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6 Ways Books Can Help You Through The Darkest Winter

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Jessi Lewis

Staff Writer

Jessi Lewis has her MFA in fiction and an MA in Writing and Rhetoric. She was one of the founding editors of Cheat River Review and now works to bring her own fiction, poetry and essays to eyes each month.     Twitter: @jessiwrit

Every year, I can feel the oncoming dead of winter. It’s near. Those of us entering a darker season will need to break out the Vitamin D and sun lamps. Once December passes, everyone laments the end of holidays, the return to work, and the constant demand that New Years bring on resolutions of losing body fat in a time when body fat feels the most necessary. Don’t worry. You got this. Aim to fill up your calendar so that the winter doesn’t keep you from hanging out with others.

1. You can get through by getting ready for the big publications that loads of people will be talking about. Winter can be a point where we feel cut off from others, so find the book that starts conversation. Not normally a fan of what others read around you?– take a risk and do it anyway for the chatter.

2. Prep for an upcoming movie by reading the book first. The best way to do this is to discuss with a friend over something like pancakes. Get opinionated about this. Which version did you prefer? Can the movie even scratch the surface of the book? Can the book compete?

Some upcoming options for this:The YA book from last February, The 5th Wave, featuring an alien invasion from different perspectives, will release as a film January 15th. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the quirky book that grabbed a lot of attention will be in theaters Feb. 5th.

3. It helps to take mini local trips to break up the day to day schedule. Lots of people are surprised at the availability of events that simply aren’t advertised well. Your best bets are university readings, author visits to book clubs and libraries, and, of course, bookstore events. Don’t avoid driving a few hours and heading into a city center– distance holds us back too often.

4. Organize a surprise book club. A pop-up book club, if you will. Get a few fellow employees to check out last years books you never got to tackle. Have a long distance short story reading with friends over Facebook. Don’t take it too seriously, but find a gaggle of readers. I want to find a group of people willing to read Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?, which I somehow managed to overlook.

5. Justify that collection of nonfiction do-it-yourself books or cookbooks that you haven’t looked at in forever. Try out a task or recipe from each one. You’ll be knitting baby hats and making craft beer in no time. Whatever you produce, give them out as gifts to people who wouldn’t expect it. It’s another way to find a connection. Right now, I need to revisit Artisan Cheese Making at Home. It’s looking at me from the shelf with judgment.

6. Try a genre or form you haven’t taken on yet. Have you thought about tackling poetry? Thought about all those small press publishers out there you haven’t considered? What about literary journals? There are some available for E-Readers! There’s a lot out there.

There are other ways to make the act of reading an active experience. How do you use books to get you moving in the winter?