Because not everyone gets to be with who they'd like to be with over the holidays, I want to recommend a few good winter reads to take you through those dark, cold nights. After all, December 22, the darkest night of the year, is only a few nights away. Winter solstice festivals traditionally fought off the night with bonfires and festivities, and many of us today still light fires, light candles, light up houses and trees to show our holiday cheer. It's the perfect time of year to curl up next to that fire with a good book. For me, the most satisfying reads are those that reflect my surroundings, echo my thoughts, stories that identify what has been a vague and uncomfortable state of being and help me explore and express it—bring it to light.
That's why I'm going to mention a few books you aren't likely to find wrapped up in bright colored paper this year. I've been reading from the Germany shelf in Destination Literature, books that are not exactly filled with holiday cheer. What they do contain is a darkness so deep you'll think the winter night came right out of the page. This isn't a gratuitous or brutal darkness, but rather, a beautiful one. A darkness which, if you look deep and long enough, makes the lights that are around you, and that maybe had grown dim, or that maybe you had stopped seeing altogether, shine just a little brighter.