8 Books Set During the Holidays to Make for Merry Reading

Looking for a good book to make your holiday fantasy a reality? Check out one of these eight stories set during the holidays to make for merry reading!

1. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

carolThe Price of Salt tells the story of a young shop woman named Therese who falls in love with an older customer named Carol. If you’re wondering why this sounds familiar, it’s because the 2015 Todd Haynes’s film Carol is based off of this novel published in 1952 by Patricia Highsmith, under the pseudonym “Claire Morgan”. The novel is set around Christmas and offers an incredibly nuanced and complex character study of two women in an explicitly lesbian relationship during the 1950s. The novel asks what price a person must pay to live a life true to their identity, and the struggle in which a person attempts to discover what their self is, and the contradictions and carefulness in identifying that. It’s a novel about suppression until the point of combustion, and it’s beautiful, riveting, delightful and heartbreaking. Also if you’re feeling extra, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara’s performance as Carol and Therese, respectively, in the film adaptation are captivating and ethereal.

~Dan Kolinko, Fiction Board

2. Tinsel by Hank Stuever9780547394565_p0_v2_s192x300-1

As the years go by, you start to notice that Christmas begins to lose the glow it used to have for us as children. The days of believing in Santa are long gone, the stress of buying the perfect presents for everyone sets in, and it seems to become less about warm memories and magic than about money (or lack thereof). Yet, there are people that persist every year, searching for that thing that makes Christmas the special tradition it always was for them as a child. Set in our very own Frisco, Texas, Tinsel follows three people in their quest for keeping the holiday spirit alive, whether it’s elaborately decorating “McMansions” with ornate Christmas trees, creating light show extravaganzas in people’s front lawns, or simply struggling to make Christmas a memory worth treasuring for one’s children. Hank Stuever presents an honest and funny portrayal of the holiday spirit in today’s frenzied consumer environment.

~Jennifer Velazquez, Nonfiction Board

3.steadfast-tin-soldier-1 Steadfast Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson

Deviating from the typical holiday cheer, this thought provoking tale of Christmas Morning told by the toys who must now share a nursery is a timeless fairytale, but without any faries.
This holiday season, I encourage you to read this story in as many different translations, versions and retellings as you can. Experience a variety of illustrations, and revisit the motley assemblage of characters. A story of thoughts rather than deeds, Anderson reminds us that our worlds are dictated by our perceptions.

~ Madeleine McQuilling, Nonfiction Board 

stephanie.jpg4. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories – edited by Stephanie Perkins

No one does warm fuzzies quite as well as YA authors. My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve romantic holiday stories written by bestselling Young Adult authors such as Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, David Levithan, and Kelly Link. While all of the stories have similarly happy endings and adorably sweet romance plots, I think my favorite aspect of this particular anthology was just how diverse all of the characters and stories were. My True Love Gave to Me has it all — small-town sweethearts, a spooky Krampus, Santa’s adopted daughter and her elf crush, a church on fire, and much more. If you find yourself marathoning Hallmark holiday movies or simply want something lighthearted that will keep your heart warm this winter, then this collection of stories is for you.

~Hillary Sames, Fiction Board 

An anthology of winter-themed short stories by twelve different young adult authors, this book is perfect for the holiday season. Each unique romance has a different cast of characters and story that leave you with all the warm fuzzies. I’d be here all day if I gave you a rundown on each story in the anthology, but trust me when I say that not a single author disappoints in their allotted section. From Holly Black to Kiersten White, Stephanie Perkins chose the best in the business for the job, as well as contributing a lovely story herself. If you can somehow get your hands on the incredibly gorgeous UK edition with gold details and pink sides of the pages, all the better. However you choose to enjoy this gorgeous work of literature will leave you ready to celebrate the holidays and spread plenty of cheer during the coming winter months.

~Alex Arias, Marketing Board

grinch.png5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Another Christmas is approaching. You’re older now, the breaks seem shorter, and the holidays don’t give you that warm and fuzzy feeling they once did. Presents aren’t as big of a deal and family even forgets to give you presents now. To make up for the dwindling Christmas spirit, you pull out your smartphone, send meaningless texts, play some games, and maybe even tweet a little. But that can get old after a while so you put it down and twiddle your thumbs, alienated further from the Christmas spirit that all of the children in your family seem to have, as the happiness shines bright in their eyes and the glow in their cheeks almost warms your heart. But let’s stop here. Please, save yourself from another subpar Christmas by making some hot chocolate on the stove, putting on some cozy socks, and pulling out How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Yes, what better way to get into spirit than by reading a classic that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas? So embrace your inner kid again, let the hot chocolate warm your soul, and learn along with the Grinch as he makes his way down to Whoville. And after you’ve finished the story (it’s awfully short and sweet), and as your heart expands three times its size, pass it on to someone else who needs a little pick-me-up this holiday season.

~Lauren Ponce, Fiction Board 

6. Let it Snow by John Green, Lauren let-it-snowMyracle, and Maureen Johnson

This trio of excellent writers really know how to get you in the holiday-feels. Each author creates a magical romance set during the holidays. I guess there’s something about snow, a warm fire, and a hot cup of cocoa that stirs the romantic side of people. Each author does well to build a world that a reader can get lost in. I originally picked up the novel because John Green’s name was on the cover (I was in a John Green phase – but who hasn’t been in one of those recently) but I loved each story completely. If you want to really get into the holiday-spirit, pick up this novel! You won’t be disappointed.

~Bianca Perez, Marketing Board 

little-women7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The holiday season is a good time for a return to old favorites, and for me, that means snuggling up in a warm blanket with a hot mug of cocoa and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Part one begins and ends at Christmas time and follows them through the year between, as they navigate the strange period between childhood and adulthood. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy learn at every step that family and friends are the most important things in life, and even when times are hard, love and kindness can make a very merry Christmas, indeed.
~Rebecca Skrabanek, Nonfiction Board

8.The Gift of the Magi by O. Henrymagi.jpg

The story is set on Christmas Eve and follows the main characters of Jim and Della, husband and wife, as they try to find the perfect Christmas presents for one another. There is just one problem. The husband and wife  are both poor. To find a present worthy of their spouse, both characters give up their prized possessions for a bit of extra money. O. Henry uses the story to teach the main characters and readers a lesson: all you need is love.

~Tracy Yager, Nonfiction Board 

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