Fantasize your way through February's fury


So, how about this winter? On some level — a very small level, to be sure — I can appreciate the irony of the coldest winter coinciding with heightened concerns about global warming. Scientists say that just because there’s permafrost on our upper lips, there’s no evidence to debunk the theory that the earth is overheating.

I accept that. I agree that winter 2014 in New York is an anomaly, and we probably won’t have to live through so much cold and snow in coming years. Unless, of course, you flip the coin and it comes up heads 10 times in a row, which it can, but we won’t worry about statistically unlikely events.

Still, we have this beastly month to survive and probably a couple of rough weeks in March to get through before we can retire the snow shovel and the salt.

There are things we can’t change: We go to work, we drive our cars, we shuttle children to activities. Sixty degrees or five degrees, we must carry on.

What we can change is what we do in our lives to mitigate the hellish conditions swirling outdoors. Last year around this time, I suggested that we devote ourselves to cooking soup. I included recipes for In the Thick of it Pea Soup, Gimme a Minute Stracciatella Soup and World Peace Lentil Soup. Excellent choices, if I do say so myself. (If you forgot the recipes, give a holler.)

Now, deep in the heart of a fierce February, I concede, “Let them eat soup” sounds a bit insensitive. If we bulk up on all the carbs we need to stay toasty, we’ll roll out the front door come spring. It will need to be a wider door.

We need more. Outside, my beautiful bushes are bent and broken by the snow and ice; inside, I have rooms that just won’t warm up enough. My shower feels like a cell in the gulag.

We need to think warm, and the only way to do that is to transport ourselves to a different time and place, preferably the tropics. For those of us who can’t hop on a plane, there’s another way to escape — by reading books that warm the heart and soul, by immersing ourselves in stories that take us away from the hardships of winter 2014.

Trust me, between now and April 15, if you read these eight books, you will relax your frozen muscles, energize your brain and light a candle in the cold dark places of your heart.

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