How to Survive When Life Is Frozen

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Wintering (2020, Ebury Publishing)

288 pages

English language

Published Dec. 3, 2020 by Ebury Publishing.


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4 stars (6 reviews)

6 editions

We have seasons when we flourish, and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.

3 stars

Calling low points in life "wintering" definitely attracted me to this book. I like the cyclical aspect of the metaphor, its opposition with the notion of an eternal summer that we should aspire to even though it's impossible, but after reading this book, I have mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, I highlighted several passages, on the other hand most of the time the author's sensitivity or comparisons did nothing for me. I felt like the book remained a collection of loosely connected autobiographical passages, comparisons with animals like dormice, robins or wolves, and a few interviews of people who went through their own winters. But it never became more than the sum of its parts.

Review of 'Wintering' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It's a lovely book to read for the season. Wintering is not just about how we survive winter - it's about how we survive when our life "winters" and we need to rest. Society doesn't really easily support those who need to recuperate, but Mays argues this isn't something that may happen - it's part of the natural cycle of life. Just as animals winter, so do humans. As part of her exploration, she catalogs some winter celebrations, including celebrating Yule at Stonehenge with the pagans, Saint Lucia's celebration, seeing the Aurora Borealis in person, and, of course, she discusses the practice of hygge.

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  • Self-realization
  • Self-actualization (psychology)
  • Nature
  • Outdoor life