Holiday reads.

When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day.
Jean Fritz

I’ve worked in a library for a number of years, and it is interesting to observe the patterns of circulation. Right now, of course, it’s all about the holiday books, and it appears that a lot of our patrons gravitate toward the Christmas-themed, cozier side of the the mystery spectrum, as well as sweet, versus really hot, romance novels. (Maybe they read the hot ones in January instead?).

I got to thinking about whether or not I have a particular favourite book that I like to revisit at this time of year, or even a genre that I like to sample during the holidays. Given that I read voraciously, and always have, I was surprised to draw a blank.  Thinking back on past years, I realize that I don’t change up my reading habits to accommodate the holiday season. I keep reading anything and everything that catches my attention.

Do you bring out any special books to read during the holiday season?  Are they ones you cherish year after year?  Are they Christmas stories, or non-holiday books that seem to resonate with you more at this time of year than at any other time?  Do you prefer a certain genre over another?  Let me know what you’re reading right now – or plan to read over the holidays – perhaps I will want to check it out, as well!  (Ooh, a library pun, gotta love it).


  1. I admit I am drawn to those Holiday issues of magazines with fancy cookies all over the covers! It was only when my kids were little that we sought out Christmas picture books and stories. I agree that now as an adult I am not compelled to read any special holiday themed books anymore…although sometimes I might feel like an old Christmas movie. ( White Christmas is a favourite). Snow, snow snow!…

  2. I love the pun! Most of the time I continue working through my ‘to-be-read’ heap but often at Christmastime I am so exhausted I can’t cope with anything too involved and that needs me to really concentrate so I choose something lighter; a thriller, detective or historical fiction or similar. I have collected quite a few Christmas anthologies over the years and I often leave them out so the family or guests can read something seasonal. One or other of us will probably read ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Dickens and the year before last I read a children’s classic I hadn’t looked at for years that was set at Christmas – ‘The Children of Green Knowe’ by Lucy M Boston. I enjoyed it as much as ever!

    • The Lucy M. Boston book looks fascinating! I am not familiar with the series – I would have loved it as a child, I think, and I’m sure now as an adult, as well. I checked to see if our library system had it and we do not, but I may be able to track it down from somewhere else in the province. I will try…. 🙂

      • I always enjoyed the way she told her stories. The house she lived in and based some of her stories on is still lived in by her family. It is open to the public at times and readings of novels and short stories are given there. It is haunted (so they say) and M R James’ stories are very popular!

  3. I don’t have special books I read during the holidays, but I like to pick out a couple of novels to read while I vacation. This year I’m planning to read The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh, and then start on the Neapolitan novels by Elena Farrante (hope to finish at least one).

  4. I picked up my tradition from an article in Southern Living magazine years ago — the week between Christmas and New Year’s is sacred for reading! Everyone has to leave me in peace. I won’t go anywhere, I just live off leftovers and Christmas cookies and I get to read the whole week! Mostly old British novels and if they are set in wintry weather, it’s all the better.
    That leaves me refreshed to start the New Year! 🙂

  5. I will read 2 short stories from a Christmas Chicken Soup for the soul book each night before going to sleep. Very inspirational. I tend to read soft cozy mysteries with a Christmas theme, some are quilting stories. It’s the month I have the least amount of time to read since I make gifts etc. Listening to a Sue Grafton mystery while I sew. Nothing that I have to concentrate on. I have on my kindle a series called Cozy Christmas Shorts.. Short stories are a favorite for me.

  6. I’m like you, in that I don’t read specifically for the holiday. I tend to be inspired to read by all kinds of triggers. At the moment I am on Barchester Towers, prompted by an article on Trollop by Adrian Barlow. I actually have all Trollop’s works, but probably won’t have enough time left to read them 🙂

  7. I just wrote about a special Christmas book, but not a book so much to be read! I am currently reading A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny. It’s set in Quebec, where it’s winter a lot of the time!

  8. I don’t read seasonal type books. I’m hooked on mysteries and always have a stack on the bedside table thanks to my local library. Hooray for all librarians including you! Currently I’m reading the latest Jack Reacher book by Lee Child. 🙂

    • I’ve never read the Jack Reacher books, but I’ve been meaning to do so for ages…perhaps I’ll get chance to start on them before the end of the year.

      I know all librarians are delighted with the encouragement and support of libraries and reading! I’m not actually a librarian – our library system is very large and we have several different job positions – but I work with the collection and I see the positive impact books have on people. So very important!

  9. I’m a fan of Miss Read, and she has several Christmas stories that never fail to delight this time of year.

  10. Hi Sheryl. I often take down Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ for a browse at this time of year. I just love the descriptive passages, for example when the ghost of Christmas present appears! I am currently catching up on some gardening magazines and a book about ornamental grasses. Next on my reading list is ‘The Vegetarian’ by Han Kang.

  11. When our boys were young, we brought out all the Christmas favorites. Now I just read what’s come my way. I’m in a book club where we choose ten books to read over the course of the year (we choose in January, and skip a book in September because when we started we all had young kids starting school then.) I just finished Mindy Kaling’s second book (I love her show and her personality). I’m also part way through Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which is laugh out loud funny AND also about depression. I read Janet Evonovich for fun laughs, and I’m looking forward to tucking in to a large picture book called Fine Linen.

    Merry Christmas and happy reading, Sheryl.

  12. Thanks for your post. Libraries are generally have an undiscovered resource. For instance, I found out last year that my county had electronic books for checkout. There were thousands of volumes that I could get delivered right to my Kindle – for no charge. No late fees ever because they automatically go back on the due date.

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