Winter is an ideal time to get your reading that bit deeper, that bit more philosophical, that bit different. Winter is a great time to dig into genres that you normally won’t even consider, the sections in book stores that you would skip on a happy summer day. And on a completely different note, hiding in books is also a useful method to beat the post-Christmas blues that is patiently waiting to catch us all off guard…

That’s why I thought it’s time for a winter reading list…


John Green: Let It Snow

This is a real classic. I can’t remember how many times I’ve given friends this book for Christmas. Let it Snow is a compilation of three Christmassy stories by three very gifted authors. They all feature romance and snow to some degree… what’s not to love?

Off Track Planet: Travel Guide for the young, sexy and broke

Here’s a guide that’s actually sexy (visually). The book is filled with beautiful photography and typography for 20-somethings with little money and big dreams. It’s possible, ladies! It has got lists that feature artsy, clubby or off the beaten track activities for more or less one hundred destinations, so rather than having to go through half the book to find what interests you, you can just stick to one list.

Lauren Oliver: Before I Fall

Ok, here you have it. I adore the type of novels that my 16-year-old sister has piled up on her book shelf. You know the ones whose content is spread all over Tumblr? Yeahup. Before I Fall is one of them. The plot is something like this: Sam dies in a car crash, but wakes up the next day and realises she is reliving the day of her very death seven times. So… Can she save her own life in the end!? Drama baby.



Fernando Pessoa: The Book of Disquiet

The book of disquiet is a diary filled with brilliant thoughts. It’s close to impossible to read it all in one go because there is such an abundance of sharp everyday philosophy (dressed in very simple and sharp language). It’s more like a book that you keep on your bedside table for months and read one chapter per day. It’s a book to grab when you’re in need of some inspiration and melancholy. It also makes you want to learn the type of words that describe your own life and thoughts in a similarly genius manner. Okay, that probably didn’t tell you anything about the book’s content… Read it, you won’t regret it.

Daniel Kahnemann: Thinking, Fast and Slow

The human mind is a mysterious creation; Kahnemann unravels some of its secrets and gives us some clues about how the thinking process works, what intuition really is and how we draw conclusions and make judgements about the world we live in. Don’t worry, it’s not as dry as it sounds – this book is fascinating because it attempts to explain how the world works, how we make it work.

Hillary Clinton: Hard Choices

You can love or hate a certain Mrs Clinton, but that woman knows what she wants and how to get it. Hard Choices is next up on my Kindle and I’m curious as to whether there’s something I can learn from someone who may or may not be the world’s most powerful woman in 2016.

Cheryl Strayed: Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found

I’m currently listening to the audio book version of Wild. I thought I’d give this whole audio thing a go but it turns out, I fall asleep after five minutes every time I try. Now this wouldn’t be frustrating if Wild was incredibly boring; but it’s not. It tells the story of a young woman whose life has fallen apart and who makes a decision that would change everything: a 1,100-mile hike along America’s West Coast. That’s enough to get a Travelette hooked, right!? Right. I’ll let you know about the second half in approximately 50 years. (For the lazy folk among you: The movie Wild is currently in cinemas starring Reese Witherspoon.)


Jodi Ann Bickley: One Million Lovely Letters

Jodi Bickley has done something remarkable: when she became very ill in 2011, she decided to start something to encourage people who were feeling similarly low and give them a little something to let them know that they aren’t alone in this world. One Million Lovely Letters is story of recovery and encouragement – and these letters played a major role in that. (If you’re not feeling great at the moment, email Jodi and she will send you a letter too! How cool is that.)

Joan Didion: Where I Was From

Joan Didion is a giant inspiration to me. In Where I was from, she explores the notion of home and the state of California. She somehow manages to mix personal experiences and observations into one elegant literary snapshot. There are so many levels to this book that it’s hard to summarise it in two lines, but at the end of the day, you feel like you’ve been given an insight into so much more than just the state of California. My favourite of her essays by the way is Goodbye to all that, where she talks about loving (and leaving) New York.

Bill Shapiro: Other People’s Love Letters

150 letters you were never meant to see… This is for the nosey folk among us! Many letters aren’t as dramatic as you would think they should be, others are, but that’s because they’re the beautiful result of real life, real love and real secrets. All the stuff they don’t tell you in Hollywood movies.

Rebecca Solnit: A Field Guide to Getting Lost

That title! That cover! This book is a beauty. It features nine essays that somehow all explore the idea and purpose of getting lost to some degree. Although Solnit doesn’t only write about getting lost physically, the stories make for an excellent preparation for your next solo trip. Oh to lose ourselves in the winter wilderness!



Humans of New York

You probably know HONY and follow them on Instagram or Facebook, right? Well, there’s a book for when you’ve grown tired of looking at screens and fancy indulging into beautifully real stories of humanity, suffering, love and hope. (It’s also a good late Christmas present I’ve heard.)

Charles Bukowski: The Pleasures of the Damned

I’m in love with Mr. Bukowski. Firstly, we were born in the same (ridiculously small) town in western Germany and secondly, his poetry is flawless. His pieces aren’t as flowery as the lines I’m writing here; they are raw, honest and almost brutal. This particular collection is a wild and inconsistent mix of some of his best writing.

Nigel Slater: Eat

I wouldn’t be Caroline if I wouldn’t include a cookery book (ha ha, lie!) and I haven’t made more than two dishes from this book (yet), but the recipes are beautifully photographed and I adore the overall design of every single page. That is admittedly not the sole purpose of a book called Eat, but Nigel Slater knows what he’s doing.


Which books are on your reading list? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Tell me all about them!

All photographs taken by Caroline Schmitt 

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