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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Best Seller!

As heard on NPR Morning Edition and On Being with Krista Tippett

“Katherine May opens up exactly what I and so many need to hear but haven't known how to name.” (Krista Tippett, On Being)

“Every bit as beautiful and healing as the season itself.... This is truly a beautiful book.” (Elizabeth Gilbert)

"Proves that there is grace in letting go, stepping back and giving yourself time to repair in the dark.... May is a clear-eyed observer and her language is steady, honest and accurate - capturing the sense, the beauty and the latent power of our resting landscapes." (Wall Street Journal)

"May writes beautifully.... A contemplative, hopeful, consoling book.” (NPR)

An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down.

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a breakup, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. 

A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May's story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas. 

Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.

©2020 Katherine May (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“There is power and clarity and wisdom to be gained from accepting these difficult times. Wintering offered me empathy, acceptance and perspective that will stay with me long after the pandemic.” (New York Times)

“A beautifully written mix of memoir and philosophy...With a pandemic keeping us isolated in so many ways, May offers much-needed solace and comfort and a reminder that seasons eventually turn.” (Booklist, starred review)

“Beautiful...She is a poetic observer of the natural world, and quotable lines abound...I want to share Wintering with all my friends who experience winter blues, and keep a copy close at hand for the inevitable winterings of my own life.” (BookPage)

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What listeners say about Wintering

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

So very good!

Such a magically written remedy for the winter season and mental health. Savor the stories.

1 person found this helpful

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Simply beautiful.

I loved this book so much. Katherine’s writing is soothing and poetic. Living in a place where winter is long, very cold and often hard, this book was a perfect listen during February/March. Highly recommended.

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I was hoping for something more

I loved the flow and lilt of the words and the narrator’s treatment of them, but I think I was expecting something more...clear in its guidance. There were interesting pieces all the way through and I really loved learning about different cultures’ approaches to literal winter as well as May’s approaches to winters of the soul. But it didn’t always hang together or build on itself, at least until the epilogue. I’d read it again and may buy it in paper to be able to refer back to bits, but I had hoped it would be more somehow.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful ode

For those who struggle with the season, either internally or outwardly, to those who rejoice in the snow and have experienced a few winter times of their own- this book is for you. I just completed my first listen, definitely not my last!

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(my wife is reviewing this title)

I started this book in January 2022 and have been listening in short snippets--it's written in such a way that allows for natural pausing points without losing flow. Short snippets are all I seem to have brain space for. It’s been a long actual winter season where I live & a long period of emotional wintering, too--including the loss of my Mom to cancer in February. I love this non-medicalized reframing of the natural times of dormancy in our lives. This period of Covid-era, palliative care, and grief are not my first "winter," but this is the first one where I'm not being hard on myself and am just letting things unfold as they need to. I think discovering this book at this time of my life, was the perfect elixir.
Rebecca Lee's narration has an excellent vocal quality (and I’m an easily annoyed & critical audio book listener.)
There are long scientific descriptions that go a bit too in-depth for my needs/tastes, but other than that, I really enjoyed the book.

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So inciteful.

A beautiful, thoughtful book. I couldn't have read it at a better time. I highly recommend this work.

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Perfect book

What a perfect beautiful book. Thoroughly enjoyable and very relatable. Fabulous narrator. Highly recommend. Don’t miss it

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Wisdom in Winter

The author offers her personal narrative of winter as a season and as a season of life that holds healing possibilities. A helpful, gently humorous "map" for appreciating this season more fully.

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I loved this book

I really related to the concepts of wintering presented by the author, and the metaphoric rest time of the soul.

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Beautifully uplifting

What a beautifully written and relevant read. It spoke right to this time in my life and how I choose to navigate my own "Wintering".

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  • bgilmore
  • 2021-01-12

I look forward to my next time of Wintering!

I was pleased when I heard the author speaking of her book on NPR one day back in Nov/Dec 2020. I made it a point to see if Audible had the book, and there it was so I ordered it. Listened to it right away over a period of about a week. I listened to it as I walked every day. This book was written to help you recognize when you are in the wintering phases of your life, and it can happen often, or once in awhile. That it was published in 2020 smack in the middle of the pandemic seemed serendipitous. Instead of saying I was in a period of depression back in 1993, I can now say I was experiencing a time of wintering. What a restful, comfortable word for a time of sadness. Wintering is a positive way to look at a time that seems otherwise dark. I had often described it as "hibernation", because that's what it feels like when I withdraw to my desk and start writing. I will keep this book. I may even buy the hardback version just because it would be a perfect addition to my books of wisdom. I recommend to this anyone who is uncomfortable with self-retreats. May tells us it's okay to be sad. She tells us how to experience it in a healthy, restful, and forgiving way, with many references to nature, and personal stories of her own wintering journey. The narrator did an excellent job reading Katherine May's book, with a lovely British accent. I thoroughly enjoyed this audible book and will listen to it again when I feel a "Wintering" time approaching. I will embrace it.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-12-06

Enjoyed.

Loved the narrator especially. Like listening to poetry. Would recommend this read, but stay present while listening, or you'll miss so many amazing words of wisdom

8 people found this helpful

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  • Electa Potter
  • 2021-04-01

Beautifully written and powerfully healing.

Best book in multiple aspects that I’ve heard in years. So healing and beautiful. Highly recommend to anyone who has felt that powerful shame or judgment, internally and externally, for needing rest and repair. Also for those who are grieving something lost, Katherine May shines a beautiful truth on how wintering is necessary for healing and can have a peaceful, natural beauty to it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Optimistic 2017
  • 2021-01-26

Not good!

Don't get your hopes up. This is not a powerful impactful book as the title may lead you to believe. This book was a bit of a rambling and meandered alot. Focus of a hard hitting point for each chapters theme seemed lost to me. The author doesn't even reveal any intimate insights of what her specific winter was, what it took to get through it, what impact it left for how to handle the next one. At the end of the book the author says you should name the winters and I don't recall hearing the name of any specific winter the author actually described of her own accounted winter. This was not something that I enjoyed. The voice of the narrator was fine but the book honestly needs a rewrite or some major major editing. Barely any crumbs of anything truly insightful and lots of "nature" themed educational little stories,but not anything to really pull the book back into something fully cohesive that stuck to a point as far as what someone would think according to the title.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kate Loyd
  • 2021-01-05

Comforting Truth

This book was profoundly moving in its grounding of our human despair in the reality of nature’s cycles. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s exploration of many aspects of enduring a dark and cold season. Much appreciation from this reader!

5 people found this helpful

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  • sarah
  • 2020-12-07

Everything I needed

Came across this book by recommendation and could not put it down. I'm ready to listen to it all over again and going to purchase it as a gift for a few folks.

5 people found this helpful

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  • yugpam
  • 2021-10-16

Nice stories

This was a lovely, meandering reflection on the layered meanings of winter. Like a scenic drive, it didn’t really have a destination, though, or the emotional depth I was hoping for. The author leaned heavily on other people’s stories and explanations for winter phenomena. I was hoping she’d share more of her own story and dig a bit deeper.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kalyani
  • 2021-01-13

Insightful and Beautiful!

I really enjoyed listening to Rebecca Lee's narration of this book. I listened to it in two days straight. Katherine May is a really thoughtful storyteller. I have more appreciation of winter. At first, I thought it was just about the weather season, but turned out she also referred to wintering as those times in our life when the going gets tough. I highly recommend this book if you have a tough relationship with the winter cold, the book will keep you warm and fuzzy inside.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Melena
  • 2021-01-07

Incredibly impactful

Im so thankful to have come across this audio book. I never could have expected just how important this book would be but its given me a fresh perspective and new ways to talk about and approach my own winter. I found it deeply moving to hear the way Katherine speaks about her winters and the stories she shared of others winter. It has helped me embrace my own.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Olivia
  • 2021-01-03

Couldn’t put it down....

I listened to this book in two days... The narrator does an incredible job. So well written. informative beautiful life-changing!

2 people found this helpful