Adult Book List: Staff Picks for Winter!

books on winter background under snow

We asked CBRL staff for their favourite winter themed reads and wow did they ever respond. No matter what your reading tastes are, we have a winter pick for you.

Keep track of the books you read and earn points towards prize draws when you join our Winter Reading Challenge. January 27th-March 31st 2022.

Browse our entire book list or jump ahead to your favourite genre:

Wintry Literary Fiction

  • Beartown & Us against You. by Fredrik Backman. “People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today.” — From the publisher. If you’ve already read Beartown, check out its sequal: Us Against You.
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips. “In her dazzlingly original debut novel, Phillips imagines a cold, desolate climate inhabited by characters who exude warmth and strength. This cinematic setting is the far eastern Russian peninsula, Kamchatka, where white Russians and indigenous tribes uneasily coexist. In the chilling opening chapter, two sisters vanish after a day at the beach, and though a witness describes seeing them with a man in a shiny black car, the authorities come up empty.” –Library Journal
  • Manikanetish by Naomi Fontaine. “A young teacher’s return to her remote Innu community transforms the lives of her students through the redemptive power of art, reminding us of the importance of hope in the face of despair…In writing both spare and polyphonic, Naomi Fontaine honestly portrays a year of Yammie’s teaching and of the lives of her students, dislocated, abandoned, and ultimately, possibly, triumphant.” – from the publisher.
  • Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. Fall is just about to turn into winter when cell service goes out in a Anishinaabe community in Rice’s chilling post-apocalyptic novel.
  • Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles. February in Newfoundland is the longest month of the year. Another blizzard is threatening to tear a strip off downtown St. John’s, while inside The Hazel restaurant a storm of sex, betrayal, addiction, and hurt is breaking. –From the publisher.
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Alaska, 1920 – a brutal place, especially for newcomers Jack and Mabel. Childless they are drifting apart. One morning they glimpse a young, blonde girl running through the woods. She seems to be a child of the woods – somehow surviving alone.
  • Winter by Ali Smith. “Winter. It makes things visible. In Ali Smith’s Winter , life-force matches up to the toughest of the seasons. In this second novel in her Seasonal cycle, the follow-up to her sensational Autumn , Smith’s shapeshifting novel casts a warm, wise, merry and uncompromising eye over a post-truth era in a story rooted in history and memory and with a taproot deep in the evergreens, art and love.” — From the publisher.

Mysteries & Thrillers

  • Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg. “In this electrifying tale of suspense from an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village.” – from the publisher
  • The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz. “Plots and subplots abound in the second of Hurwitz’s thrillers featuring Evan Smoak, the ultimate assassin, who now uses his killing ways and bulging bank accounts to benefit mankind while avoiding his former associates in the covert Orphan Program, who want him dead.” — Publisher’s Weekly.
  • One By One, by Ruth Ware. “Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide.” – from the publisher.
  • Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson. “A train is delayed, a mother is distracted, and in an instant, a little girl is gone. Veteran investigators assume the abusive father is the kidnapper, but Fredrika Bergman, a newly hired investigator in a male-dominated police force, isn’t so sure…” — Library Journal
  • Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena. “A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect winter wonderland getaway … until the bodies start piling up. ” – From the publisher.
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz. “A woman crosses a London street. It is just after eleven am on a bright spring morning, and she is going into a funeral parlor to plan her own service. Six hours later the woman is dead, strangled with a crimson curtain cord in her own home.” – From the publisher.

Historical and Domestic Fiction

  • Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig. “While the individual characters in this novel are fictional, the events are based on the actual experiences of Smith College women during World War I. The Smith Unit, as it came to be known, was a group of 18 graduates of the women’s college, who signed up to help with relief efforts in France. Their numbers included a director, two doctors, and an agriculturalist, among others. Armed with money, some supplies, and a can-do attitude, the unit arrived in France to learn that everything would be harder than they thought it would be.” –Library Journal.
  • Five Hundred Miles from you by Jenny Colgan. Lyssa, a nurse from London, England, suffering from PTSD and Cormack, a nurse from the little town of Kirrinfeif in the Scottish Highlands swap places in the hopes that a change of scenery will do them some good
  • The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi. “It took years of painstaking work, but Lakshmi has finally built a life for herself in the pink city of Jaipur, India. After escaping the abusive marriage she had been forced into as a teenager in her rural village, she learned how to use her artistic skills to find work as a henna artist, inking elaborate designs on wealthy women and learning some of their deepest desires in the process. Now, with building work almost complete on her own home, Lakshmi begins to feel safe at last–until the younger sister she never knew she had is brought to her doorstep by Lakshmi’s husband.” — Booklist.
  • The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff. “Inspired by the harrowing true stories of those who hid from the Nazis in the sewers, this emotional testament to the power of friendship follows Ella, an affluent Polish girl, as she helps Sadie and her pregnant mother survive despite the worsening dangers of the war.” – From the publisher.
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.” Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time–and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago.” – From the Publisher.
  • Wedding in December by Anita Shreve. “The recently widowed Nora owns an inn in the Berkshires where six other longtime friends gather to swap secrets and forgiveness.” — Library Journal
  • Winter in Paradise by Elin Hildebrand. “Hilderbrand’s breezy family drama, the first of a series, plays out against the pristine beaches and sparkling waters of St. John in the Caribbean. Pragmatic Iowa City magazine editor Irene Steele has finished restoring her beloved Queen Anne home, leaving her eager for another project. Her doting husband, Russ, travels often for work and her adult sons, Cash and Baker, juggle jobs and family. When she gets a call that Russ has been killed in a helicopter crash in the Virgin Islands along with a woman named Rosie Small, she’s devastated and shocked to learn that he owned a lavish home there. Accompanied by Cash and Baker, Irene heads to St. John and discovers that Russ was leading a separate life, causing her to question everything she thought she knew about her marriage.” — Publisher’s Weekly.

Fantasy & Science Fiction

  • The Bear & the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – At the edge of the Russian wilderness, Vasilisa and her siblings spend winter nights around the fire listening to their nurse’s fairy tales and admonitions to honor the spirits that protect their home from evil. After their mother dies, the new stepmother forbids these rituals. And as evil circles nearer, Vasilisa calls on dangerous gifts she has concealed to protect her family. (Book one of Winternight trilogy)
  • Bunny by Mona Awad . The spellbinding novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.
  • Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong. The Alaskan wilderness is a harsh landscape in the best of conditions, but with a pack of rogue werewolves on the loose, it’s downright deadly.
  • Ring Shout by P. Dejili Clark. “This fantastical horror tale, set in early 1920s Georgia, has considerable resonance for the present-day United States. Maryse Boudreaux is a 25-year-old Black bootlegger who lost her family in a brutal Klan attack. She can see things that are hidden to most, and, in her pursuit of vengeance, wields a mystical blade tied to the spirits of African slaves and chiefs.”– Booklist
  • Things We Say In The Dark by Kristy Logan. “So here we go, into the dark. Some things can’t be spoken about in the light of day. But we can visit our fears at night, in the dark. We can turn them over and weigh them in our hands and maybe that will protect us from them. But maybe not.
  • Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. “The intricate royal protocol of The Crown intertwines with the adventure of Louis McMasters Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga series in Maxwell’s gorgeously plotted LGBTQ space opera debut” — Publisher’s Weekly.


  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. “Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in all of literature.” – From
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak/ “This epic tale about the effects of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath on a bourgeois family was not published in the Soviet Union until 1987. One of the results of its publication in the West was Pasternak’s complete rejection by Soviet authorities; when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 he was compelled to decline it.” From
  • Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat. A Canadian Classic for all ages. “Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, the trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes. They set out on an adventure that proves longer and more dangerous than they could have imagined. Drawing on his knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the implacable northern elements, Farley Mowat has created a memorable tale of daring and adventure. When first published in 1956, Lost in the Barrens won the Governor-General’s Award for Juvenile Literature, the Book-of-the-Year Medal of the Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians and the Boys’ Club of America Junior Book Award.” — From the Publisher


  • Food from the Fire by Niklas Ekstedt. “The crackling of birch, the sizzle of the pot and the scent of wood smoke in the air. the relaxed style that typifies Scandinavian open-fire cooking is explored in this cool new cookbook from Michelin-starred chef, Niklas Ekstedt, who is famed for cooking over wood only.” – From the Publisher.
  • Wolves in Canada by Erin McCloskey. This book is at once a primer on wolf biology, a history of wolves in Canada and an extensive overview of our conservation activities. Ultimately, it is a defence and celebration of the wolf and its majestic ”call of the wild.” – From the Publisher.