If you’re anything even remotely like me, one of your favorite things to do is cozy up in a warm corner with some tea or hot cocoa and read a good book. And if you’re taking time off from work or have a break from school, the holidays are prime reading opportunities.
The biggest question, of course, is also the hardest. What do you read? An old favorite? A mystery? A timeless romance?
My family loves traditions. So, to make things easier for you (or just that much harder, depending on your perspective), I thought I would make a tradition of creating a reading list for the holidays of books I recommend. Here it is, not in any particular order.
- Emma by Jane Austen. Besides being my all-time favorite book, Emma has a hilariously awkward Christmas party. I defy you to produce anything half so awkward as Emma’s perverse ignorance of Mr. Elton’s overtures.
- Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse. If you haven’t read Wodehouse, shame on you! Especially after I practically begged you to in this post. Although I have never yet encountered a Wodehouse book that disappointed me, Leave it to Psmith is pure gold. Mr. Psmith (the “p” is silent, as in “psalm” and “pshrimp”) ranks with Lord Peter Wimsey, Mr. Knightley, and Lord Orville as one of my most beloved literary heroes.
- The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. There are a few reasons why Wodehouse appears on this list twice. One, an introduction to Wodehouse without (arguably) his most famous character, Jeeves, would be almost tantamount to sacrilege. And two, Wodehouse hits all the right notes for a cold and cozy afternoon—he’s light, he’s ridiculous to the point of hysterical laughter, and he’s just brilliant.
- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. Many have already read The Christmas Carol, and Amy Dorrit, the quiet and dogged heroine of this novel, is a treasure. It’s long (it’s Dickens—I repeat myself), but worth it.
- Evelina by Fanny Burney. I recently re-read this book and enjoyed it every bit as much as I did the first time. Don’t read it, however, if late-18th century novels drive you to distraction. If you’re not a fan of Camilla or Belinda, you probably won’t have the patience to appreciate the subtleties of Evelina.
- Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie. Mystery-solving and a British Christmas with Poirot at the helm? What’s better than that?
- The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie. One of a handful of Christie’s parody-mystery novels, I was completely taken in by the ending.
- Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers. I consider this one of Sayers’ best works of fiction. Although it isn’t the first of her Lord Peter Wimsey novels (that would be Whose Body), it serves as a good introduction to Lord Peter as a character and has some of my favorite prose passages.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Little Women has at least one memorable Christmas, although you’ll need (minimum) three boxes of tissues. Be prepared for some serious weeping.
- The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Fancy a little fantasy? Robin McKinley’s worlds are lush and rich and wonderfully crafted.
Have I made it any easier to choose yet? 🙂