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30 Ideas For A More Bookish Winter

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

For some of us, winter feels like it encompasses not a season, but half of a year. It’s a time of quiet and a time when things seem to be dialed back in the world around us (except, perhaps, in places where you get to experience snow or sleet or freezing rain or freezing fog and know exactly what kind of snow is best for making snowmen and what kind will break your back while shoveling). It’s also a time when many begin to really feel the impact of seasonal affective disorder and moods and energy can be low.

But it’s not all bad. One of the benefits of a quieter season is that it allows more time for reading. Many choose this time of year to conquer those massive tomes they’ve been meaning to read. Others challenge themselves to read more widely. And for those who live in areas where the weather doesn’t become the main course of conversation, well, let’s just say there’s a nice activity here for you to better understand how those who aren’t so lucky do this each and every year.


As I’ve done for the summer and the fall, I’ve put together a list of fun bookish activities to get you through the winter. Some are easy and some might require a little more work on your part. All of them, of course, should help get you thinking about reading and books in new, creative, and fun ways. If there are favorite winter bookish activities you partake in or you’ve done any/all of these and want to share what you think, I’d love to hear!


  1. Go to a local — or far flung! — antique store and peruse the books on their shelves. Buy something you’ve never heard of before.
  2. If you’re in a place where it snows, make a snow sculpture that pays homage to a favorite book.
  3. Buy yourself a fancy notebook, a fancy pen, and dedicate 10 minutes every day to writing. Don’t think too hard. Just write. If nothing else, it will feel good to open up and use a fun notebook and pen each and every day.
  4. Spend a cozy night in with hot chocolate and stream an adaptation of a book you’ve never read. Then read the book.
  5. Swap seasons in your reading. If you live in a cold, snowy place, pick up a book set in a tropical location. Live in a sunny, temperate climate? Pick up a book set in the coldest, chilliest place you can.
  6. Find and visit a local coffee shop you’ve never been to. Buy a drink of choice and spend an hour or more reading a book or magazine.
  7. Create your own literary-themed Valentines.
  8. Write a letter, by hand, to an old friend or to a family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Along with the letter, send them a list of books you think that they should read. If you’re feeling really generous, send them a book or two.
  9. Fund a classroom book-related project. Search for a local classroom on and help them out.
  10. Make a playlist on iTunes or Spotify or YouTube dedicated to songs that reference books or pay homage to literature in some way.
  11. Make a playlist on iTunes or Spotify or YouTube of book titles that double as song titles (like Unbreak My Heart or I Want It That Way).
  12. Read up on constellations and on a clear night, try to identify as many as you can in the sky.
  13. Visit a new-to-you library. Wander the stacks. Attend one of their programs. Enjoy one of their periodicals.
  14. Go check out your nearest independent bookstore, even if it’s a drive. If you are a frequent customer at your local indie, find another one and visit it.
  15. Find a specialty bookstore — think cookbooks, children’s lit, etc. — and visit it in person. Can’t travel that far? See if you can order a book from their website. Don’t want to spend money? Curate a dream list of specialty bookstores you’d visit and patronize if you had all of the time and money in the world.
  16. Create something based on a work of literature. Knit yourself a Katniss cowl. Paint a canvas with your favorite literary quote. Take photos of a place in town that reminds you of a book you recently read.
  17. Cozy up under a blanket or beside a warm fire and reread a favorite book from your childhood.
  18. Find a local organization looking for book donations. If you have books you can donate, take them. If you don’t, send them a gift card to a bookstore to purchase them.
  19. Do a bookish puzzle.
  20. Spend an entire day in your pajamas playing word games, be it something like Scrabble or a book of crosswords.
  21. Clean your bookshelves. Really clean them. Weed the books that no longer serve you and organize or catalog the ones you choose to keep.
  22. Create a snowflake chain with the books you read this season. For each book you finish, cut a paper snowflake and write the title on it. String them together as you read more. Watch the chain grow. (This would be especially fun to do with kids!).
  23. Attend a reading or open mic night for an author about whom you know nothing. Then buy or look up their work to enjoy later.
  24. Repurpose any holiday lights to be used for a reading nook in your home, even if that nook is just a tiny corner in one room with some pillows and a blanket. Read beneath the lights.
  25. Invite your bookish friends over for a readover — a sleepover where instead of sleeping, you read. Make sure everyone brings a small stack of books with them so you can swap and share.
  26. Participate in a reading challenge like the 24 in 48 readathon. You could combine this with #25 above for even more fun.
  27. Cuddle with a loved one and take turns reading out loud to one another. Pets are loved ones, too, but you might have to read for them.
  28. Read about a winter or cold-related activity you know nothing about. Snow skiing, ice fishing, ice sculpturing, etc.
  29. Make a list of your favorite words. Ask others you know to do the same. Then get together and talk about your words and why you love them.
  30. Pick up a book published through a college or university press.