Cold, Cold, Cold Books...for a Mildly Cold Winter

Article by Jeremy

So you’ve dug out your heavy coat. Winter has begun and you are ready to cover plants and monitor water pipes should the temperature drop. The gray skies, short days, and chilly mornings make you wish for a return to the sunny weather that we Houstonians enjoy through the fall and spring. Under the assault of a cold front, you may even remember the oppressive heat of summer with a touch of nostalgia.

On the other hand, there may lurk within you a person who enjoys the cold. It affords you a chance to test yourself against the elements. You may ponder your place in the world and the impermanence of all things as you wander through the wintry outdoors.

Maybe this winter, you should indulge in a thoughtful and well written book that is from a cold land, and what cold land has a finer literary tradition than Russia? Its contents will be lively but thoughtful and no one will have to know whether it leaves you wishing that you were out in the cold with its characters or relieved that you are not.


Anna Karenina (Oprah #5): (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Oprah's Classics Book Club Selections) Cover Image
By Leo Tolstoy, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
ISBN: 9780143035008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 31st, 2004

This is one of my favorite books because of its nuanced depictions of the characters, their world, and the human condition. It is amazing for me to see how times have changed since this book was written in the late 19th Century, but how people have not.

Konstantin Levin is a farmer and an idealist embattled with societal forces and with the nagging setbacks that seem to keep him from creating his perfect farm and finding a way to better the situation of the Russian Peasant. He is a sincere but unpolished bachelor, but he thinks he has finally found the woman who he wants to marry, Kitty, and she seems to like him okay too. However, He is competing for Kitty’s affection with a younger man named Alexei Vronsky who is a sharp contrast to Levin. He is much more presentable, but seems to lag behind Levin in capacity for empathy and commitment…

But I haven’t even explained who Anna is. She is Kitty’s older sister’s husband’s sister who is unhappy in her marriage (The relationships will be more understandable in the context of the whole story)…

Actually, I don’t want to give too much away. Just read it. It’s good.


Pnin (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679723417
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 18th, 1989

This short novel is a wonderful character study of a hapless professor and his incomplete grasp on the world around him. Very entertaining.


The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679727262
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 4th, 1992

This story is about an author who leaves behind a box of notes that he instructs his family to destroy. Sound familiar? This is the fictional version that Nabokov wrote long before leaving behind his own notes to be destroyed. Sebastian Knight’s brother tries to uncover the details of his life in order to gain closure and write a biography. But how well did he know his brother and what do the details of Knight’s life mean apart from his fiction?


Russian Literature Cover Image
ISBN: 9781402775413
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Sterling - September 1st, 2010

The Complete Short Novels (Vintage Classics) Cover Image
By Anton Chekhov, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
ISBN: 9781400032921
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - August 30th, 2005

The Cherry Orchard: A Comedy in Four Acts Cover Image
By Anton Chekhov, Tom Stoppard (Translator)
ISBN: 9780802144096
Availability: Backordered
Published: Grove Press - January 1st, 2009

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061997419
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - September 7th, 2010

Hadji Murad (Modern Library Classics) Cover Image
By Leo Tolstoy, Alymer Maude (Translator), Azar Nafisi (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780812967111
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Modern Library - July 8th, 2003



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