Scuppernong Bookshelf

The Big Chill

Embrace the dead of winter January’s weighty releases


Compiled by Brian Lampkin

Itís here. The big dark. Streetlights struggle to life at 5:30 p.m.; cold descends as the daylight slips off into the black ice of night. Time to read. Time to read something that feels like the drear, deadening silence of January. Luckily for you, new releases this January contain plenty of options to really sink into your seasonal affective disorder.

January 2: The Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Johnson (Scribner, $26). Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. The Wolves of Winter is a captivating tale of humanity pushed beyond its breaking point, of family and bonds of love forged when everything is lost, and of a heroic young woman who crosses a frozen landscape to find her destiny.

January 2: Darkness, Sing Me a Song: A Holland Taylor Mystery, by David Housewright (Minotaur Books, $25.99). Caught in the dark tangle of a twisted family and haunted by his own past, Taylor finds that the truth is both elusive and dangerous. Housewright has won the Edgar Award for his first Holland Taylor crime novel (Penance) and is the three-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for his crime fiction.

January 2: A Map of the Dark, by Karen Ellis (Mulholland Books, $26). Author Alison Gaylen says this book is “one of the most compelling psychological thrillers I’ve read in a long time, A Map of the Dark grabs you from the very first page and does not loosen its grip. I read this book in a day — I simply could not put it down —but I will be thinking about it for much longer.”

January 9: Winter, by Ali Smith (Pantheon, $25.99). Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone. Smith is the author of Hotel World and The Accidental, which were both short-listed for The Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. How to Be Both won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Autumn was short-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.

January 16: The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica, by Laurie Gwen Shapiro (Simon & Schuster, $26). From the grimy streets of New York’s Lower East Side to the rowdy dance halls of sultry Francophone Tahiti, all the way to Antarctica’s blinding white and deadly freeze, Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your bootstraps age.

January 23: Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression — And the Unexpected Solutions, Johann Hari (Bloomsbury, $28).  “Through a breathtaking journey across the world, Johann Hari exposes us to extraordinary people and concepts that will change the way we see depression forever. It is a brave, moving, brilliant, simple and earth-shattering book that must be read by everyone and anyone who is longing for a life of meaning and connection.” — Eve Ensler 

January 23: Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence, by Karen Crouse (Simon & Schuster, $25). Norwich, a charming Vermont town of roughly 3,000 residents, has sent an athlete to almost every Winter Olympics for the past 30 years — and three times that athlete has returned with a medal. How does Norwich do it? To answer this question, New York Times reporter Karen Crouse moved to Vermont, immersing herself in the lives of Norwich Olympians past and present. 

January 30: The Winter Station, by Jody Shields (Little Brown, $27). Set in the year 1910: People are mysteriously dying at an alarming rate in the Russian-ruled city of Kharbin, a major railway outpost in Northern China. Strangely, some of the dead bodies vanish before they can be identified. Based on a true story that has been lost to history and set during the last days of imperial Russia, The Winter Station is a richly textured and brilliant novel about mortality, fear and love.

But if you really want to dig deep, to go underground where depression crosses over into derangement, there’s this frightening descent into conspiratorial madness:

January 2: Trumpocalypse: The End-Times President, a Battle Against the Globalist Elite, and the Countdown to Armageddon, by Paul Maguire & Troy Anderson (Faithwords, $24). Trumpocalypse explores the enigmatic prophecies and “biblical codes” involving Trump, and asks whether God raised up President Trump as a fearless leader to guide America and the free world through a series of major crises as the biblical end-time narrative unfolds, as many people with prophetic gifts are predicting, and shows why everyday Americans and evangelicals have rallied around Trump as their last hope of saving America and averting the horrors of the Apocalypse.  OH

Brian Lampkin is one of the proprietors of Scuppernong Books.

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