By guest contributor Laura Zurowski
For many, this winter has been a tough one – below freezing temperatures, snow in towns that rarely experience it, and mountains of the white stuff in places that do.
February is a month of polar opposites. If you love snow there’s no shortage of fun activities – downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding, and making snow-people and igloos (note that shoveling is never considered a “fun activity”).
If just looking at snow sets your bones-a-shiverin’ and prompts you to don the heaviest thermals you can find, then your primary winter activities probably involve turning up the heat and eating more – destroying both the budget and waistline. (But at least you’re warm!)
February also plays host to Valentine’s Day. Simultaneously loved and dreaded by all, this holiday can result in a romantic chocolate ganache high with your dearly beloved or leave you dejected on the couch with an empty bottle of wine and a pint of Häagen-Dazs. (But at least you’re warm!) Fortunately, the 14th marks the month’s mid-point, so once past you’re in the home stretch to spring.
Here are some reading suggestions to make your February as enjoyable as possible.
Stories about LOVE
Chicken with Plums, by Marjane Satrapi: Best known for her Persepolis series, this short graphic novel explores the relationship between a man, his music, and the presence of love. Keep tissues handy.
Alice K.’s Guide to Life, by Caroline Knapp: Alice K. represents Knapp’s Boston Phoenix column from the 1980s. If you ever wondered what the Sex & the City gals were doing in their 20s, this may satisfy your curiosity.
The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano: An incredibly sensitive and thoughtful story about two adolescent misfits who fall together during the emotionally difficult years of adolescence. Scars may heal but rarely fade completely.
Stories about SNOW
The Greenlanders, by Jane Smiley: This impeccably researched work of historical fiction will delight both old and new Smiley fans. Medieval Greenland winters make everyplace else appear tropical!
It’s a Slippery Slope, by Spalding Gray: While not Gray’s best known work, Slope is a sardonic tale of a mid-life crises man confronting his fear of skiing. For the dysfunctional at heart and those who love them.
Light Boxes, by Shane Jones: This free-form, Beat-poetry style story follows the inhabitants of small town stuck in perpetual February – and their decision to revolt.
And for those HEARTY OUTDOOR TYPES…
Bad Land: An American Romance, by Johathan Raban: Traces the early pioneers to the Dakotas and Montana where winters are harsh and the prairie never-ending.
Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony, by Lee Miller: While North Carolina winters aren’t like Greenland’s, imagine it’s 1587 and you’re living in a tent with no food.
Cape Cod, by Henry David Thoreau: There’s nothing quite as starkly beautiful as a deserted beach in winter. Thoreau’s story, told through the eyes of a naturalist, paints a picture of a world rapidly disappearing.
Regardless of how you may feel about snow and what you’ll be doing come Valentine’s, one thing is for certain – in 28 days February will be gone and we’ll enter March. Make the most of that time and you’ll be in green grass and warm sun sunshine before you can say, “Buy me a snow-blower!”
About the contributor: Laura Zurowski publishes Lovelorn Poets, a blog devoted to celebrating the beauty of anonymous love letters, missives of regret, and poems found on Missed Connections websites. The heartfelt messages serve as a springboard to creativity employing illustrations, photographs, music, dramatic readings, and videos.