What to Read When You're Snowed In

Jan 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm

A power outage could take your beloved Internet,TV and Wii away from you, but fortunately, there are other forms of entertainment besides Charades. Like books! (That is provided you have a flashlight or a candle.)

Nikki Furrer, owner of Pudd'nhead Books (currently the reigning Best Independent Bookstore in St. Louis), recommends The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld, a thriller about the 1920 Wall Street bombing. Furrer told us not to mention that Rubenfeld is the husband of Tiger Mother Amy Chua, but look at it this way: When you're snowed in with your kids, do you really want to think about your inadequacies as a parent? No! You want pure escapism.

Kelly von Plonski, owner of Subterranean Books, also recommends The Death Instinct. Or so Furrer claims.

Furrer also suggests Citrus County by Washington University MFA graduate John Brandon. A bonus: The book is set in Florida. It's warm there.

Other recommendations from Pudd'nhead: J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson ("That's a big grandma book") and The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman. Hoffman, incidentally, will be reading at the St. Louis County Library on February 7 as a guest of...Pudd'nhead Books.

Alex Weir at Subterranean suggests Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. "It's about the Vietnam War," he says, "so there's no snow, but it's really good and really fat."

Subterranean also has in stock True Grit by Charles Portis (so you don't have to feel bad about not being able to make it to the movies), the National Book Award winner Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon and the Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (which Daily RFT does not recommend unless you are either Jewish or obsessed with Jews).

If you're not feeling in the mood for such high-minded reading, Subterranean also has the latest works by Denis Leary and Patton Oswalt and what Weir claims is "a nice erotica section."

Daily RFT will also take this opportunity to recommend Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which we consider the finest piece of trash (that is, "escapist fiction") ever written. It's also enormously fat and has numerous sequels.