What to Read on a Stormy Weekend



Fireplace-Tea-Books-300x199Here in the Northeast, we are all hunkering down for what could be a lot of snow, or at least a little slush. Either way, it will be a weekend for staying indoors with a good book, and we asked some of our bookish friends what they recommend for such occasions.

I Capture The Castle, by Dodie Smith, and Laurie Colwin! —Emily Gould, writer, founder of Emily Books

I am reading a dated but rad detective novel called The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey, wherein a detective laid up in the hospital clears King Richard III of the crime of murdering his nephews using deductive logic and dubious speculation. This is part of my ongoing celebration of Richard III’s skeleton’s coming-out-the-closet or whatever you call it. Otherwise keeping busy with hoarding seltzer/Snackwell’s vanilla cremes. So this is a pretty normal weekend for me. —Pete Beatty, editor

Right now I find myself on page 1400 of Proust, by circumstance. Hoping to make some real headway in the next forty-eight. (Yesterday I was reading it on the A train, and this woman got down on her knees to look up to see what was the giant book I had in my hand. Like, she could have asked. Maybe she was saving me the pretension of responding, “Proust.”) —Brian Ulicky, publicist

Really really ridiculously short Maugham novels. “‘If there’s anything I dislike it’s the violin,’ she answered. ‘Why one should want to hear anyone scrape the hair of a horse’s tail against the guts of a dead cat is something I shall never understand.’” —Molly Young, writer

I will be reading Goodnight Moon to my seven-month-old daughter. —Alexander Nazaryan, editor, writer

I’ll be flying to Jerusalem at nine o’clock tomorrow night, blizzard permitting, but in extreme wintry weather I generally take the traditional approach: a cat, a big pot of soup, and the Victorians—Dickens, the Brontës, and Hardy especially. But lately I’ve had a hankering to revisit Henry James and Edith Wharton. And my friend Michael Dahlie’s love for Trollope reminds me how little of his work I’ve read, and how long ago. So I’ve got plenty standing by to gorge myself on, if not in this snowstorm, then the next one. —Maud Newton, writer

I’ve had this copy of Climates, by André Maurois staring at me for months. I cracked it open last night, and think that’s my main book for the next few days. I also picked up a nice copy of Edmund Wilson’s The Twenties that I’ve been meaning to read. I think that this weekend I’ll make some spiked apple cider and do just that. —Jason Diamond, editor

Hermione Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf is a dedicated read. But it’s perfect for this kind of weather. Especially if you’re all caught up with Downton Abbey. Another one, which I did last winter, was Jane Smiley’s The Greenlanders. You will be glad you are stuck in your apartment and not on the southern tip of Greenland during the fourteenth century! And finally, if you’re stuck indoors with friends and a lot of booze, I suggest playing a game called Humiliation, which was introduced to me by my housemate and Daily correspondent Jonathan Gharraie. You confess a title you haven’t read; those who have read it, drink. The point is not to get sauced, but also to avoid sounding uneducated. But with blizzards around, it’ll give you a pretty exhaustive (though totally predictable) reading list. Some titles that emerged from Iowa the other week: Moby-Dick, Middlemarch, The Great Gatsby, War and Peace, and In Search of Lost Time! —Thessaly La Force, writer

Death at Pemberley by P. D. James. —Flora Esterly, book scout

I crave the Brontës during storms because they always bring chaos (both mental and thematic) and trauma (both physical and emotional) and isn’t that what we expect from a storm of any real magnitude? Wuthering Heights is more for a tempest that comes in fits and starts because the book is the same way—getting lost and fading and coming thundering back with fierceness you didn’t think possible. Also, because I’m not actually going to reread the whole thing, as it is sort of a mess, and I can walk away being glad I had my time with Heathcliff but don’t have to live with him—even for a few days. I prefer Jane and Mr. Rochester for a prolonged and expected storm like this because you need time to settle in with her—and even more time to trust him—and then you hit the eye of the storm and think how you were born in the wrong century and then the eye passes and everything’s on fire and there’s a crazy lady in the attack and you need a couple days to forgive everyone and sleep it off. —Alex Leo, head of product,

Peter Freuchen’s Arctic Adventure, to know that however bad it might get, it was worse for him. Imagine being in an igloo faced with the decision to go outside into the storm and freeze, or stay in the igloo, where every breath adds a layer of ice to the inside. —Hamish Robertson, digital design editor at Vanity Fair and editor of Afterzine

The guilt-inducing pile of New Yorkers that make me call my subscription into question. My new edition of Vanity Fair, illustrated by Donald Urquart, given to me for my fortieth birthday by Eva Wiseman and Kay Barron. The Mandarins, recommended by Stephen Pastel but which I never got ’round to reading. Or most probably, my diary on this day in every year since I started writing it, at age eleven. —Penny Martin, editor, The Gentlewoman

King Lear seems appropriate. —Adam Wilson, writer

I am reading Katharine Graham’s Personal History—a surprisingly raw but warming memoir from the Washington doyenne/publisher of the Post. I have also been studying my small Smithsonian Weather Guide. —Louisa Thomas, writer

Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and Pete Dexter’s Spooner. Or watching Seven Samurai, which is also my hangover movie. —Tim Small, editor, The Milan Review

I actually read The Thirty-Nine Steps. Quite frequently! The plot’s just twisty enough, and my memory just bad enough, and Hitchcock’s version just different enough, that Buchan still keeps me wondering what will happen next, even after so many reads. Though I do remember, each time, now, to expect a nemesis with “hooded eyes”—how chilling is that!? —Tallis Eng, writer

The Twitter feeds of comedians Eugene Mirman, Jena Friedman, Dave Hill, and Joe Mande. —John Ortved, writer