hefty tomes + cozy children’s books // the Curious Wren’s winter TBR tower

Whenever I write my seasonal TBR lists I usually have a few books that, to me, are most suited for specific times of the year: The Wind in the Willows for spring, The Phantom of the Opera for autumn, etc. Winter, on the flip-side, is the only season when it’s not so much about specific books (although, I do re-read A Christmas Carol every December) but rather literature that’s quintessentially cozy + hearty. The biting cold + howling winds are perfect for making me want to burrow in a nest of blankets while I indulge in hefty classics, and children’s books that I’ve loved since I was a tiny munchkin. I’ve already re-read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and, even though they’re not written on the list, I’ll also be enjoying Agatha Christie mysteries (when am I not) and Angela Thirkell’s slice-of-life British stories.

winter TBR tower

(optimism and enthusiasm intensifies)

Les Miserables (Victor Hugo). I’ve promised myself I’ll finish Les Mis this year. That sounds like I’m struggling to read it or not enjoying it when I do, but I promise you when I pick the book up it’s amazing. The problem is I haven’t been reading it steadily and every time I tuck it back on my shelf I forget about it. Maybe I’ll have to lug it everywhere with me (never going to happen since it’s a massive doorstopper) or keep it somewhere conspicuous in our house.

The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis). I’ve never read any of Lewis’ nonfiction books even though I’ve wanted to for years. Nonfiction (particularly the theological sort) intimidates me and makes me feel very smol + as if I possess only a single braincell. BUT I realise discomfort in growth is an important part of the process so I’m being brave this year. My plan is to read TGD in as hygge-like a setting as pos. (think cozy blankets, spiced apple tea, and fairy lights) because if my mind is wrestling with deep books I am absolutely going to be comfy whilst doing so. And after The Great Divorce, I have a whole list of intellectual reading to dive into.

Every time I discuss my plans to read nonfic books, I feel like Emma Woodhouse, “… so that I might not be so uneducated compared to Jane Fairfax.”

Sugar Creek Gang series (Paul Hutchens). ack, these books! I love, love, love them. They’re deeply relatable, humorous, easily devoured in one day, and probably taught me more about friendship + people + life truths growing up than anything else I read. It’s one of those series that’s so close to my heart, and influenced me in so many ways it’s difficult to put into words. I gifted myself a goodish portion of the series after Christmas–thus far I’ve already re-read two books and been bowled over by the happy feels.

Louisiana’s Way Home (Kate Dicamillo). Just thinking about reading another DiCamillo book gives me warm fuzzies. I’ve already heard such high praise for Home from my sisters (also this lovely) and I’m only waiting for the perfect day to make a cup of decadent hot chocolate + crack open my copy (it’s signed by the author. yes, I cried happy tears when it was gifted to me).

The Pickwick Papers (Charles Dickens). Good, old Dickens. I miss his books like missing a dear friend when you’ve gone months without a meet-up. Since I’ve never actually read Pickwick (I can hear Certain Friends of Mine sputtering in disbelief as I type this) I think it’s high time I change that before my badge as a Dickens fan is taken away.

A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens). No explanation required, but let me say that Sydney Carton breaks my heart, and this book is a masterpiece I will cry over for the rest of my life with no regrets.

The Wonderful Garden or The Three C’s (E. Nesbit). E. Nesbit’s books are the epitome of coziness + childhood nostalgia with lovable, heart-warming characters everywhere. I’ve only ever heard the audiobook of Three C’s (which is pure magic) on LibriVox, however, one of my sisters owns a copy which I’m going to stealthily transfer to my bookcase as soon as I have the opportunity.

Anne of Ingleside (L.M. Montgomery). I finally finished re-reading Anne’s House of Dreams in December (hopefully next time reading it will be less arduous) and Ingleside is next up in my read-through of the Anne books. It’s one of my favorites in the series–the children are all darlings–and the shenanigans and humor are wonderful. Montgomery’s books are a gift to this world, lovelies.

The Thief Lord (Cornelia Funke). This is here primarily to please my two younger sisters. They’ve been telling me I need to read it and I keep on forgetting the book exists so on the list it goes to remind me. I like Funke’s writing style and the Inkheart trilogy (Dustfinger! Be still my beating heart) and since Thief Lord is set in winter it seems apropos. also if I don’t read it soon I might never be heard from again, and you’ll know who the culprits are.

The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett): Have I ever mentioned how much I adore this book? It’s another of those childhood books that I’ve read multiple times, heard on audio during car rides, seen various adaptions of, and sat listening breathlessly with my siblings while Mother read it aloud. It’s woven into my soul in a special way that only books that came alive to you in your childhood can be. Technically it’s a book that ought to be read in the springtime, but I miss it. (If you’ve never read or owned Secret Garden before, gift yourself a copy of the edition illustrated by Tasha Tudor. They’re perfection.)

What books are you enjoying right now? Do you have specific reads you re-visit every winter?

9 thoughts on “hefty tomes + cozy children’s books // the Curious Wren’s winter TBR tower

  1. Such a great TBR.
    I can’t believe you haven’t read Pickwick. I love it!
    Also, you are not stealing my Three C’s book.
    And if you don’t read The Thief Lord I shall drowned you (which is appropriate since it is set in Venice) *winks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why, thank you! Also I know you already know this but I was so, so happy to see your comment, darling dongsaeng. I’d flail about it again, but must maintain my dignity. Ahem.
      I KNOW. It’s a bit embarrassing, BUT I’m reading it now and the characters are already worming their way into my heart.
      Oooo, are you sure about that? 😘
      Your threat worked. Done and done. And now I want to experience it for the first time again. *cries forever*


  2. I also reread Christmas Carol every winter! But I must admit, that was the only Dickens I’d read for the longest time . . . until I had to read Great Expectations for school recently, and I really enjoyed it. Now, I’m planning on exploring more Dickens. Pickwick Papers is on my list, as are The Old Curiosity Shop and Bleak House.

    Ooh, yes!! Cozy books and classics are just perfect for winter. I think my favorite wintry books are The Apartment by Greg Baxter and East by Edith Pattou. (Les Mis is also awesome! Don’t feel bad about taking long to read it; it took me over nine months. I eventually only got through it because I made time to sit down and read 100 pages a day. It was totally worth it, though!!)

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooo, another annual Christmas Carol fan! [high-fives]

      Oh, Eleanor, you have so many delicious Dickens books to fall in love with! I highly recommend A Tale of Two Cities (it has its flaws, but it’s one of the best Dickens imo and, if books make you cry, this one will). Also David Copperfield and Bleak House. Both doorstoppers, and both worth it.

      I’ll have to add the books you mentioned to my TBR tower. I’m always on the look for new cozy reads. Thanks for the recs! And for the encouragement regarding Les Mis. Your idea of a specific number of pages a day is genius. I must give it a whirl.

      Thank you for stopping by!


  3. Nice TBR tower!
    Sorry to say that I’ve never finished reading The Pickwick Papers. I mean for that to change, though.
    I’m re-reading the Anne series, and it’s been delightful! I’m behind you, having just finished Anne of Windy Poplars.


  4. This is a splendid TBR list! Alas, I have none. Just a vague fuzzy feeling in the back of my head of all that I hope to read. But my pile of half finished books are shouting abuse at me, so I feel like it would be a crime to make a proper TBR list at this point. A To-Be-Finished list would be a little more apropos….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this! 💜 You have such a treasure trove of beautiful books lined up to be read. I’m thinking of reading Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities with you. It sounds like you’ll have a nice cozy winter!


  6. Love your list!! I Love all the Dickens books. A Tale of Two cities and Great Expectations are my favorite. A Christmas Carol is my favorite book during winter and I never miss to read it every year in December. I am currently in a mood for some light reading and into Agatha Christie mysteries.


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