If you're snowbound in the Northeast, try to think positively: it could be a great excuse to catch up on your reading.
And why not read something to fit the wintry mood? There are plenty of excellent books with snowy themes, so if you can put off the “Law and Order” binge for a little while, try any of the following suggestions:
For anyone with kids, or for anyone who just wants to revisit some good childhood literature, Laura Ingalls Wilder's “The Long Winter,” the sixth book in the classic “Little House” series, is a must-read for snow days. Set in the unusually fierce winter of 1880-1881, the book tells the tale of how the Ingalls family and their South Dakota neighbors endured blizzards for seven months and battled cold and starvation.
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If you don't mind something scary, you can crack open “The Terror,” a novel from American writer Dan Simmons that gives a fictionalized account of a doomed 19th-century Arctic exploration mission. There's exploding teeth, mutiny, monsters and cannibalism, all things sure to make you appreciate being inside with a cup of hot cocoa.
Another account to make you appreciate your heating system is “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” a Russian novel that follows a prisoner in a frigid Soviet labor camp, a victim of Stalinist oppression.
On the nonfiction side of things, you can dive into Gary Paulsen's account of how he and his sled dogs traveled 1,150 miles through the harsh Alaskan wilderness in “Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod.” (Some readers may be more familiar with Paulsen's classic survival tale “Hatchet.”) Or spend some time on the perilous slopes of Mt. Everest with Jon Krakauer's classic climbing tale “Into Thin Air.”
For background music, try some wintry classical favorites: Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker Suite,” the fourth installment of Vivaldi's “Four Seasons,” or Ralph Vaughan Williams' “Antarctic Symphony:”
If you've still got power and need a break from reading, there are plenty of movies with snowbound characters to fit the mood: Stanley Kubrick's “The Shining;” 1982 science fiction classic “The Thing,” in which a parasitic shape shifting alien stalks an Antarctic research station; or the acclaimed dark comedy “Fargo,” which takes place during a snowy North Dakota winter.
Of course, if you want to go the escapist route, you can take the opposite tack: pop a surfing movie like “Endless Summer” into the DVD player, play a Don Ho record and sip a Mai Tai while you wait for the snowdrifts to clear.