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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 listeners say about Wintering

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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.

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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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Perfect companion for winter

Embrace winter - the external and the internal. Through careful observation and thoughtful analysis Katherine May demonstrates the value of winters - both emotional and physical. You learn about a handful of topics (bees, the Sami, sauna, etc.) as May shares her internal journey through winter. You come to appreciate winter more, with strategies for adaptation, without feeling like you’ve been preached at or having to endure the forced positivity of the self-help kitsch.

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thank you for writing this

Love Love Love
bought the book too
bought two others for friends.

thank you for writing this .

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Good for the Soul

I love the winter and enjoyed the literal and figurative references to wintering. The narrator was lovely. I only took away a star because I had a few moments in the story where I was a bit lost on where it was going... but overall would re-listen!

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Wonderful!!

A truly great work of non-fiction that will carry me through many winters to come!

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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.

9 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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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  • paige
  • 2021-04-02

beautiful lyrics written

beautifully written book full of exquisite prose perfect and timely for our world right now.

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  • Jake
  • 2021-03-29

a memoir for now

Excellent narration of a memoir that soaks uniquely to this moment. inspiring and beautiful and full of dark, necessary truths