Perhaps all those summer afternoons spent drifting in the pool turned your mind a bit mushy. All that time to serenely think your own thoughts, let your mind wander, or simply relax into a meditative silence can’t be good for you, can it?! Okay, it’s wonderful and you miss it. But all is not lost. You can take the next month to relax and recharge in a different way as the storm rages outside: Pick up an excellent read and enjoy it with a tasty drink. You won’t find vapid summer reading and poolside mai tai’s on our list of best cozy winter reads and drinks, but maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.
Literary fiction: The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood
– a semi-post-apocalyptic tale of what happens to love and profits after a worldwide economic depression. So scary, funny, and clever, you won’t even know its highbrow literature.
Drink up: Mulled wine.
Romance: Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.
This Highland tale has it all: time travel, political intrigue, great fashions, a hot hunk, and more sex than you can shake a bagpipe at.
Drink up: Irn Bru if you can find it, Orangina if you can’t. Don’t worry, the book will keep you hot.
Horror: The October Country, by Ray Bradbury.
Yes, he’s better known for classic sci-fi, but this short story collection is as (extremely) creepy today as it was back in the 50’s, and is a perfect example of Bradbury’s mastery at chronicling the dark side of human nature.
Drink up: Red wine.
Popular fiction: The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen.
If you enjoy reading really meaty books about dysfunctional suburban families, you won’t be able to put it down.
Drink up: Hot Coke. Yes, it’s a thing. And it’s an uncomfortable old-new reminder of childhood, just like this book.
Suspense: Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane.
It’s a creepy, suspenseful page turner about a detective investigating mysterious events at a mental institution, but if you are too lazy to read it, you can always watch the superb Leonardo DiCaprio movie instead.
Drink up: Hot toddy.
Sci-fi: Dune, by Frank Herbert.
If this tome, set many thousands of years from now in a future filled with intergalactic political intrigue, strange and fantastical monsters, and incredible technologies, doesn’t float your boat, you’re not into science fiction. Bonus: There are like 100 more books where that came from.
Drink up: The futuristic Arnold Palmer, or precious, precious water.
Fantasy: The Gunslinger, by Stephen King.
The king of horror started something really big when he started the Dark Tower series with this 1982 classic; he creates a world so rich and yet so familiar, you can’t help but fall in love…and get a jump on the upcoming movie.
Drink up: Hot tea, preferably with cognac in it.
Children: Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen.
Take a nighttime adventure with a dad and daughter in this Caldecott-winning book. Fall in love with snow, the wonderment and mystical beauty night offers, and enjoy the phenomenal illustrations that bring this book to life.
Drink up: Hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Young adults: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor.
If a book about racism in America seems a little heavy compared to the typical teen vampire-and-werewolf fare, consider that in addition to being extremely well written, it can turn your teen into a more knowledgeable, considerate, hopeful, deep, philosophical person.
Drink up: Sparkling water.
Memoir: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson.
A laugh-till-you-wet-your-pants satire, this memoir is a fun alternative to heavier, more serious bios.
Drink up: Instant coffee.