Winter-worthy Reads

05 Feb 2024

Curl up with a good book this season

Reading the Glass: A Captain’s View of Weather, Water, and Life on Ships by Elliot Rappaport
For thirty years, Elliot Rappaport has had what to many would sound like a dream job, serving as the captain of large sailing vessels used for maritime training and scientific research.  Reading the Glass: A Captain’s View of Weather, Water, and Life on Ships, his sparkling memoir published earlier this year, admirably conveys the romance and wonder of life at sea but also its complexities and perils. As the subtitle suggests, a principal focus of the narrative is the weather. Despite all the technological innovations that have put accurate forecasts at our fingertips, sea captains like Rappaport have to know not only how to “read the glass” (i.e., interpret barometric readings) but also how to decipher the subtle visual cues provided by the sea and sky.  This skill, honed over many years and voyages, depends on an awareness of the idiosyncratic weather features of a given locale, whether off the coast of New Zealand or Greenland. Rappaport’s account of his career at sea brings to life a world unfamiliar to most readers. But what really makes Reading the Glass stand out are his lucid explanations of how the world’s weather actually works. Great for the armchair sailor or for anyone curious about the weather. –Bland Lawson

The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older
At the end of a train line, a man goes missing. Did he jump? Was he pushed? Investigator Mossa will need all of her available resources, including old flame Scholar Pleiti, to solve the case. This satisfying little genre-blend of a novella is a sapphic gaslamp Sherlock Holmes pastiche set on Jupiter – it’s delightfully cozy, the characters are compelling, and the worldbuilding is top notch. The sequel, The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, is equally delightful and will be published in February of 2024. –Sara McBride

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher
Looking for a perfect book to curl up with on a chilly winter evening?  Pick up this charming fairytale novella from T. Kingfisher for a magical read.  Our heroine, Toadling, was spirited away to Faerie as an infant and a changeling left in her place. She passes many happy years among the Greenteeth, who take her in and raise her as one of their own, until she is summoned back to the mortal world to carry out a simple but crucial mission in the very house from which she was taken. Despite her best efforts, her assigned task goes a bit awry…T. Kingfisher is well-loved for filling her dark folk and fairytale inspired works with funny, loveable characters, and Thornhedge does not disappoint.  Fans of retellings and fairytales will find lots to love here! –Sarah Cameron

Wild and Distant Seas by Tara Karr Roberts
This beautiful debut is traditional historical fiction with just a bit of magic. Using Moby Dick as a starting point, the novel spans four generations of women starting with Evangeline who arrives in Nantucket in 1849, determined to start a new life and forget her past. Each successive generation faces a new challenge and is touched with a different skill. Wild and Distant Seas is about love, motherhood, and finding one’s purpose in life. Perfect for readers of Julie Gerstenblatt’s Daughters of Nantucket and Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese. –Megan Mathis

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