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Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
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Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  449 ratings  ·  104 reviews
"Every bit as beautiful and healing as the season itself. . . . This is truly a beautiful book." --Elizabeth Gilbert

An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down.

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 10th 2020 by Riverhead Books (first published February 6th 2020)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Can there be a more perfect book to read as the year winds down? Katherine May looks at wintering from a number of perspectives including viewing the aurora borealis, the time she lost her voice, seasonal affective disorder, and more, including how most of nature rests for transformation in the winter. And we should too!

This is a new title so might be good for gifts for your older, reflective relative. Maybe alongside a book of poetry by Mary Oliver or Barbara Kingsolver.

I had a review copy of t
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This time of Social Isolation seemed a timely moment to read about Wintering, about drawing back from the world through illness, depression, or simply from being too cold to engage with the world beyond. This book, part memoir, part researched observation shows how winter can bring strength, and inspiration as we bring different ways of coping to this most demanding of seasons. May looks at the animal world (bees for instance), at different cultures who know a lot about winter (the Finns for exa ...more
Jessica Ryn
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I count myself extremely blessed to have gained access to an early copy of Katherine May's 'Wintering.' Not only is it a VERY beautiful book, I found reading it an incredibly healing experience. So relatable, honest and authentic and it resonated with me on a very deep level. I enjoyed the gorgeous prose, the poignancy of personal story as well as the interesting nature aspects. Having endured periods of 'wintering' myself, I feel this book has presented me with a fresh perspective and some new ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review appears on my blog along with many others at:

There are many reasons for reading a book, which is why the mix of reviews I undertake has such an eclectic feel to it, but one of the most satisfying is to learn from the wisdom of another’s experience. There is a lot of projection in modern life as we all try to put on a good face to the world via our various social media platforms, but how deep do we go in our conversations and relationships as a res
Just lovely.
Thank you to for the ALC of this book. Perfect timing for a year of emotional winter. I especially loved the inclusion of sciencey narratives -wolves and ants and bees and tides. I feel the need to sit on a frozen beach now. 💙
I'll handsell this book and recommend it highly.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What do you think of when you think of winter? Is it a stressful imagining or a peaceful one? Cozy? Uncomfortable? Necessary? With the inevitable approach of colder months, many of our memories or associations with the season - good or bad - are bound to be emphasized by the ongoing COVID pandemic. Author Katherine May invites us to embrace this winter with all that it has to offer. And May doesn't just mean the season, but rather the "fallow period in life when you're cut off from the world, fe ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
“Everyone winters at one time or another; some winter over and over again.”

Does it feel to you, as it does to me, that most of 2020 has been a wintering season?

“ a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider....Some wintering creep upon us more slowly....Some are appallingly sudden....However it arrives, wintering is usually involuntary, lonely, and deeply painful. Yet it’s also i
Sadie Slater
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Katherine May's The Electricity of Every Living Thing a great deal, and as someone who generally finds winter very difficult I was keen enough to read her new book, Wintering: How I learned to flourish when life became frozen that I bought a copy a couple of days after it was published last year. (It's the kind of book that I would normally put on my wish list, but my birthday is in May, and I thought it would make more sense to read a book about surviving winter while it actually is win ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: selfhelp, memoir, ng
This book defies easy categorization. It is part memoir, part literary survey, part self-help, part meditation on our culture. I appreciated the author's moments of wry, sardonic humor amidst her journey through difficult times. This book is very much suited to our current moment, where we could all use a bit of a break from the constant barrage of anxiety-inducing concerns.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of an unbiased review.
When I came across the description of this book, I knew I had to read it. This is the story of one woman's journey through a "winter" of her life - a time where we have to hunker down, go into ourselves and retreat in order to heal. For May that was a period of illness and uncertainty, but there are many reasons why our lives enter winter. Grief, depression, heartbreak, fear. And that is why this book caught my attention, as I'm going through my own winter and am looking for the guiding light of ...more
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written - perfect for these times - when we are all collectively wintering - thank you Katherine May.
Helen Bookwoods
2.5* I felt this book did not really work as a whole. It has an interesting premise that at a time of being emotionally 'frozen' we can learn to embrace the cold through observing the natural world in winter, as well as spiritual beliefs around the turning of the year, and cultures such as Finland and Iceland that have developed around harsh winter conditions. May shapes the narrative as a response to her own personal challenges - the problem for me is that (view spoiler) ...more
It looks like I'm going to have to create a little section in my book collection and add Wintering by Katherine May to sit between Patricia Hampl's The Art of the Wasted Day and Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing. All those books on productivity I've collected over the years, and yet now I need a section on how not to be productive and how to just be, to settle in, and observe the nature around you.

I think I'll call it my Hygge section to borrow the Danish and Norwegian term.

Really, this is the p
Moving through seasons of life, especially wintertime, when our body needs to naturally rest and recover, is something my therapist and I have talked about frequently.

This book is part memoir, part travelogue, part animal/insect hibernation report, and part self help tips. My favorite parts were the descriptions of living through wintertime in Northern European countries and the science behind why and how bees and mammals hibernate and how it relates to humans.

I laughed as the author talked ab
Maureen Grigsby
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a stunningly beautiful book about the seasonal cycles of life and how we approach them. The book is at times meditative,inspirational, or philosophical. Katherine May takes us through seven months of preparation for winter, enduring winter, and emerging from winter. Although she is experiencing a much more forbidding winter in Finland than I am in Kansas, her messages are beautiful and thought provoking.

I loved her descriptions of swimming in ocean water at 6 degrees centigrade. I felt
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was supposed to be my ‘chapter a day’ book but once I started it I had to read on. This is not due to a driving plot but because it touched my own experience of down times, periods of feelings of pointlessness and periodic times when life seems dark with no clear way forward and no desire to find one.

In her exploration of how people confront physical winters as well as psychological ones May always find someone solace in other people’s ways of coping. She leads you on a journey through to b
Dilia Narduzzi
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the writing in this book, very poetic, lyrical, beautiful words. I purchased this book from the UK in advance of its spring 2021 release date here in Canada. Winter is coming and I wanted to read it before Spring. Glad I did. Will be returning to it, I'm sure, during the frigid winter months. Metaphorical and literal winters always stump me, and this book offers a new way of looking at those fallow times.

In places, the book seemed a little unmoored, focusing on other people's sto
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually give this book 4.5 isn’t quite what I had expected it to be, but that is probably a good thing. I really like that for me, the main point of the book, with out being an annoying ‘tag line’ is that life is constantly fluctuating, cycling. There are inevitable events which cause everyone dark times, and unfortunately there unexpected events that can cause that too, but she’s reminding us that it’s okay to stay in those dark times and get through them by ‘hibernating’ and heal ...more
Karly Grice
One of those books that speaks to your soul and feels written directly for you. One of those books that after finishing you evangelize its gospel to anyone who will listen.

A must read for academics, teachers, parents, the overworked/burnt out, and basically anyone who feels like they are just barely surviving this global human winter of 2020.
This is a book that could have so easily felt bleak, or have been difficult to read. Instead, it finds hope and comfort in the change of seasons. I'm someone who really loves winter/autumn, but really struggles with change, and May's grounding of change within the seasons was so lovely to read. Highly recommend!
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether living with depression and anxiety or occasional low moods Wintering is a treasure trove of soothing words, incredible nature lessons and observations and tales of winter in extremely cold locations. So many words of wisdom for living in our day-to-day existences: emotional first aid.
Daniel Jr.
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, wise, filled with riches.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, nature
Poetic and insightful. Simply beautiful. It deftly brought forward memories of living in the countryside.
Gem ~ Bee
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this book many months ago just as we were entering lockdown thinking it would be a tonic to get us through, however things took a while as all the printers and warehouses closed etc so I received it some weeks in and it no longer felt the 'right time' to read it. Approaching October now (& still feeling the restrictions/lockdown thinking) I picked it up of my shelf to burrow down and absorb its wisdom for the coming months.
Oh yes, this is such a beautiful book.
I think you can appro
Val Robson
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was not what I expected. It is titled "Wintering: How I learned to flourish when life became frozen" which I thought meant that it was about how to deal with depression. It does address that subject but it is mainly about how the season of winter is prepared for by people and animals in various places around the world..

The author speaks about how depression has overtaken her but occasionally muses that maybe she is almost revelling in her melancholy. mood.. "I wonder if perhaps I am a
Laura McToal
Katherine May uses 'Wintering' as a metaphor for depression. She describes how depression is something she has regularly experienced and, as she feels the next one coming, she aims to prepare for it in the same way that people in Norway prepare for actual Winter. She also compares how creatures like bees prepare for winter.
Despite talking about interesting traditions in other countries and describing the Northern Lights in fantastic, captivating detail, this was not a great read for me. I suspe
Ramona Cherciu
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindful
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katy Chessum-Rice
"The year will move on either way, but by paying attention to it, feeling its beat, and noticing the moments of transition - perhaps even taking time to think about what we want from the next phase in the year - we can get the measure of it."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautiful, gentle, insightful meander through the season of 'Winter' and what it means to Katherine May. Whilst May touches on her own experience of depression and some of the events that have built up to phases of 'winterin
Pam Sartain
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wintering, How I learned to flourish when life became frozen, is a book that I read a little while ago, and only now, whilst writing the review in this time of Coronavirus, do I realise how needed this book is.

It's about accepting that at times you need to withdraw, and that you can't do everything with enthusiasm and bounce.  That at times you need to take time for you.

Katherine May discovers Wintering when she is ill, her husband is seriously ill, and when both of them are getting better, her
Katie (readingwithkt)
I loved the concept of this book and really liked Katherine May’s other book, The Electricity of Every Living Thing, however this book just didn’t work for me. I felt, as a reader, that this story would have better fit the format of a magazine or news article, rather than a book.

I read 30% and struggled to connect with it in the way I had hoped to. At the section in which Katherine visits Iceland, I really struggled with the book. As somebody who lives in Iceland, there were just too many inaccu
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