Booklovers Podcast: Holiday Reading
Welcome to another episode of the Booklovers Podcast. Join us as Andrea, Amy and I talk about holiday books. Along with some shout outs to old favorites, we cover a variety of holiday books from essays to picture books.
What’s your favorite holiday book?
Holidays on Ice. This is a collection of essays written by longtime NPR contributor David Sedaris. As a former bookstore owner, I know how brutal the holidays can be in the retail world. So I totally fell in love with this collection when I read about his time spent being Krumpet the Elf at the New York City Macy’s. Let me share just one quote –
“But instead I am applying for a job as an elf. Even worse than applying is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn’t even find work as an elf. That’s when you know you’re a failure.”
Reading the book is fun but it’s even better if you listen to the audio. These pieces come alive. Like the holiday letter gone wrong. You know the letter you get in a Christmas card about a family’s achievements? This starts off as that and then goes terribly awry but in an achingly funny fashion.
Seven Days of Us by Frances Hornak. A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays… It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter–who is usually off saving the world–will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity–and even decent Wi-FI–and forced into each other’s orbits.
Start Without Me: A Novel by Joshua Max Feldman. Two strangers meet by chance in this mesmerizing tale that unfolds over one Thanksgiving Day. Adam is a former musician and recovering alcoholic who is home for Thanksgiving for the first time in many years. Surrounded by his parents and siblings, nieces and nephews–all who have seen him at his worst–he can’t shake the feeling that no matter how hard he tries, he’ll always be the one who can’t get it right.
Marissa is a flight attendant whose marriage is strained by simmering tensions over race, class, and ambition. Heading to her in-laws for their picture-perfect holiday family dinner, her anxiety is intensified by the knowledge she is pregnant from an impulsive one-night-stand. In an airport restaurant on Thanksgiving morning, Adam and Marissa meet. Over the course of this day fraught with emotion and expectation, these two strangers will form an unlikely bond asthey reckon with their family ties, their pasts, and the choices that will determine their way forward.
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, the same writing duo who gave us Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Dash is browsing in a bookstore when he finds this written in a red notebook –
I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.
Dash can’t help but be intrigued and so starts a treasure hunt romance. Super sweet and fun without being sickly and cloying. Perfect light holiday reading.
Christmas: A Biography by Judith Flanders. Presents a tour of Christmas holiday traditions from the original festival through today, touching on subjects ranging from gift wrap and the holiday parade to the first gag holiday gift book and the first official appearance of Santa Claus.
Wishin’ and Hopin’ a Christmas Story by Wally Lamb. A holiday novella focuses on a feisty parochial school fifth grader named Felix Funicello as Christmas approaches in 1964, then looks forward from the past to the present to measure what America has gained and what it has lost.
The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry. Delighted to be playing the part of a shepherd in the local Christmas pageant at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Doug Barnes is suddenly confronted by a host of problems, including the misbehavior of his fellow shepherds and the illness of the family dog.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. The Grinch tries to stop Christmas from arriving by stealing all the presents and food from the village, but much to his surprise it comes anyway.
Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer. As she impatiently waits for Santa’s arrival, Olivia the pig tries to help with family preparations on the day before Christmas.
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