This December I read nothing but Christmas-themed books. I’ve never done that before… in fact, I’ve never really read that many holiday books at all. It wasn’t entirely intentional… and it was only four books because reading time has been a little scarce lately (only partly because I’ve also been binge-watching every cheesy Christmas movie on Netflix). But still, it was a fun way to feel excited about Christmas all month long and it seemed like enough to warrant a special blog post to recap all of the holiday reads.
I spent nearly every evening I could this month sitting on the couch in front of the fireplace, reading (or watching movies) by the light of the Christmas tree. I have enough Christmas lights up in my living room this year that I don’t have to turn on any lamps at night, and there’s just something especially cozy about the soft warm glow of Christmas lights. Add in the “Peaceful Piano Christmas” Spotify playlist that has been my go-to this year, and you’ve got yourself the perfect set up to read a holiday book. So, feel free to imagine that perfect setting as I tell you about all the books I read in that exact location!
I started off the season with Moonlight Over Manhattan. I was reading it because I was participating in the TLC Book Tour for the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it sparked the rest of the holiday reads for me this season. If you’re interested, you can see my full, 4/5 star review here. But in short, this was an adorable holiday romance and if you’re a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies, you’re going to love it.
Next, I dove into Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (and huge thank you to Berkely Pub for the gorgeous copy!) I don’t have my full review for this one published yet, but I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads and I really liked it. It was a funny, kind of ridiculous story of family drama over the holidays. I say ridiculous because it’s rather silly at times, with the family quarantined to a house for the week, and secrets and family drama just pouring out of the woodwork. I loved the Birch family though and all their craziness, and enjoyed being stuck with them in that house for a week. The writing was good and the story was entertaining and original. My only complaint was that I wasn’t 100% sold on the necessity of the rather depressing ending. No spoilers, but I found the end to be a little bit of a let down after having truly enjoyed the rest of the book. Still, I’d definitely recommend this one as a good read for the holidays (just be prepared to shed a few tears)!
Next up, I switched gears for a short story written by Fredrik Backman, an author who has quickly become of my most favorite writers in the past year. The Deal of a Lifetime isn’t something I would necessarily classify as a “Christmas” story, other than the fact that it takes place on Christmas Eve, and has an absolutely gorgeous, Christmas-y cover. It’s more a story about death… and life, and what one’s life is worth. This short story is only 65 pages and can easily be read in a single sitting, but as with everything Backman writes, it packs an emotional punch. It is a strange little story (Backman says so himself in the author’s note), but it was the perfect addition to my December reading list.
Lastly, I’ve just finished my very first Elin Hilderbrand novel. Another story of family drama over the holidays, Winter Street is the story of the Quinn family and their Nantucket inn. Like Seven Days of Us, it alternates between the perspectives of all the family members, each of whom are dealing with their own dramas and life crises. Well written and light hearted, but still full of emotion, Winter Street made for the perfect read to lead right up to Christmas. I kind of wish I’d started earlier… because it is the first in a series that I will definitely be continuing even once Christmas is over (…oops, I may have purchased the next two books when I was finish up my Christmas shopping yesterday). Oh well. You can still read Christmas books after Christmas, right?
And that’s it for my Christmas reading binge of 2017! I hope to read even more Christmas stories next December, so feel free to send any suggestions you might have my way. I’m going to start compiling a list early!