13 winter books to read under the tree (+1)
I think it is clear I have books ready for every occasion. Of course this includes Christmas: there are some particular books I like reading only in winter.
I’ve collected here some of my favorite titles, divided into classics, young adults and thriller. I’ve also added some books from my wish list that I want to read during this cold winter.
I hope you’ll get inspired and read some of these. Or maybe you are looking for a gift for a friend and books are always a good idea (if your friends don’t read 1) You should reconsider your priorities and 2) You can gift them to me *not the friend, the book*).
I’m leaving the “for children” out on purpose here. Yes, in winter I often find myself re-reading books from my childhood, but this doesn’t mean they are “children books”, even if that’s the section you’ll find them in Waterstones or Foyles. Adults should and have the right to enjoy these books, too. Steal them from your kids if you have any. Or pretend you have a 8 years old nephew, go and buy one for yourself.
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
From Amazon: Scrooge is a mean, miserable, bitter old man with no friends. One cold Christmas Eve, three ghosts take him on a scary journey to show him the error of his nasty ways. By visiting his past, present and future, Scrooge learns to love Christmas and the people all around him.
I think everyone knows Dickens’ Scrooge. If not for the book, because of one of the million movies. A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite books to re-read in December. Every time I do, I think about my personal Christmas Ghosts, how would they be? It might sounds silly but it makes me want to do better.
2. A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett
From Amazon: To prepare his daughter, Sara, for society, wealthy widower Captain Ralph Crewe enrolls her in Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies. Unspoiled and genial, Sara is given all the luxuries her father can afford—and the obsequious Miss Minchin is happy to indulge. But when her father dies and his fortune is lost, Sara is forced into servitude, stripped of her privileges and possessions, and subjected to Miss Minchin’s true cruel nature. But as A Little Princess proves, with cleverness, resilience, selfless goodwill, and true friends, a child can be rewarded with infinite riches.
One of my beloved books when I was 8. No I didn’t grew up enslaved in a cold British college, my parents spoiled and loved me very much. However, exactly like Sara, my 8 years old self was finding relief and escape from reality in dreams. One time I was an explorer lost in the jungle, one time I was a princess, too… I didn’t end up really being one, but I think my passion for traveling was born trough the pages of this book and from those dreams.
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
From Amazon: The timeless tale of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth – experiencing both hardship and adventure in Civil War New England. Though the March family may be poor, their lives are rich with colour, as they play games, put on wild theatricals, make new friends, argue, grapple with their vices, learn from their mistakes, nurse each other through sickness and disappointments, and get into all sorts of trouble.
Another book that I’m sure everyone knows. The 1994 movie is super famous, too, with Winona Ryder, Christian Bale and many other famous actors. I have always loved Jo, the talented tomboy who finds comfort in writing. I might not have her talent, but she was the one I will always hold close to my heart.
4. White Fang by Jack London
From Amazon: Wronged by human and beast alike, White Fang has endured through brazen ferocity. An enemy of his kind, he is sold to a dog-fighter who pits him against other canines to the death—until a Yukon gold hunter comes to his rescue and provides an opportunity for a new life. As the wolf in White Fang sleeps, kindness and compassion allow him to understand what it means to be in the confidence of man. Considered both a companion and mirror to The Call of the Wild, this stirring adventure of friendship and survival reveals the conflicts between domesticity and instinct, as well as society and the natural world.
A “children” book that all adults should read.
5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Do you really need me to explain Harry Potter’s plot? And yes, I’m considering it a classic, no shame in that.
During Christmas time I love re-reading at least one of the books of the saga if I have time. Recently I’m always reading this illustrated edition. It usually comes out in November or December, right on time for the holidays and it is beautiful. Kim Kay’s illustrations are stunning, every single page is worth the cost of the book.
Tip: Usually the book is half price on Amazon when it comes out. I bought all of mine editions paying no more than 15£ each.
1. Dash&Lily’s book of dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
From Amazon: Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
I love this book. It’s the perfect pick-me-up of you are feeling blue during the holidays. Written in 2 voices, from both Lily and Dash’s perspectives, the book transports you into this crazy funny treasure hunt across New York. It has everything I love in it: New York during Christmas time as the perfect background, the Strand as the place where everything starts… The Strand is my paradise on earth, how can I just ignore it? Go read it if you are looking for something to keep you warm and to make you smile.
2. Let it snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
From Amazon: An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.
Another light book perfect to read if you are not looking for anything intense. The 3 stories merge together perfectly, and the fact that it happens on Christmas Eve makes everything magical. We all need some easy reads from time to time.
1.Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
From Amazon: It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed. But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man.
Perfect Christmas thriller. If you are in the mood, you can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie. This one is set during Christmas and of course it’s perfect for this time of the year.
2. The Shining by Stephen King
From Amazon: Danny is only five years old, but in the words of old Mr Hallorann he is a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Danny’s visions grow out of control. As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217 and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive? Somewhere, somehow, there is an evil force in the hotel – and that, too, is beginning to shine.
Yes, I’m including Stephen King in the list. The Shining is another one everyone knows, if not for the book because of the famous movie with Jack Nicholson. It is not my favorite King’s book but it is one that highlights his talent for sure. And there is no better time than the cold winter nights to read about little Danny, trapped in the Colorado mountains among monsters, first in line his dad.
Books I want to read
1.A Winter Book by Tove Jansson
From Amazon: Following the widely acclaimed and bestselling The Summer Book, here is a Winter Book collection of some of Tove Jansson’s best loved and most famous stories. Drawn from youth and older age, and spanning most of the twentieth century, this newly translated selection provides a thrilling showcase of the great Finnish writer’s prose, scattered with insights and home truths.
A collection of stories, perfect if you don’t want to jump into a full novel.
2. Christmas Stories by Diana Secker Tesdell
From Amazon: As a literary subject, Christmas has inspired everything from intimate domestic dramas, to fanciful flights of the imagination, and the full range of its expression is represented in this wonderfully engaging collection. Each of the stories is imbued with Christmas spirit of one kind or another, and all are richly and indelibly entertaining.
Another collection of short stories, if you are in the mood and want a break from long books.
3. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
From Amazon: Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?
4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
From Amazon: When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace’s small town becomes a place of fear. But Grace is fascinated by the pack, and finds herself drawn to a yellow-eyed wolf. There’s something about him – something almost human. Then Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away.
My first Stiefvater’s book was The Scorpio Races. I’m not much into this kind of fantasy, but that book hooked me from the start, I love her writing. Thanks to Tumblr I have also read all the books in the Raven Cycle saga, and how can you not fall in love with Ronan, the dream thief? She wrote Shiver before the Raven Cycle and I’m very curious to check out her style in this.
+1 graphic novel: Blankets by Craig Thompson
From Amazon: Wrapped in the snowfall of a blustery Midwestern winter, Blankets is the tale of two brothers growing up in rural isolation, and of the budding romance between two young lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith, Blankets is a profound and utterly beautiful work.
I love graphic novels, and I read amazing reviews about this one in particular. I can’t wait to read it.
What about you? Do you have a favorite book you like to read during Christmas time? Leave me a comment!
If you want some inspiration to get in a Christmas mood, check out the Christmas jumpers you all need.