I’ve been reading and listening to festive books since the beginning of November. Some may say I’m rushing the season, but how am I supposed to squeeze in all of the holiday fun if I wait until December 1? Here are some of the books I’ve completed this season that may give you last minute ways to incorporate a little more cheer this holiday season!
The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn
The first thing you need to know is that this is a completely fictionalized story based on factual elements of Santa’s origins. Based on some reviews I read, I think readers may have thought this was a biography of the actual St. Nicholas and progression of the Santa Claus character over time. This story is told by Santa to the author, Jeff Guinn, and contains many familiar historic events and legendary characters up until more modern times. It began a little slow and overly descriptive, but the pace began to pick up as Santa began to travel more and meet “helpers” which you will probably remember from history. I’m a fan of magic, alternative history, and Christmas, so this ended up being much better than initially thought a few chapters into listening! I do think this was better as an audiobook than written, but I’m also a big fan of audiobooks.
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Have you seen Christmas with the Kranks? The movie was based on the book Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, of all authors. It doesn’t have the best scores on movie rating sites, but I personally enjoyed Christmas with the Kranks enough to check out the source material once I found out it was based on a book. Skipping Christmas was as funny as the movie. It’s a lighthearted, easy read that I was able to get through within a few nights. What impressed me the most was that overall, most of this book held up well given the fact that it was written almost 20 years ago. Often books like this have outdated cultural references, but Grisham did a pretty good job avoiding that. There are some terms that aren’t necessarily in wide use today, but not enough for me to realize that this book was as old as it is. Definitely a good, quick read.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective for years. So when I realized I hadn’t read this Christmas story, I just had to check it out. Like all of Christie’s books, it paints a detailed picture of the setting and characters during what is supposed to be a traditional English Christmas. Millionaire Simeon Lee invites his entire family to his estate for Christmas. This family has a lot of internal conflicts, many of which involve Simeon himself, so these invitations are surprising. Like most stories featuring Poirot, murder, romance, and surprise are major parts of this Christmas tale. I can’t say too much without ruining the book, but I was definitely surprised by the ending and recommend it to any mystery fan!
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie
Another Hercule Poirot holiday classic! This is technically a short story, but is also a stand-alone book. It’s just enough to satisfy the need for a little holiday mystery, but can be read in one sitting if you are a little short on time. Poirot is begrudgingly spending Christmas in the cold English countryside attempting to secretly solve a mystery for a prince at Christmas time. Without spoiling it, just know that the Christmas pudding does have an important role in this story and isn’t just part of the title!
These are just a few of the titles we have in our collection to provide you with a little more joy this time of year, or really anytime! There are many, many books in the holiday genre that I haven’t had time to read yet. Do you have a favorite book you’ve read that is set during the holiday season? I would love to know for next year. Until then, happy reading this holiday season!
Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison for Boone County Public Library.