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Classic Literature

Timeless Classic Books for Your Winter Reading List

Winter days provide ample opportunity for a cozy retreat indoors and hibernating with a book.

Last Updated on December 24, 2023 by BiblioLifestyle

As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, it’s natural to want to curl up with a good book.  Here are some classics that are perfect for winter reading.

The winter days provide ample opportunity for a cozy retreat indoors and hibernating with a well-loved book or a book you’ve meant to read for some time now.  These classic books are what those cold, dark winter days were made for.  From mystery novels and family dramas to books about fantastical worlds and stories of self-discovery, select a book (or three) from this list of classic books to read this winter.  So grab a cup of hot cocoa, settle into your favorite chair, and get ready to lose yourself in a good book!

What kind of books to read in winter?

Winter is the perfect time to immerse yourself in books that reflect the season’s atmosphere and mood.  If you prefer non-fiction, consider reading memoirs or historical accounts that include wintery scenes or themes.  For lovers of fiction, novels set in cold, snowy landscapes can give you a more immersive reading experience.  Mystery novels and thrillers can also provide a sense of chill and suspense that fits perfectly with the icy weather.  Finally, winter can be a great time to revisit childhood favorites or dive into a lengthy series or classic novel.  No matter what type of reader you are, it’s the perfect season to cozy up with a book that you can lose yourself in.

Classic Books to Read in Winter

The books mentioned below deliver immersive narratives, transporting you to different times, places, and experiences:

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • Dubliners by James Joyce
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Pip doesn’t expect much from life.  His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her.  But suddenly, things begin to change.  Pip’s narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty, Estella.  Most astoundingly, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London.  Are these events as random as they seem?  Or does Pip’s fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?

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Interested in learning more about Dickens?  Check out Reading & Discovering Charles Dickens, and for where to start reading Dickens, read 6 Must-Read Charles Dickens Books.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift.  By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.  Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.  Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies before the murderer decides to strike again.

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Interested in reading Agatha Christie?  Check out 5 Must-Read Agatha Christie Books: Where To Start.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between the years 1867 and 1927.  The legendary Sherlock Holmes employed his mastery of deductive reasoning and expert sleuthing to solve an array of complex and harrowing cases.  From his home–221B Baker Street in London–the legendary Sherlock Holmes (accompanied by his loyal companion and chronicler, Dr. Watson) baffled policemen and became famous worldwide for his remarkable observations and even more eccentric habits.

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Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son by Richard Wright

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail.  It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape.  Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.  Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

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The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Witness the creation of a magical land in The Magician’s Nephew.  The first title in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series has captivated readers for over sixty years.  On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them.  But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia.  And in Narnia, all things are possible.

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Interested in reading more C.S. Lewis?  Check out 7 Must-Read C. S. Lewis Books + Where To Start Reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice.  It views a world of incredible beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father–a crusading local lawyer–risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

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Paradise Lost by John Milton

Paradise Lost by John Milton

In Paradise Lost, Milton produced a poem of epic scale.  Conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time, populated by a memorable gallery of grotesques.

Written when Milton was in his fifties – blind, bitterly disappointed by the Restoration, and in danger of execution.  Paradise Lost’s apparent ambivalence towards authority has led to intense debate about whether it manages to ‘justify the ways of God to men’ or exposes the cruelty of Christianity.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is a timeless and beloved work of English fiction. The story follows the resilient and witty heroine, Jane, as she faces numerous challenges imposed by a harsh guardian, an unforgiving employer, and a rigid social order. When she becomes a governess to Mr. Rochester’s daughter, Jane’s life takes an unexpected turn. Set against the captivating backdrop of the Yorkshire moors, this epic love story showcases the power of kindness and warmth. Jane and Rochester’s passionate bond must withstand revelations, loss, and a tragic twist of fate.

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Interested in reading more from the Brontës?  Check out The Brontë Sisters: Ranking Their Best Novels and Where to Begin.

Dubliners by James Joyce

Dubliners by James Joyce

The first three stories in “Dubliners” might be incidents from a draft of “Portrait of the Artist,” and many of the characters who figure in “Ulysses” have their first appearance here, but this is not a book of interest only because of its relationship to Joyce’s life and mature work. It is one of the greatest story collections in the English language–an unflinching, brilliant, often tragic portrait of early twentieth-century Dublin. The book, which begins and ends with a death, moves from “stories of my childhood” through tales of public life. Its larger purpose, Joyce said, was as a moral history of Ireland.

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Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

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More About Classic Books To Read in Winter

What classic winter books to reread?

Rereading classic winter books can bring back nostalgic memories and allow you to see the story from a new perspective. Some of the classic winter books worth revisiting are:

  • “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens: This book, filled with ghosts and lessons of morality, is a classic winter tale that personifies the spirit of the holiday season.
  • “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis: This magical story, set in the eternal winter of Narnia, can transport you back to the wonders of childhood.
  • “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë: This gothic novel, with its chilling atmosphere and haunting love story, makes for a perfect winter read.

Remember, the beauty of rereading is that you already know you’ll enjoy the book, and you can discover new details that you may have missed the first time. So why not revisit a classic winter book this season? You never know what new insights or feelings it may bring.

Have you read any of these classic winter books?

Are any of these books on your TBR?  Have you read any books from this list?  What are your favorite classic books to read in winter?  What books would you add to this classic winter books list?  Let’s talk all about classic winter books in the comments.

MORE WINTER READING INSPIRATION?

Timeless Classic Books for Your Winter Reading List

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  1. Kristyn says:

    I’ve only read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. I have several classics on my TBR I need to read!

    • BiblioLifestyle says:

      I, too, have been slowly reading those classics I didn’t back in school while revisiting the ones I love. I hope you’ll find some time this winter to cozy up with classics!

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