Winter is the perfect time to lose yourself in a nice, thick book

Every January, I find myself in the mood to sit down and read a hefty book. Something about the cooler weather makes me want to curl up on the couch under a blanket with a big door-stopper of a book and become completely absorbed and transported to a fictional world. If you, too, find winter the perfect time to tackle a book with 500 or more pages, here are a few suggestions:

Even though Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch clocks in at nearly 800 pages, I found myself slowing down my reading toward the end so I could extend the experience for as long as possible. A multilayered story with fully imagined characters, this is the Dickensian tale of Theo Decker as he finds his place in the world. The book begins with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which kills 13-year-old Theo Decker's mother and leaves him in possession of a rare Dutch painting. What follows is a captivating story of art, love, suspense, survival and family. 

Lonesome Dove, the 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Larry McMurtry, may be set in the old West, but it has appeal for readers of all genres, not only those who like Westerns. The larger-than-life story of two former Texas Rangers who decide to pull up stakes and head from Texas to Montana in search of new opportunities is full of adventure, heartache, humor and perilous danger, but it is the characters that you will remember long after closing this book. 

Edward Rutherfurd's Paris is a multigenerational saga that traces the history of the City of Light through the fates of eight generations of several families. Richly detailed and combining real and fictional characters, the book manages to entertain while also providing plenty of interesting historical facts about the development of this illustrious city. 

The autobiographical novel Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts is a thrilling adventure about a man who escapes from an Australian jail, uses a fakes New Zealand passport and ends up in Bombay where he meets Prabaker, who becomes his guide through the city's gritty underworld. For a time, he runs an illegal free clinic in a shantytown until he is arrested without charge and thrown into the horrific Arthur Road Prison. Upon release, he becomes involved with the Bombay mafia, forging fake passports and laundering money. A truly epic story, Shantaram vividly brings to life a vibrant, dazzling India. 

If you are counting down the days until the next Game of Thrones book is released, The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss should keep you spellbound for a while. The first in the series, The Name of the Wind tells the coming of age story of Kvothe, a magically gifted young man who becomes the most powerful wizard in his world and is also a notorious thief, assassin and musician. Rothfuss has been praised for his excellent world building and his intricate plotting, as well as his ability to create a dramatic, atmospheric fantasy series.

Halle Eisenman is the reference manager at the Hilton Head Island library.

Original story at the Island Packet