Maybe you think the best books to read in January are set in the South Seas or maybe Australia where it’s high summer.
But if a book which a chilly setting or subject is more your cup of tea, here are a few good ones.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – I just got around to reading this last month and while it probably has lost a bit of its shock value in the sixty-plus years since it was published, it is still full of chills. A group of would-be paranormal investigators plans to spend a week at the notorious, isolated Hill House. It seems, at least to the psychologically vulnerable among them, that the house has other plans, . Most delightful is the lead investigator’s oblivious wife. The link is to the book. I did not see the TV series.
The Surfacing by Cormac James – In 1850, the ship Impetus sailed north of Greenland to rescue men lost while searching for the Northwest Passage. The dangers of the expedition are apparent to the Impetus’s second-in-command, yet the Captain is determined to push on. This literary fiction tale is an adventure story and one, in which every character is tested to the limit. If your personal heroes include Admiral Richard Byrd and Ernest Shackleton, you’ll love this! And you’ll need a sweater.
Five Decembers by James Kestrel – No surprise that a book with this title leads you into an epic snow-filled journey. This award-winner starts out pleasantly enough, in Hawai`i, but, alas it is 1941. The life of Honolulu police detective Joe McGrady is upended when a murder investigation takes him to Hong Kong right at the time Pearl Harbor is attacked. Captured by the Japanese, he must figure out how to survive in extraordinary circumstances. A 2022 best book of the year.
If you’re looking to warm yourself in front of the electronic fire with a good movie, you might like 2017’s Wind River. It tracks the investigation into the strange death of a young woman from Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation (Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes)—the same part of the country as the Longmire series, another favorite. DVD from Amazon.
I hope the Aussies are enjoying their summer and perpetually warm weather. Imagine the moss growing on the south side of a tree! I couldn’t get used to that. I think they made a movie about The Haunting of Hill House way back in the 60’s. The theme of Five Decembers and the protagonist being captured by the Japanese takes me back to James Dickey’s last book To the White Sea. Right about now I’m looking for something set in the warm weather.
Then you might like Jane Harper or Peter Carey. I’ve read several of theirs. Cheers!