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Readying for Winter

The first major snowstorm and the winter solstice have passed. Many gray days and long nights await us. Although I enjoy the winter and its allowance to stay home and nest, I know that the next few months will prove to be difficult.

Edmund Evans, The Grocer’s Shop at Christmas, 1850 (Courtesy of the British Library)

Just like most Americans, I’m searching for simple comforts and reliable pastimes to maintain a positive — albeit strained — frame of mind. Here are a few things that have helped me as of late:

  1. A room with a view: I’m writing this post at my desk looking onto our my small backyard. A few birds peck at the snow. A wrapped fig tree stands vigil.
  2. Holiday food: We try to keep the larder stocked with Christmas treats (cookies, apples, oranges, even chestnuts) befitting a scene from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
  3. Plenty of books: I recently finished Scott Peeples’s The Man of the Crowd, a biography of Edgar Allan Poe and cities; Jason Diamond’s The Sprawl, a reflection on suburbia; and Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles, an eerily prescient novel. Now, I’m walking through historic New York with the late Pete Hamill’s Downtown. As always, my reading pile is growing.
  4. Films and television: Cold nights are perfect for losing oneself in stories on the screen. This December, I enjoyed David Fincher’s Mank, a character study of the talented, yet self-destructive writer Herman Mankiewicz and the new season of The Crown. Of course, I’m also immersing myself in Christmas favorites, specifically Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.

I hope that you’re finding what aids (and maybe enlivens) you through the next several months and I wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy holiday season.

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