4th Annual Winter Reading List: Get Warm with Great Books

Get ready to settle in with a mug of hot chocolate or cup of hot tea. The 4th Annual Winter Reading List is ready to help you warm up with great books that you’ll be wanting to add to your To Be Read pile!

This year, I chose to focus on the writers. I spoke with five of them who create within different genres or sub-genres, to bring you as wide a variety as possible.

With all the books on the 4th Annual Winter Reading List, you’ll not only be able to find something for everyone on your Christmas gift giving list this year, but to generously supply your own stack of reading material. It will definitely keep you busy for the rest of the winter. I mean, as the saying goes, “Housework really is overrated!’ (And it’s not nearly as fun as reading a good book!)

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woman sitting at a desk with an old typewriter drinking tea and reading a book

The 4th Annual Winter Reading List – From a Writer’s Perspective

As a rule of thumb for new writers, there are two things you need to learn. The first is ‘write what you know’, and the second is ‘read what you write’. It’s more than just reading for pleasure. A great writer reads within their genre to help them understand what their readers enjoy. It’s also a great tool for learning techniques, character arcs, and writing compelling plot lines and dialogue.

But the first thing a writer needs is to have a deep and abiding love for reading. This year, the 4th Annual Winter Reading List is highlighting some fun and great writers who not only create some of the best books I’ve read, but also love to read. Between the ones they have read and what is patiently waiting for them in their To Be Read pile, these writers could probably fill the Library of Congress!

Great Writers to ‘Visit’ With

This year, the 4th Annual Winter Reading List is honored to highlight 5 amazing writers. Their genres span from humorous fiction to romance, to homesteading. Although I already have read several of them, I’m excited to find more great books to add to my To Be Read pile!

(The 4th Annual Winter Reading list may also force me to find even more room in my house to extend my personal library!)

Crow Johnson Evans

Crow is one of the most creative people I know. Not only is she a master spinner and weaver, but she has also turned her love of working with fiber into spinning and weaving with words.

As a writer, Crow has written two delightful books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading (and re-reading!). She digs deep into the characters and brings them to life in a way that makes you feel as if they are flitting around the room, stopping only momentarily to laugh with you or cry with you as you read about their adventures.

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - Me and Miss Henrietta by Crow Johnson Evans book cover

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - Flights of Fancy by Crow Johnson Evans

What Crow Writes:

Flights of Fancy

“…when we make something, it holds more than just the materials we use,” says Miss Henrietta, one of the characters in a short story included in Crow Johnson Evans’ generously laden buffet of a book. With materials ranging from short stories, a novella, and non-fiction essays, tones and genres which include memoir, science fiction, suspense, and YA, Evans takes readers from Beirut to the Ozark backwoods, past, present, and future, with narrators of all ages (including a tree).

Knitting, weaving, the sounds of a South Indian morning, a loving but lily-besotted partner…these are rich materials. But she makes them “more,” as her observed thoughts, feelings, empathy, and insight overlay real and imagined experience. Flights Of Fancy takes wing. It will nest in readers’ branches for a long time to come.” –Crescent Dragonwagon

Me & Miss Henrietta

“The best of friends are often found in the most unexpected places. Lillian and Miss Henrietta become friends despite their rock-throwing, bone-chilling introduction. Even though Miss Henrietta doesn’t like children and Lil isn’t too sure about meeting the old woman, their lives become entwined in their Ozarks backwoods adventures. Whether dealing with dreadful Aunt Bertha or dancing for tips at the Farmers Market, their friendship deepens and expands their way of looking at life. Together they make sense of the world they are faced with and find a sense of kinship neither anticipated.” – Amazon

What Crow is Reading

Crow is also an avid reader, and her reading preferences take her not only across multiple genres, but also ‘traveling’ through many countries.  Lately, Crow’s been enjoying:

The Teacher Learns Love, by B. Gibson

Road Tested: Life & Recipes, by Carol Florida (Lulu.com)

The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen


Lenora Worth

I first met Lenora when she taught a seminar on writing at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Since then, she has become a friend, mentor, and we once joined up with another writer for a fun adventure at a writing conference in New Orleans. (I’m so glad this post is about books, and not the hijinks on that road trip!)

As of 2023, Lenora has been a published writer for thirty years and written over 100 books and novellas. She has been listed on the NYTimes, Publisher’s Weekly, and USAToday bestseller lists!

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - A Louisiana Christmas to Remember by Lenora Worth

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - Amish Christmas Kinner by Lenora Worth

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - The Christmas Quilt by Lenora Worth

What Lenora Writes

Currently, Lenora has three Christmas Books out:

A Louisiana Christmas to Remember with Betsy St. Amant and Morgan Tarpley Smith,

The Christmas Quilt which is the last in my Shadow Lake Amish series.

Amish Christmas Kinner – with Rachal J. Good and Kelly Long

All of these books are perfect Christmas gifts, whether they are placed in a stocking, wrapped up underneath the tree for a reader on your list – or giving yourself a Christmas gift!

What Lenora is Reading

When I spoke with Lenora about what she enjoys reading, she said, “I like reading across the board—from women’s fiction to Regency to romance and romantic suspense. And the classics are always great to go back to.”

Right now, she has quite a few books in her To Be Read pile, just waiting until she finishes this one:

Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonne Garmus. Lenora says this about the book: “I really like this book because I know how hard women have worked for their equality.”


Lisa Lombardo

Lisa is one of the most talented, amazing, and strong women I know. We may live in two different areas of the country, but we still manage to have frequent visits, thanks to Zoom. One of the things we enjoy discussing is books, blogging, and our dogs’ latest antics.

Lisa is the mastermind behind The Self-Sufficient Homeacre. When we first moved to the farm, this was the first blog I found – and read from start to finish. Unbeknownst to her until much later, she ‘walked me through’ raising chickens, getting a garden started, and even how to enjoy my Afternoon Tea even more with her Marble Cream Cheese Brownie recipe!

Like me, Lisa is an avid reader. She reads across all genres but is particularly interested in books that help her move forward with her own homestead. I’ve quickly learned that if Lisa is reading it, I want my own copy! She has other books available in her SHOP, as well!

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - The Beginners Guide to Backyard Homesteading - Lisa Lombardo

What Lisa Writes:

The Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Homesteading: Step-by-Step Instructions for Raising Crops and Animals

Organic Gardening for Beginners: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Growing Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

What Lisa is Reading

A Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants And Herbs 

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition: Breed Selection, Facilities, Feeding, Health Care, Managing Layers & Meat Birds


Cheryl Aker Hubbard

A lifelong reader, Cheryl Aker always dreamed of writing a book. Little did she know her fur baby Cisco would be her inspiration and the star of her first one. Cheryl didn’t become a dog mom until 2005 when she and her husband adopted their first rescue dog, and she says she’ll never go without a dog in her family ever again. Cheryl has several published homesteading articles and a few photo credits in a variety of homesteading books. She and her husband share their home (and pasture) in Texas with their lovable dogs and crazy cats.

4th Annual Winter Reading List choice - Cisco's Best Day by Cheryl Aker

What Cheryl Writes:

Cisco’s Best Day (A Children’s Book)

Join Cisco as he solves the mystery of the missing calf. Cisco is always ready for an adventure and now he has the special skills to find the calf and save the day. If only his mom and dad will let him do what he does best.” – Book Blurb

What Cheryl Reads:

When I asked Cheryl what she loved reading, she answered “My goodness, I read so many books – 104 in 2022!” Her very favorite? Mysteries and Crime fiction.

So, rather than offer specific titles, she gave me some of her favorite writers. This is 3 of who she listed:

Annette Dashofy – Annette has two main Crime Thriller Series:

Julie Mulhern – is the writer behind The Country Club Murders series. The first one is The Deep End

Dana Stabenow – writes the Kate Shugak Mystery Series, with the first one being A Cold Day for Murder


Rachel Hester

Rachel lives with her husband and son on 8 1/2 acres in central Kentucky. While their primary focus on the homestead is sheep for dairy and wool, they also raise chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, lard pigs, honeybees and a milk cow.

Rachel hand spins and knits wool from their sheep into clothing for her family and makes soap from their milk as well as butter and cheese. Both Rachel and her husband Kyle are passionate about helping other homesteaders discover the joys of sheep, wool and sheep milk.’

What Rachel Writes:

The Guide to Homestead Dairy Sheep

When we think of raising sheep, we think wool production. But Rachel show there is more to sheep than just fiber.

“The Guide to Homestead Dairy Sheep takes you by the hand and leads you into a world of healthy nutrient filled milk, from an animal that can also provide meat and warm wool. Rachel Hester’s guide includes all the steps from choosing the right breed, lambing, healthy flock information, homestead milk production, products from sheep, and the surprising benefits of drinking sheep milk on a regular basis.” – Book Blurb

What Rachel is Reading:

M is for Mama, by Abby Halberdtadt

Follow the Flock, by Sally Couthard

Farm Fresh Forensics, by Sheridan Rowe Langford 

From Flights of Fancy and Christmas in Louisiana, to landing in the middle of your homestead and reading to your children as you help a dog find a lost calf, these five women are amazing writers. You would be truly blessed to have a copy of all of their books on your bookshelf!


But the 4th Annual Winter Reading List Doesn’t Stop There!

There are other great books out there, just waiting to be read. Several of my readers have suggested books they are reading. Here’s that list:

Lee is reading West with Giraffes by: Lynda Rutledge

Gina is reading Marshal in Petticoats by: Paty Jager

Margaret is reading The Timepiece, by Heather Albano, and Turtle Cove by: Marc Landau

And these are a few other recommendations for your Winter Reading List:

Fiction:

Albert Smith’s Culinary Capers, by: Steve Higgs (Mystery series)

The Lost Bookshop, by: Evie Woods

Criss Cross (Christian Suspense), by: C.C. Warren

Handcrafts:

Literary Knits, by: Nikol Lohr

Outlander Knitting: The Official Book of 20 Knits Inspired by the Hit Series, by: Kate Atherly

Literary Yarns: Crochet Projects Inspired by Classic Books, by: Cindy Wang

Creative Embroidery – Mixing the Old with the New, by: Christen Brown (my friend Sharon purchased this book and told me about it. It’s now on my ‘To Read’ list!

Non Fiction:

Telling the Bees and Other Customs: The Folklore of Rural Crafts, by: Mark Norman

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, by: Sonia Purnell

Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture, by Shannon Hayes

Don’t Miss Out on What Bloggers Have to Offer!

Another great place to find books is on websites. Many bloggers have books that are fun to read and can be downloaded instantly – some have their books on Amazon. Either way, here are a few you may want to check out!

Annie @ Road to Reliance:

If self-reliance and self-sufficiency living is your goal, Annie’s website is the best place to begin your journey. Visit her on her website, and then find some great eBooks in her SHOP.

Amy @ A Farmish Kind of Life:

From money and conversations, to homeschooling and how to live a good life, Amy is a fabulous writer and keeps you coming back for more. You can find Amy’s books on Amazon.

Anja @ Our Gabled Home:

If you are looking to create an urban homestead, whether you live in a city condo or a suburban home, Anja’s eBook How to Create an Urban Homestead is a great place to start!

Janet @ Timber Creek Farm:

Janet is not only a writer but has taken her love of reading to the next level. She now has Sawdust Publishing, an independent, micro-publishing company. Their mission is to assist authors who are writing about homesteading, animal husbandry, and agriculture topics. In addition, Janet has written her own books, which you can find HERE!

Kathi @ Oak Hill Homestead

Kathi’s mission is ‘to share my love of gardening, and to inspire and encourage you to live a simple, joyful life, no matter where you live.’ Through her website and products, she does just that! Check out her eBooks and other goodies In her Etsy SHOP!

Julie @ The Farm Wife (that’s me!)

I not only love living a traditional Simple Life, but I also love teaching others how to do the same. You can get started on my website, listen in to my podcasts (Living a Simple Life with a Back Porch View) on your favorite podcast app, and read all about it in my books on Amazon and in my SHOP.

We aren’t finished yet!

This year, the 4th Annual Winter Reading List’ takes you a little bit further down the reading road. My friend, Maggie, has a new website called Living Books Homestead. As an avid reader, Maggie not only has a list of great books that are perfect for all ages, but her engaging post ‘Living Books’ will resonate with any reader.

She also takes reading these books to the next level. Maggie has created her own recipes that are reflected in some of her favorite books!” Be sure to stop by Living Books Homestead to find even more great books for your 4th Annual Winter Reading List!

It’s Time to Get Warm and Start Reading!

But don’t forget to download your free Winter Reading printable! This list will help you keep track of the books you want to read, those you have, and rate them! Just click HERE to get it!

I hope you found this 4th Annual Reading List helpful! Not only can you begin to gather great books to keep you company through the cold winter’s days ahead, but you can also get quite a bit of your Christmas shopping done as well!

Now – it’s time to pour you a mug of hot chocolate or a cup of hot tea, grab a few of those Christmas cookies you’ve been baking, and settle in to relax & enjoy a good book!


Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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