These Farmhouse Bookshelves (Snowstorm Edition)

Jan 4, 2014

I love winter. I love snow.

I love them for themselves, but, let’s be honest, I love that they give me more time for my books.

Is your driveway buried in as much snow as mine? Here are a few books perfect for snowy days.

Now, if only the library delivered …


(You can find all my Saturday book recommendations here and some explanation about my use of affiliate links.)


ice and fog


Lately, I’ve kept my nose buried in seed and plant catalogs rather than books. I open one up determined to find just the right cucumber for pickling and within minutes I am planning a quarter-acre rose garden. These catalogs are just a little dangerous for me.

Almost the only thing with the power to pull me away from the catalogs (and the daydreams) is a book by Louise Penny. Her Chief Inspector Gamache detective novels are my new favorite thing. One by one, I am devouring them. I’ve started treating them like chocolate. I am always greedy for more, but I’m desperately concerned I’ll run out.

Yes, they are that good.

You’ll want to begin with the first: Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1). Today, I’m reading # 6: Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel. These books just keep getting better.

Number Six is perfect snow day reading. Inspector Gamache is wandering the snowy streets of old Quebec City, and it is Winter Carnival time. Everything that makes this series so special is present and accounted for: a charming and brave hero, tangled mysteries, delicious food and drink (I can’t read one of these books without craving fresh-baked croissants and creamy cafe au lait), history, spirituality, and a beautiful setting.

Have I mentioned I love these books?

Another book I love is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. I’d never read this one before December, but, like one of my favorite book bloggers, I plan to reread it every December from now on.

This novel is beautifully written but easy to read. It is deeply thoughtful but light and fun. It is set in Scotland. There’s a snowstorm. The characters are wonderful.

And the ending? Beautiful.

Here is a book for the little skiers and sledders: It’s Snowing! by Olivier Dunrea. This sweet little picture book captures the joy of a mama and her baby playing in the snow. It’s simple and lovely and quiet, and I love it very much.

I bought it while living in Florida and just about cried the first time I read it, but now? I read it with a smile on my face.

Tell me, which books keep you company in winter?



  1. Beth

    I took of a blogging break too so I missed many of your Advent posts. 🙁 But good to be back here. For some reason I had a hard time finishing a book this past year. A favorite of mine was Let Hope in by Pastor Pete Wilson. Now, most of my reading is military related. I do have a goal of getting through the Bible this year for the first time!! I will need to check out some of your recommendations.
    Happy New Year!
    Many blessings,

    • Christie Purifoy

      A great goal, Beth. You might like to check out a new website where I’m doing a bit of writing: It follows a yearly Bible reading plan with daily postings from women artists and writers inspired by that day’s reading selections.

  2. Tracy Defina

    Rosamund pilcher is my favorite author and I gasped joy to see you mention her and winter solstice – I read it every winter!!! Desperate for more pilcher I just came across Elizabeth gaudge and scent of water – delicious and I can’t wait to read more of her – a trilogy awaits!!!
    Thanks christy!

    • Christie Purifoy

      We are kindred spirits, Tracy! When I finished Winter Solstice I wanted to turn right back to the first page and begin again. I never feel that way, even about books I love. I’m already looking forward to next winter’s rereading.

  3. Diana Trautwein

    Oooh, Christie. I AM READING LOUISE PENNY, too. Maybe we both read Ellen Painter Dollar’s recommendation?? I adore these books. Adore them. Love the characters, the food descriptions, the seasonal movement, the mysteries themselves. And I think they just keep getting better. My only problem was determining which book came in which order. I read the 2nd one first, then the first, 3rd, 4th, 6th and now the 5th. 5 & 6 were published the same year and I just guessed wrong, I think. So I think the one you’re calling 6 is “The Brutal Telling?” Omigosh, that was terrific. And hard and sad, too. I’m now reading the one set in a different place than Three Pines, “A Rule Against Murder.” One of them is not available on Kindle, so I may have to break down and go to a library – and it’s right in the sequence I’m reading now, same publication year, called “Dead Cold.”

    And Pilcher has been a perennial favorite for years, some better than others, but the one you list? Yeah, yeah. I’m also reading several books for future reviewing, all of them non-fiction. But it is Inspector Gamache who calls me, time after time. I’m a sucker for a good mystery/procedural – always have been.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Another Louise Penny fan! Hip hip hooray. I, too, am a sucker for a good mystery, but these really are a cut above, aren’t they? I think even non-mystery fans would love them. And don’t they make you want to visit Quebec? I’ve never been, but now I’m dreaming of a roadtrip. BTW, I don’t think I know Ellen Painter Dollar, though the name is ringing a distant bell. It sounds like she recommends good books! I need to look her up.

  4. Mom Day

    I went to my library site and I am #21 on the waiting list for “Still Life”. Will wait with great anticipation. 🙂

  5. kelli

    Whenever you talk about how you felt living in Florida I laugh because I feel the same way. Then I cry a little bit because I feel the same way.
    However it’s actually going to be really cold here for the next several days -fireplace and fiction reading weather!
    I’ll be picking up Louise Penny books as soon as I finish Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookstore (So good!) Last week I read The Aviator’s Wife which was good but left me wanting to read other (more truthful?) versions of the Lindbergh’s story.

  6. Kathleen Mahoney

    Winter, books and lots of hot tea! This is the rule of the day.
    I myself just finished reading Letters to Children by C.S. Lewis. That was simply a delightful little book. His love and compassion for all his young fans were touching to say the least. However, while reading it, I made a mistake, I read it to quickly! Soon, I shall pick it up and read it properly, with a good cup of tea, savoring it slowly 🙂
    I love mysteries. Have you ever read Ellis Peters Brother Cadfael chronicles? I read one of them awhile back, but they are wonderful and I must read more!
    Enjoy this winter bliss!

    • Christie Purifoy

      Kathleen, thanks for the recommendations! I can’t quite believe I’ve never read Letters to Children. Sounds delightful. And Brother Cadfael – I think there’s a tv version (which I’ve never seen), but I didn’t realize there were books first. Adding them to my list!

  7. amy

    I love the chocolate analogy 🙂 I can totally relate to that conflicted feeling! That’s kind of how I have been treating Kate Morton’s novels (though I have heard, sadly, that her other two aren’t as fabulous as the first two I read).

    Another reading analogy a friend on Goodreads made the other day cracked me up: “Grisham is fun like Doritos are tasty. It’s always enjoyable but we shouldn’t meet up everyday.” Ha.

    I can’t think of any “snowstorm books”…but I’m adding yours to my to-read list 🙂

    • Christie Purifoy

      Yes, Amy, the food analogy works well. Even considering that one person’s guilty pleasure is another person’s daily diet. 🙂 I’ve gobbled up each of Morton’s novels and enjoyed them, but they also make me a little crazy … something about her all-knowing narrative voice just doesn’t seem honest, or truthful to me. I always find myself wishing she’d leave some questions unanswered or some part of the story untold as in real life. At the same time, I’m a sucker for mystery, romance, and history all set in London or the English countryside … so, I don’t think I’ll ever stop reading them. 🙂

  8. Danielle

    I found you through Amy (above). My husband’s cousin recommended “Still Life” to me. I’d read through all of P. D. James and was looking for another series. Glad to see here you recommend as well. I read Pilcher’s “The Shell Seekers” and LOVED it. I will look into this title as well.

  9. Caroline M.

    OK so confession: I’ve been going through your book recommendations page like a crack addict and saving Amazon links. I grew up on Madeline L’Engle but had NO IDEA that she wrote a devotional for the church year. My life just got drastically better. And the very words “Southern gothic memoir” make me swoon. You ma’am are a genius. Thanks for fueling the addiction.


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