• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

May explains her own yearning to power down and turn inward during difficult times, and she connects with other interesting people who "winter" to nourish themselves during cold or unforgiving periods.

In Katherine May's nonfiction ode to settling in, stepping back, and slowing down, she explores her own experiences with times of her life in which this unique approach has not only felt called for, but valuable in various ways.

When May's husband became ill, her son's spirit flagged in school, and her own work stress began taking its toll on her physically and emotionally, she yearned to make changes--then increasingly felt that doing so was imperative and beneficial for herself and her family.

Through her own introspection as well as her exploration of other's experiences, the author posits that when grief, worry, or challenges feel overwhelming, shifting your schedule and your pace to reflect what would naturally occur in winter can allow you to sleep more, turn inward, adjust expectations, and nurture your body and soul, nourishing yourself in essential ways.

May speaks to others who have undergone periods of severe challenges and by choice or necessity powered down and retreated into themselves, as well as individuals who live in bitterly cold, dark, and sometimes remote settings and how they cope with and flourish in these environments. These forays into various lifestyles and locations were fascinating, and I felt May yearning to connect with others and their stories in a way that felt immensely appealing to me.

Wintering is a calming, reassuring look at listening to your own body rhythm, reducing pressure on yourself, and finding satisfaction in less, regardless of how straightforward or complicated the roots of one's challenges may be. It also feels like a celebration of winter and of the shifts the season necessitates. I listened to Wintering as an audiobook and very much enjoyed Rebecca Lee's narration.

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May is also the author of The Electricity of Every Living Thing as well as other books.

You might also like the titles on the Greedy Reading List Six Books with Cold, Wintry Settings to Read by the Fire.