Wintertime can be cloudy, rainy and grey on the wet coast, while the surrounding mountains stock up on snow. The rest of Canada and parts of the USA are blanketed in white snowflakes, coaxing explorers outside on snowshoes, skis, dogsleds and ice picks.

Perhaps you need an epic story to motivate you to get outside in the colder months. Maybe you want to curl up around the fire and be taken on a vicarious adventure. Whatever your reason, here are three nonfiction books I recently explored and encourage you to read this winter.


Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Reading about your hometown is akin to looking at a photograph and discovering yourself in the background. But this captivating story of a bush plane crash in the frigid north is so well-written, I doubt it would matter if you’ve never heard of Grande Prairie. Told in a compelling, journalistic tone, author Carol Shaben pushes the plot and action forward with personal detail. It’s a true tale that hits close to home for her as well—her father was a survivor. Canadians might remember that politician Grant Notley was killed in this crash. If you’re grasping for a better understanding of life in the north or simply want to read a spine-chilling story, pick up this book, published in 2012 by Vintage Canada (Penguin Random House).


Unbound: Finding Myself on Top of the World

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Without the typical traumatic breakthrough that yields a sudden change, Steph Jagger uproots her comfortable life in Vancouver, BC, in search of elevation. Her goal: to ski four million vertical feet in a year. Through South America, New Zealand, Europe, Japan and North America, Jagger chases snow. Along the way, she experiences countless mishaps that tend to accompany worldwide travel as well numerous joys, hopes and relationships globetrotting inevitably brings. She shares it all with honesty and candor. This true story is a journey for epic women, ski junkies and explorers of all kind. Unbound was published by Harper Collins in 2017.


Winterlust: Finding Beauty in the Fiercest Season

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Part coffee table book, part deep dive into everything winter, Winterlust is a collector’s piece. Beautiful imagery combined with stoic storytelling weave a masterful, peaceful and, at times, thrilling embodiment of winter. Ideal for both those who adore the snowy season and those who need a bit of nudging to recognize its greatness, Winterlust instilled me with a newfound appreciation for the essence of winter and a desire to enjoy it further.  Written by Bernd Brunner and published by Greystone Books in 2019, this creative nonfiction book asserts, “We long for winter. Winterlust—which, like “wanderlust,” is something to be enjoyed in nature—encompasses an unfolding of the human senses as we experience the particular enchantments of this time of year."


photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

What's on your winter reading list for 2020?

Let us know—comment below!