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10 Bright Books for the Darkest Night of the Year

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Danielle Bourgon

Staff Writer

Danielle is an educator, theatre artist, and book lover from Toronto, Ontario. She acknowledges that this is the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit where she is grateful to live and work. When she’s not drinking tea and reading on the couch, she’s recommending books to her students, friends, and family. She’s a feminist, a nerd, and a baker. Oh. And she has Hogwarts tattooed on her arm.

Today is the winter solstice, which means it’s the darkest day of the year. If you are like me, your reaction to this will be to light the candles, brew some tea, and grab a book to brighten the night. With that in mind I thought I’d do a round up of books whose covers will help to add some colour and illumination to your winter solstice this season.

I'm-Afraid-of-Men-shraya-coverI’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

This is one of my favourite books of the year and it’s one that I’m infinitely proud to display on my bookshelf. Not least of all because of the gorgeous use of colour on the cover. The hot pink and amazing writing will definitely add some illumination to your night.

All-Our-Relations-talaga-coverAll Our Relations: Finding The Path Forward by Tanya Talaga

The latest from bestselling and award-winning author Tanya Talaga gives further information and insight into the youth suicide epidemic in Canada’s Indigenous communities. That being said, this piece also offers messages of hope and how the communities are working to find a way forward through their traditions. This is echoed in the absolutely gorgeous cover art which is sure to add some colour and brilliancy to the longest night of the year.  

how-to-love-a-jamaican-coverHow to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs

If that beautiful citrus cover doesn’t transport you to the beautiful island of Jamaica, this short story collection will. A combination of stories about Jamaican immigrants in America and their families back home make this a great read for a long winter’s night like the winter solstice.

small-fry-lisa-brennan-jobs-coverSmall Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Considered by many to be one of the best books of the year, this memoir by the daughter of Steve Jobs features a strikingly bright white cover and some beautiful floral imagery that is sure to brighten your winter solstice.

convenience-store-womanConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

This incredibly quirky novel from Japan has a beautifully bright cover. The novel is full of quirk and charm that will make you think and laugh/smile in equal measure. Be sure to check out this incredible work, the first to be translated into English by one of Japan’s most revered contemporary authors.

there-there-tommy-orangeThere There by Tommy Orange

The designer of this cover chose to take the author’s name as part of the inspiration for this beautifully bright cover. This incredible novel tells the story of a variety of characters making their way to the Big Oakland Powwow and is a fantastic own voices aboriginal debut novel. It’s a great option for those who are looking for a bright cover with some serious content for the darkest night of the year.

the-sky-is-yoursThe Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith

This is my fantasy/futuristic/dystopian pick for this list. An inventive story about youth navigating a future metropolis where dragons are a constant threat. That combined with the neon-inspired cover make it a great option for the longest night of the year.

the-ensemble-coverThe Ensemble by Aja Gabel

This cover takes the floral trend and amps up the colours to a super bright level. A youthful story about four incredible friends with a passion for music that is certain to add some sunshiney warmth to your winter solstice.

the-afterlives-pierce-coverThe Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

Confession: I partially picked this cover because it features an adorable dog. Cute dogs are top of my list for things that’ll brighten my day, so I just had to feature this one on my winter solstice list. The novel takes an innovative look at death and the afterlife, though, so make sure you’re up for all that before picking it up.

hippie-paulo-coelho-coverHippie by Paulo Coelho

This cover full of psychedelic 1960s imagery is sure to add some colour to the darkest night of the year. Described as “his most autobiographical novel to date,” this novel looks at the era through the life and experiences of a young South American man. It’s a great option for those wanting to travel back in time, as well as to the sunshine-drenched lands of Chile, Bolivia, and Peru.