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Meredith Holt, Published March 08 2014

Hot reads: Escape the winter doldrums with stories of warmer times and places

MOORHEAD – Our clocks may have “sprung” ahead this morning, but we sure seem to be stuck in a different season.

If you’re anything like Corrine Edgerton, you’re dealing with never-ending winter by curling up with a good book, especially on brutal below-zero nights.

“It transports you … If I’m reading a book that takes place somewhere else, I imagine myself there,” she says.

So why not imagine that you’re someplace warmer than Fargo-Moorhead?

Edgerton, a library associate at Moorhead’s Lake Agassiz Regional Library, says several of the titles read by the library’s book clubs take place in warmer climes, like “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.

Brad Stephenson, who owns B.D.S. Books in Fargo, says business slows in the winter months because people don’t want to brave the area’s extreme cold.

“They come and load up in the fall, and then you don’t see them until spring,” he says.

Perhaps they’re at home reading “Under the Tuscan Sun” with a cup of hot tea.

Here’s a mix of 10 titles from local readers, librarians and booksellers that’ll keep you warm until the thaw.

“The Beach” by Alex Garland (1996)

What some call the “On the Road” for Gen-X’ers follows Richard to a beach in Thailand, which proves to be equal parts paradise and horror. Carrie Scarr, assistant director of the West Fargo Public Library, says it’s a fast-paced read that’s easy to get lost in. Adapted into a film in 2000 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard.

“Making Waves” by Lorna Seilstad (2010)

The first of the “Lake Manawa Summers” series tells Marguerite’s tale of head vs. heart while she’s on vacation with her family in Lake Manawa, Iowa, in 1895.

“A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle (1989)

The British author describes his first year in southeastern France using his trademark wit and humor. Adapted into a TV miniseries in 1993.

“Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck (1945)

This classic takes place in California, but, as Stephenson explains with a laugh, “It has nothing to do with heat, except for the heat of the people when they get a little wild.” Adapted into a film in 1982.

“Prodigal Summer” by Barbara Kingsolver (2000)

Kingsolver’s fifth novel interweaves stories of love and loss during a humid summer in rural Virginia.

“How Stella Got Her Groove Back” by Terry McMillan (1996)

This romantic drama transports readers to Jamaica, where Stella learns that “sun and sea aren’t all she was missing.” Adapted into a film in 1998 starring Angela Bassett as Stella.

“The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (2011)

Edgerton says Diffenbaugh’s debut novel, about a woman whose gift for floral expression helps her change the lives of others, is popular at the Lake Agassiz library.

“In a Sunburned Country” by Bill Bryson (2000)

The best-selling travel writer shares his impressions of the history, geography, people, culture, and unusual flora and fauna of the Land Down Under.

“The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” by Michael Chabon (1988)

Chabon’s acclaimed debut novel, set in early-1980s Pittsburgh, follows Art Bechstein, the son of a mob money launderer, during the summer after he graduates from the University of Pittsburgh. Adapted into a film in 2008 starring Jon Foster as Art.

“Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne (1864)

’Cuz, well, it’s hot down there.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590