8931 Cold Books for Hot Days

Cold Books for Hot Days

It’s hot out there, especially if you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast, both sizzling through an epic summer heat wave. So stay in the air conditioning, keep yourself hydrated and — if you can — cool down with one of these books, which are all set in extremely cold places. Who knows — reading about blizzards, snow drifts, howling Arctic winds and sleet storms might be even more bracing than a dip in the pool or a glass of iced tea.

Peter Hoeg, Smilla’s Sense of Snow

In Copenhagen, Smilla Jasperson sets out to find who killed a neighbor’s child, starting at the local medical examiner’s office and ending weeks later, on a ship navigating the ice floes of Greenland. “If you fly from Europe to Thule, you’ll step out of the plane and think that you’ve entered a freezer that’s under several atmospheres of pressure, as an invisible icy cold forces its way into your lungs.”

Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child

Long winters come alive in Ivey’s novel about 1920s-era homesteaders in Alaska: “The next evening, the snow fell with dusk. The first flakes clumped together as they twirled and fluttered to the ground. First just a few here and there, and then the air was filled with falling snow, caught in the light of the window in dreamy swirls.”

Stephen King, The Shining

Only a few chapters into King’s horror classic, Wendy and Jack Torrance are snowbound at the Overlook Hotel. “It snowed every day now, sometimes only brief flurries that powdered the glittering snow crust, sometimes for real, the low whistle of the wind cranking up to a womanish shriek that made the old hotel rock and groan alarmingly in its deep cradle of snow.”

Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome

In Wharton’s bleak New England masterpiece, “The village lay under two feet of snow, with drifts at the windy corners. In a sky of iron the points of the Dipper hung like icicles and Orion flashed his cold fires. The moon had set, but the night was so transparent that the white house-fronts between the elms looked gray against the snow, clumps of bushes made black statins on it, and the basement windows of the church sent shafts of yellow light far across the endless undulations.”

Jack London, White Fang

Snow muffles the landscape in this companion to “The Call of the Wild”: “Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean toward each other, black and ominous in the fading light.”

Ragnar Jonasson, Snowblind

In Jonasson’s classically crafted Icelandic whodunit, blinding snowstorms lash the village: “The snow covered ground was so white that it had almost banished the winter night’s darkness, elemental in its purity. It had been snowing since that morning, big, heavy flakes falling gracefully to earth. … There was no point opening a window, with the shingle-clattering wind, yet more snow falling and temperatures well below zero.”

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