Book Reviews

Book Review: Wintering

By Katherine May

Published November 2020

241 Pages

I originally “discovered” Katherine May when I requested an ARC of Enchantment, which is due out this spring.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get my request approved so I’ll have to wait to read it like everyone else.  However, that request did lead me to Wintering, a notion that’s been on my mind of late.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.

In Wintering, which is half memoir, half self-help, May opens up to her audience in describing difficult periods in her life and how she withdrew to cope with them.  Most of her journey happens from November through March of a single year, but she also drops back in time to recount other periods of her life when she’s needed self-compassion and a slower pace to handle life’s challenges.  From health-related crises to insecurity to handling stress, Wintering reminds us that in life, like the seasons of the year, there is a time when we need to nurture ourselves, to slow down and ebb for a season in order to build up strength so that we can flourish.

“Wintering” interpreted by Wombo Dream

This is a concept that I’ve tried to grasp over the past few years with varying degrees of success – that humans weren’t made to be “turned on” 24/7, 12 months a year.  We were made to live seasonally, in harmony with the turning of the earth.  Which means that in winter, we should slow down to rest and repair, both ourselves and our abodes.  May touches frequently on this concept and, like every area she explores, she does it with grace and humility.

I was touched by how open and honest May was.  She didn’t gloss over difficult thoughts or her perceived failings.  I’ve read several books where the author took us on his or her quest for understanding how to heal and balance life, usually through actively searching and trying new experiences.  But the style here is a tentative seeking.  There are no lightning bolt moments of profound insight.  Like winter itself, May’s understanding was a slow unfolding.

While this book didn’t move me to try something new (I am certainly not going to plunge into frigid water), it was beautiful and moving.  And a very gentle but important reminder to tune into seasonality; that winter is a time of preparing for spring’s renewal.  I think that’s an important lesson that most of society has forgotten.  Personally, I’m looking forward to wintering over the next few months.

5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time, thank you for visiting.


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