Another one of my favorite posts to write each year! Around 3 years ago I realized that by the time I get to December, my brain is just mush. And instead of giving up on reading because I don’t have the same type of focus/bandwidth I figured, why not give a fun holiday rom-com a try? Spoiler: I loved it. And so began my yearly tradition of stocking up on holiday books and reading with absolute joy. Since then I’ve expanded to other genres – historical fiction, fairytale re-telling, essays, etc. They just have to be light and not make me think too hard to qualify.
I’m excited to dive into this year’s list and hope that you find something joy-inducing for your own stack this season!
And a friendly reminder – I’ve linked these to Amazon so that you can easily see what they are – but independent bookstores need your support, especially at the holidays.
ON MY READING LIST THIS YEAR:
All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox: Set in Nashville, two rising country music stars are forced to fake a relationship for the media. I expect that holiday spirit and sparks fly.
Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb: An epistolary novel (written through letters) that follows a couple in the aftermath of WWI. I’m excited to switch up the more modern romances of the other things on my list with this one. And Paris.. swoon.
You’re A Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky: Rich boy forced to leave the city and spend the holidays in charming small town, meets small town boy who is unimpressed with said rich boy. I presume, love ensues. I like that this is a new take on a Hallmark classic trope.
Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar: I was hoping to find one this year that had a fairytale type element and this dark re-telling of The Nutcracker feels like it will perfectly fit the bill.
The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish: A ‘The Holiday’ type location swap story set in New England and New Orleans, two friend and an LGBTQ romance. Sounds cute!
Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss: One of my favorite authors in this genre, this one stars a small bookshop owner in London who encounters her childhood enemy at a school reunion in the English countryside. I love an enemies to lovers story.. and this feels like the perfect holiday setting!
FAVORITES FROM THE PAST FEW YEARS:
One Day in December by Josie Silver: The one that started it all. I read this 2-3 years ago and was instantly hooked on this genre. It’s a classic girl meets boy, girl loses boy to girl’s best friend story. It takes place over the span of almost a decade and I couldn’t put it down.
Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis: A blizzard traps two people together one night and then fate keeps bringing them back together. Feels a little like Serendipity which is one of my all-time favorite movies.
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva: A reimagined tale of what Charles Dickens life looked like as he wrote his beloved Christmas Carol. I loved going back in time to 1800s London and reading this fictionalized account of how his family and friends (and mainly himself) might have showed themselves in his famous work of literature.
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris: I’ve mentioned it many times but Sedaris on of my favorite authors. This compilation of his holiday-themed essays is a short, funny read that includes reflections on his time spent working as an elf in Macy’s Santa-land.
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory: I loved that the main couple in this book was in their 50s roughly, it had a Royal storyline (the daughter is a stylist for a Kate Middleton type Duchess) and was diverse (all of the main characters are Black) – and a fun trip to London too! A nice book if you’ve had your fill of the usual 20-somethings falling in love.
A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire: From the author of Wicked (that inspired the award-winning musical), this book is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Wild Swan’ fairytale – and takes place in New York City at Christmastime in the 1960s. I really liked reading this last year.
The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss: This was one of my favorites that I read a couple of years ago. The main character is reluctantly seeking love after focusing on a career that she loves and balancing relationships with her family and friends. She felt really well-rounded and realistic. Spoiler – love ensues.