Cold Night, Warm Book

Autumn shies from summer, one more time around, this Vermont, and I long for dark grey and cold air, the reading weather.

Hunkered down on a chill night with this exquisite novel, Glaciers by Portland writer, Alaskan-born Alexis Smith, brrrrr…what’s not to love.


In keeping with the prose, crisp and lyrical like the weather out my window, here’s a list to tempt you into reading

  • the smell of old things
  • a child
  • ancient ice
  • Earl Grey, with someone, in silence
  • prose
  • a cockroach named Oolong
  • shy love, breathlessly sexy
  • bobby pins
  • the North
  • fine paper to hold while reading
  • thrift stores
  • pearly red buttons
  • a game of telling stories
  • story structure, like tides
  • postcards
  • Leo
  • understated politics with bold impact
  • 174 pages
  • a vintage dress, blue
  • L and M
  • subterranean whiskey
  • cover art
  • tagging library books
  • a hand on ice
  • an altered hand
  • verbs
  • dressing rooms

If you need more…three sections to represent each of the three times I read this book. Yes, three times, even with the piles of unread stacks on tables and desks and kitchen counters, threatening my very safety, or at least begging the rage of my family.

From Glaciers

Or sometimes, as she is trying on a dress, feeling the satin lining slip over her skin, she falls into a narcotic sleep–a dream of sleep–and wakes up–actually wakes up–in her bed, with her striped sheets and the cat grooming herself, and the crows outside, and the garbage trucks.


Hours sift through her. She feels whiskey-warm and almost grateful. Occasionally she leans out a window for air, counting stars, watching for the blinking lights of airplanes. Anyone out in the street, looking up at the old casket factory, would see her perched at the window, a merry ruckus behind her.


She sits by herself, unable to eat. She pours the last of the tea from the metal pot and sips. It is lukewarm, now, and she holds in her mouth and lets it roll over her tongue. She cracks her fortune cookie and thinks of buttons. Small, pearly shirt buttons. The way they feel between your fingertips, against fingernails, slipping through cloth.