Off The Shelf: Winter solstice reading

‘Tis the season for dwindling daylight. Though sunlit hours have been diminishing since late June, the limited light becomes increasingly apparent as we approach the winter solstice. We feel it even more when our daylight hours are dominated by cloudy skies.

The winter solstice occurs on Dec. 21, when the sun reaches its lowest point in our sky (at 1:48 p.m. PST, for those of you keeping score at home). From this moment, the sun begins moving north, gradually adding to our daily allotment of sunlight.

For thousands of years, cultures have recognized the winter solstice with festivals and rituals that celebrate the symbolic death and rebirth of the sun. Consider the following titles to incorporate into your own winter reading rituals, which might include cozy sweaters and warm beverages:

“Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants” (2019)

— by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

“This guide will help you make the most of your light so you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of living with plants. Includes profiles for 50 houseplants and ideas for making the most of limited light.” – Adapted from the publisher

“A Life in Light: Meditations on Impermanence” (2022)

— by Mary Pipher

“This memoir reflects on radiance, resilience, and the changing nature of reality. Pipher offers wisdom, hope, and insight into loss and change. As a woman who has experienced darkness throughout her life but was always drawn to the light, she explores how to balance despair with joy and reminds us that the light will return.” – Adapted from the publisher

“Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” (2020)

—by Katherine May

“An intimate book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down. May invites us to change how we relate to our fallow times by exploring how she not only endured her own, but embraced the opportunities it offered.” – Adapted from the publisher

“Flash and Gleam: Light in our World” (2020)

— written by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Khoa Le

“The soft glow of a candle, the blink of a firefly, a burst of fireworks — light is everywhere in our world! Rhyming text and luminous illustrations follow four children as they experience many different forms of light in this book recommended for ages 5-8.” – From the publisher

“The Shortest Day” (2019)

— written by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis

“Susan Cooper’s beloved poem heralds the winter solstice and captures the magic behind the returning of the light. This picture book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth.” – Adapted from the publisher

More info

Stop by the Sequim Library at 630 N. Sequim Ave. to find your next great read. For more information, visit, call 360-683-1161 or email to

Corrina Desmarais is a librarian with the North Olympic Library System.