It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…to Read!

It’s that time of year- the days are shorter, colder, and busier. You feel like all you want to do is take a few minutes to snuggle up and enjoy a light, hopeful, seasonal story. But with all the holiday inspired stories out there, it can be hard to know where to start. The APL has you covered! Here are just a few tried-and-true seasonal stories that are bound to leave you feeling in the holiday spirit.

The Inspirational Story:

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Shoes is a heartwarming and inspiring story with some Christian themes. It is the story of Robert, a successful attorney who appears to have everything in life. But a closer look at his life reveals that he has been focusing too hard and for too long on his career and material rewards. Now, his marriage is falling apart and he feels like he doesn’t even know his own daughters. Young Nathan is living a very different kind of life and trying to hold on to every moment he has with his family and his mother, who he is losing to cancer. A chance meeting on Christmas Eve brings Robert and Nathan together and during this one encounter, their lives are forever altered.  The Christmas Shoes is a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape our lives.

The Funny Story:

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Skipping Christmas, the inspiration behind the Christmas comedy “Christmas with the Kranks”, is a humorous and witty story with just a little social commentary on the frenzied state Christmas can sometimes cause. Skipping Christmas follows Luther Krank, Modern Day Scrooge, and his wife Nora as they decide to skip Christmas altogether. That means no Christmas tree, no decorations, no Christmas cards, no gifts given or received, and definitely no Christmas parties. The Kranks battle hyperfestive neighbors and charity workers outside shops, all to adhere to their new creed of “No Christmas”. But then they receive an unexpected phone call which leads to a change in their plans. Here is where the story turns and focuses on the true meaning of the holiday in a poignant way.

The Classic Story:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I don’t know about you, but when I think “Christmas story” I think of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It is, as they say, a classic for a reason. A Christmas Carol is a stylistically complex and richly developed story about the true meaning Christmas, and life. You are undoubtedly familiar with the story of Ebenezar Scrooge and how he is visited by three ethereal figures, all who teach him a most valuable lesson. If you have already read and loved this story then it’s a great chance to try the audiobook. Listening to a story you are familiar with on audio can be a great way to dip your toes into the world of audiobooks and can feel like visiting old friends. There is one edition that is narrated by Jim Dale, who is an absolutely fantastic narrator and very well known for his narration of the popular Harry Potter series.

The Romantic Story:

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Master of romance Lisa Kleypas enchants with this banter-filled historical Christmas romance novella. It takes place in the middle of her popular Wallflowers series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel. A Wallflower Christmas follows our hero Rafe Bowman from America to London, as he arrives for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford. Rafe has been ordered by his wealthy father to court her or else be cut off from the family fortune. Rafe’s brash American manners clash amusingly with the more rigid expectations of English society and he must learn how to navigate the “ton”. If that wasn’t a challenge enough Rafe soon realizes he is not falling for Natalie but for her forthright, down-to-earth cousin, Hannah. A match with “common” Hannah is not what his father had in mind and as Christmas draws closer, Rafe must choose between the woman he is falling in love with and inheriting his father’s fortune. A Wallflower Christmas has a “warm” sensuality rating, making it a romance for adults but not an explicit one.

The Mysterious Story:

I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Falvia de Luce is a precocious eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a pension for crime solving. In this fourth installment in the series it is Christmastime and Flavia is tucked away in her laboratory attempting a chemical concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. Her father Colonel de Luce has agreed to rent out the family estate, Buckshaw, to a British film company.  Flavia’s plot to catch Father Christmas is put on the back burner when the film crew’s star, Phyllis Wyvern, is found strangled to death with a length of film reel. The murder investigation pits the cheeky Flavia against the local constabulary—and puts her in grave danger. I am Half-Sick of Shadows features sharply drawn characters, and an agreeable puzzle playing out against the cozy backdrop of a British village at Christmas. The Flavia de Luce mysteries are ones I recommend to everyone, whether they are a fan of mystery or not. The audiobooks, narrated by Jayne Entwistle, are equally as delightful- if not more so!

The Short Story(s)

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

Fans of Young Adult fiction and popular YA author John Green will love this collection of short stories. Let it Snow is a compilation of three short stories that take place on Christmas Eve as a large snowstorm hits a small town, transforming it into a romantic haven the likes have only been seen in movies. Each story follows a new set of friends whose relationship blossoms into a sweet romance. Each story can be read individually, but they are all connected to each other in the end. Let it Snow is short and sweet and bound to leaving you feeling more in the holiday spirit than you were when you started it.

Well, I hope I have piqued your interest with these reviews of  six great holiday stories. If you’ve already read one or more of these and are looking for further recommendations check out NoveList. NoveList is a database of reading recommendations that you have special access to with your Attleboro Public Library Card. As always, Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!

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