The holidays can be a little bit frenetic. I get it. There’s a lot to do. But there’s a pocket of me that remembers Christmas holiday as a time of absolute magic when I curled up in my mother’s red chair and read from breakfast until bedtime. While you may not have the luxury of tuning out the world for several days back to back, I do want to list my favorite books of 2017 so you have an idea of what to turn to when you have a spare minute.
I loved A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It’s a beautifully crafted novel that is perfect to slip in your purse and read while you’re waiting for the holiday band concert. (Because, obviously, you have to get there over an hour early to even get a seat, and more likely than not, you won’t even be able to see your son playing the cello because he’ll be in the back row.)
But if you need something a little lighter, try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In fact, this one is best as an audiobook—read by the pretty fantastic Wil Wheaton himself. Put this one on while you’re waiting in car rider line to pick up the elementary school kids before you have to rush across town to get the junior high school kids and the baby is asleep in the back. (Just make sure to turn it off before the parroting two-year-old perks up and starts learning words he should probably save until he’s an adult.)
And if you need something to absolutely sweep you off your feet, try The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This is one you might have to fight your tweenager for, but keep it up. It’s so worth it. (And just for kicks, make up a batch of candied cranberries—yes! There is such a thing—to pop while you revel in the sweetness of the story.)
If that book wasn’t quite magic enough, try My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman. This book is the perfect balance between real and magic—it walks the line between reality and a daydream. (You can read it while the kids are watching “Elf” or the gingerbread cookies are cooling.)
But maybe you’re in the mood for a puzzle: then pick up The Unseen World by Liz Moore. Be prepared to stay up all night in your cozy socks, balancing a mug of hot cocoa. (And it’s okay if you didn’t see the end coming. Neither did I.)
And if all those can’t satisfy you, I’ve saved the best for last. While you’re waiting for the young women to get ready for caroling, stuff in as much of Eowyn Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World as you can. I normally don’t go for epistolary novels, but this one is done with such finesse, you hardly notice that you’re reading letters and journal entries. (And reading about Alaska is perfect while the weather outside is, well, frightful and you’re by the fire which is, well, practically speaking, delightful.)
The truth is, books are magic. Use that magic to transport you wonderful places, so you can forget for a minute that the stockings need to be stuffed and the cards need to be sent and you need to buy gumdrops so the third grade can make gingerbread houses.
What were your favorite reads this year?