5 Favorite Holiday Books

I’m starting to get into the holiday spirit which, for me, usually means 3 things: baking, playing music, and reading.

Reading! There is something about this time of year that makes reading better. The coziness, time off, warm beverages, avoiding family… all of these factors seem to contribute to an improved reading situation.

Anyway, I thought I’d share my favorite holiday books. They aren’t all “holiday-themed”, but they are books I consistently reach for this time of year.

1. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Hilarious and relatable, this is the perfect holiday book to me. It includes both fiction and non-fiction, so it is well-balanced. Bonus that the stories are short, so it can easily be picked up and put down between festivities.

My personal favorite? The SantaLand Diaries, which recounts Sedaris’ time spent working as a Macy’s holiday elf.

2. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

All autobiographical stories presented with an intensely dark humor that is all too appropriate for the holiday season. Indeed, the humor is so dry, one sometimes wonders if it is dehydrated. One of the highlights is The Best and Only Everything, which deals with a boyfriend’s HIV diagnosis and goes deeper than many of the other stories.

3. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This might be more of a personal pick, but I always find myself drawn to Sherlock Holmes stories in the colder months. While Volume 1 and Volume 2 are both excellent, Volume one is my preference because it contains The Sign of the Four. The Sign of the Four is a favorite of mine because it has such a great, winding plot, that unravels wonderfully. Perfect book to settle into with a cup of tea on a winter morning.

4. Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien (or the Father Christmas Letters)

There is not too much to say about these except that they are sweet and whimsical. Tolkien wrote these letters from Father Christmas to his children and they were put into a collection after his death. The stories are really just about Father Christmas and his Polar Bear helpers and are a great read for the entire family, in my opinion. If you are already a Tolkien fan, you will enjoy them even more.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I mean, it’s Harry Potter. I’m not sure I need to elaborate too much. Why for Christmas? I think the first book in particular paints a lovely Christmas at Hogwarts where Harry feels as though he has a place to call home and loved ones for the first time. Plus, he discovers the mirror of Erised and that becomes a good lesson for both the reader and Harry.

These are some of my favorites that I always pick up this time of year, but I would be interested to hear what some other favorites are!

Beartown

I’ve been reading a new book! I went to a really cool local bookstore and found the book Beartown by the author Frederik Backman. I was immediately excited because I read A Man Called Ove by the same author, which I really liked (and highly recommend, though it is a tearjerker).

Beartown has not disappointed! The novel takes place in a small Swedish town that is centered around the local hockey team. The story follows the general manager of the hockey team, his family, the players, and the local residents. Beartown has seen more people and jobs leave, forgotten by the rest of the country.

The book begins with a semblance of hope, but it is cast with a dark shadow. As Beartown pins their dreams to the local hockey team, the lives of those involved are picked apart, good and bad.

I have found the thing I like most about Backman’s writing is that he manages to delve into the emotions of his characters in an almost matter-of-fact way. I don’t know why i enjoy this quality so much, but it seems to strike an emotional chord in me.

I won’t spoil the plot line for you, but I enthusiastically recommend this book and think it is at least as remarkable and expressive as A Man Called Ove, perhaps even more.