10 Books You Must Read This Holiday Season

In the beginning of December, everyone is caught up in Christmas shopping. The festive mood is everywhere – the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Macy’s holiday window display, and Winter Village at Bryant Park. You sing along to “Let It Snow” and work on your New Year’s resolution list. Curl up in your favorite chair and wrap a fleece blanket around you. All you need is a warm cup of cocoa and a holiday book. You might want to read a meticulous detective story or one of a children’s books. It is Christmas time and magic is in the air.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)

It is a Christmas classic. Charles Dickens is the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. A Christmas Carol portrays a 19th century England, traditional carols and family gatherings. Ebenezer Scrooge is a man who despises Christmas. He contemns crowds, family dinners, and festive celebrations. However, one Christmas Eve Scrooge has a visitor. It is a ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley who died seven years ago. Scrooge’s spiritual adventures will make you reconsider your ethics. The author of A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1861), masterfully elaborates themes of compassion, affection, and kindness. It is the best possible way to catch Christmas spirit.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss (1957)

It is a perfect holiday book for young and old. Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel is a German-American author who wrote and illustrated more than 60 children’s books. There are best-selling children’s books like Green Eggs and Ham (1960) and The Cat in the Hat (1957) among them. The story happens nearby the town of Whoville on Christmas Eve. Grinch, a grumpy solitary creature who hates Christmas, is annoyed by holiday preparations. He decides to steal all the presents and decorations from Whoville’s inhabitants to ruin the celebration. Fortunately, his plan did not work out and merciful Whos invite Grinch to join their feast. In 1996, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was adapted into a cartoon, starring Boris Karloff.

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (1956)

For the record, Cruella de Vil does not hate Christmas. She is a wealthy woman who makes stylish fur clothing. Her cruel plan is to kidnap a family puppies to make elegant fur coats in time for Christmas. Luckily, puppies managed to escape the day before Christmas Eve and return home. This story will bring back your childhood memories and the jolly spirit. Dodie Smith was an English children’s novelist and playwright. The author of I Capture the Castle (1948) wrote a sequel to the story – The Starlight Barking (1967). In 1961, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was adapted into Disney animated movie.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985)

Can you hear the bells of Santa’s sleigh? Look out the window, there must be the Polar Express waiting there. Turn on Sinatra’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and delve into The Polar Express. You are about to experience a magical journey to The North Pole. It has all you need for a delightful Christmas jaunt – Santa Claus, the elves and reindeers. And most importantly, the first gift of the Christmas. It is a story of a humble boy and holiday joy. Chris Van Allsburg is an American illustrator and writer of children’s books. He was awarded twice with The Randolph Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, for his books The Polar Express and Jumanji (1981). In 2004, The Polar Express was made into a 3D computer-animated Christmas musical fantasy film starring Tom Hanks.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie (1938)

Agatha Christie was an English crime novelist, short story writer and playwright. The author of world’s longest-running play The Mousetrap (1952) wrote a series of murder mysteries where the main character is a fictional detective Hercule Poirot. It is a classic detective story. Simeon Lee gathered his relatives to celebrate Christmas in Gorston Hall. They might look like a perfect family, although, each of them has a reason to hate the old rich man. The dinner is interrupted by Lee’s deafening shriek. The guests discover his dead body with a slit throat. The murderer is among them. This murder mystery is not a sentimental holiday read; although, it is incisive, intriguing, and enthralling.

The Twelve Clues of Christmas: A Royal Spyness Mystery by Rhys Bowen (2013)

Rhys Bowen, whose real name is Janet Quin-Harkin, is a British author best known for her mystery novels. The Twelve Clues of Christmas is one of the novels from “The Royal Spyness Series”. You will find this murder mystery surprisingly delightful. Tiddleton-under-Lovey is a small village where hundreds of people are gathered to celebrate Christmas. However, festive mood is ruined by multiple murders of the villagers. There are recipes for the traditional Christmas dishes and game guidelines in the back of the book. Grab a copy and enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas adventure to a 20th century aristocratic England.

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (1996)

If you, like Bridget Jones, long for drastic changes in your life, Helen Fielding’s book is a right fit for you. In the run-up to New Year’s Eve, Bridget is committed to begin a new, better, life. For starters, she decides to lose weight and quit smoking. Her love life also leaves much to be desired. Bridget’s character is easily relatable and sympathetic. Hilarious New Year’s resolution list, love triangle, and British humor guarantee a great evening. Bridget Jones’s Diary is a funny, engaging, and joyful Christmas reading. Fielding is an English novelist and screenwriter. She is best known for her Bridget Jones’s Diaries series. In 2001, the book was successfully adapted into a movie, starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth.

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand (2015)

What can be more romantic than a snowy Christmas day on a Nantucket Island? Elin Hilderbrand is an American writer who describes the routine of Nantucketers. The author of The Blue Bistro (2005) and The Matchmaker (2014) wrote a series about one of the Nantucket’s families. Tangled relationships of the main characters, Christmas, snowstorm and Nantucket. Although Hilderbrand is known for her beach read romance novels, this story won’t disappoint you. You might want to make a cup of hot eggnog before indulging in a continuing drama of the Quinn family. It will help you to escape the mundane reality. Blizzards and romantic feuds promise a captivating and easy reading.

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber (2013)

Debbie Macomber is an American writer of romance novels. The author of My Funny Valentine (1991) and Family Affair (1994) knows how to feel your heart with hope and gratitude. The Alaskan tundra near the Arctic Circle is a perfect Christmas setting. Magical northern lights, frozen lakes, snow and absolute serenity. Macomber wrote an ultimate Christmas romance story. Carrie Slayton is a young newspaper writer from Chicago. She goes to Alaska to interview Finn Dalton, a mysterious author of a best-selling book “Alone”. It is a touching, sweet, and lovey-dovey holiday read.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)

Joanne Rowling is a British novelist and screenwriter. The Harry Potter fantasy series is the best-selling book series in history. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a story about a young wizard Harry Potter. The boy who lived. His life drastically changes after he finds out he is a sorcerer. Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross railway station will bring you to a magical world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Moving staircases, potions, spells, and talking portraits. It is a heartbreaking story full of love and magic. In 2001, the book series was adapted into a movie series starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

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Svitlana Kovalenko

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