow fall to the wonder of wandering through the stark beauty of a winter forest landscape, there are many reasons to appreciate the winter season. It is also associated with many celebrations and feasts such as Christmas, Hannukah, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and Carnival.

So what’s to celebrate about winter? The book Winterlust describes how our perception of winter has changed over the years from a season of harshness and scarcity to a season to slow down and appreciate the comforts of home, what the Scandinavians called “hygge.” You may want to read Making Winter: a Hygge-inspired Guide to Surviving the Winter Months. In this book you can find recipes and projects to make the most of the short winter days and long winter nights.  

Within books at the Mercer County Library System, you can find many other reasons to celebrate. How about the beauty of the snowflake in all its different varieties? In The Snowflake: Winter’s Frozen Artistry, you can read about every possible variation of these marvelous winter crystals, produced when water vapor plunges down to earth through the cold air. 

And although it’s perhaps not the most comfortable time to spend outdoors, winter offers a variety of outdoor pleasures to the hardy of spirit. Backyard Winter Gardening details a variety of techniques to grow vegetables in the cold weather. And is camping only for summer? Apparently not, because The Winter Camping Handbook is all about exploring the backcountry in winter and making a comfortable campsite in the snow and cold. If winter photography is what interests you, Shoot Cold will tell you exactly how to get the best results. 

Although the outdoors does offer a great variety of things to do in winter, many prefer to spend their time indoors in the cold months. There are many books at the library to help you find good ways to pass the time. You could make some of the warm cocktail recipes you will find in Winter Warmers: 60 Cosy Cocktails for Autumn and Winter. Or you could make some of the desserts you’ll find in Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home.  Baking cookies and cakes in a warm oven is certainly not the worst way to pass the cold winter months. You just might want to compare the beauty of the snow outside your window to how artists such as Renoir and Monet painted the winter landscape in Impressionists in Winter: Effets de Neige. And if you do choose to take out any of these or other books, you may want to enroll in our adult Winter Reading Program to log your titles and be entered in a prize drawing! The program is open until January 31st.

However you choose to pass the winter months, and however much you long for the cold season to be over and the warm spring months to return, these books and others will help you appreciate some of the beauty of this least appreciated of seasons.

- Michael K., West Windsor Branch

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