What to read on dark days
Winter book recommendations
Most of the self-improvement literature is relentlessly positive. It’s kind of baked into the genre! Overcoming, getting over, transforming, seeing the bright side: it’s all about leaving the dark, sad stuff behind and moving into a brighter future.
There are, however, a handful of books that implore us not to turn away from darkness. For my winter reading recommendations, I’m sharing four titles that, while hopeful, don’t shy away from the challenging stuff of life.
All of these books acknowledge sadness, grief, exhaustion, despair, suffering, pain, change, uncertainty, and loss as part of life. But more than that, they invite us to sit with these experiences rather than immediately run from or seek to transform them.
In their own ways, the books I’ve chosen guide us to welcome difficult things and chart deliberate ways through them (not around, not past).
I’ve read all of these books, some of them recently, some years ago. They’ve all made an impression on me.1 My mini-reviews are somewhat impressionistic, but I hope they give you a sense of what each writer is trying to do.
As we (in the northern hemisphere, at least) navigate the literal dark of winter, let’s take some space to explore how we make meaning from and in the shadow times.
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