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There’s nothing quite like curling up under a cozy blanket with a good book while watching the snow come down, columnist Zola Shockley said.

I have a confession: I hate winter. I begin counting down the days until spring the instant I see the first snowflake of the season. While others are strapping on their skis and building entire snow villages, I’m buying one of those lights that’s supposed to trick your body into being happy and refusing to leave my house if the temperature dips below 30.

Luckily, I have the gentle majesty of books (and my mood light) to keep me going through the challenging Wyoming winter.

There’s nothing quite like curling up under a cozy blanket with a good book while watching the snow come down. I recently finished Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale” while doing just that, and I couldn’t imagine a more pleasant evening. The Bear and the Nightingale takes place in medieval Russia and follows the story of an independent young woman who must battle the mythical beast terrorizing her village before all is lost to cold, starvation and death. Filled with folklore, history and lush storytelling, this book is the perfect companion for a cold winter night. 

If retellings of Eastern European folklore featuring a strong female lead character is your very niche genre, I would also recommend grabbing “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik and “Deathless” by Catherynne Valente. Putting myself in the shoes of a 14th century Russian peasant is helpful because it allows me to appreciate all of the modern conveniences I enjoy, such as central heating, pizza delivery and indoor plumbing. 

Sometimes all you need is a little perspective, but if gratitude isn’t what the doctor ordered, might I suggest escapism?

On a whim I grabbed “Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions” off of the shelf and I have not been disappointed. Mario Giordano’s atmospheric novel introduces us to Auntie Poldi — a vivacious, sassy, amateur sleuth who’s ready to live out her final years drinking herself to death in Italy. A murder causes her to (temporarily) exchange her wine glass for a magnifying glass as her life takes on the new purpose of investigating the disappearance of her handyman. Set in a village on the coast of Italy, Giordano’s intricately plotted mystery will transport you to a more temperate local while distracting you with a riveting whodunit. 

Some other witty mysteries that allow you to explore the world from the comfort of your couch include: “The Thursday Murder Club,” “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” and “Bruno, Chief of Police.”

All of the books mentioned here can be found at the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library, and many of them are available as e-books through the Overdrive or Cloud Library apps. I love e-books because it allows me to check out a book without ever having to leave my home! 

Another option for anyone unable to battle the elements is our homebound delivery service. If you are unable to make it to the library for any reason please contact Denise (674-8585, ext. 123) to set up a delivery. She will bring the library to you through a safe, contactless delivery once a month. The library is here for you this winter, and don’t worry, spring is only 28 days 6 hours and 30 minutes away. Not that I’m counting or anything…

Zola Shockley is programming coordinator for the Sheridan County Public Library System. 

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