It’s that time of year again, where we put a pause on our daily lives of making and reading books, to excitedly read some more books. During the holiday season, it’s not just reading. It’s reading. It’s going on vacation to another world. It’s replacing our work stresses with others’ fictional stresses. It’s resetting our palates and gearing up for a new year of new fiction.
So, as we’re sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath, here’s what’s on our Christmas Reading List for 2019:
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
So, first on my list this holiday season is The Hunting Party. I love a themed read so brought this along when I went to Scotland recently. But, instead of reading in front of a blazing fire, I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) in front of a smoking “fire” I couldn’t start. (There is a rule that you have to watch a Harry Potter movie when it’s on TV, right?). Anyhow, now I’m on my way back to “New Scotland”, so I think this reunion turned thriller is still wildly appropriate.
Next on my list will be whatever it is I picked up in the airport. Few things bring me more joy than browsing WHSmith’s BOGO books pre-flight. I’m thinking it’ll be The Starless Sea, because I’m still not done obsessing over Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, or perhaps The Five because I’m all caught up on My Favorite Murder and, despite what Karen thought, not everyone knows everything about Jack the Ripper (or more importantly his victims). It’s going to be a game-time decision. Updates to follow in the new year. (Editor’s Note: at the time of publication, Sam had indeed purchased both The Starless Sea and The Five for her travel-time reading.)
The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst
Then, once I’m back, it’ll be The Sparsholt Affair — another of the moment airport snag that I sadly left behind in Canada ages ago. I can only imagine this will be a heart-wrenching read that will make me snot cry as I did while watching Call Me By Your Name.
Grand Union by Zadie Smith
In 2018, after having a most wonderful time reading White Teeth, I decided that I was going to read every Zadie Smith book in order of when they’d been published. As we approach 2020, I’m happy to announce that I’ve made it all the way through The Autograph Man, i.e. book number 2. So… not very far at all. This is not from any fault of Zadie’s, but rather of the world’s tendency to get in the way of my reading desires. I haven’t given up on my dream yet, but I am going to go on a little detour this Christmas by way of Grand Union. There’s no reading more perfect for the holidays than short stories (read: having a solid excuse to ignore the world in 30-minute increments), so I’m excited to get started.
Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum
None of my reading lists would be complete without a title I picked simply ’cause I thought the cover was cool. Enter Rabbits for Food, which I found chillin’ in the office Giveaway pile, of which I am an unashamed pilferer. I can’t really tell you what it’s about. I have no insightful knowledge about the author. I just know that the tiny alarm in my head that blares ‘must read, must read’ when I come across a pretty book went into a tizzy with this one. Maybe my New Year’s Resolution this year will be to get that under control, but we’ll see how it goes with Rabbits for Food first.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Interestingly, this one came onto my radar when I was working on the marketing for I Wanted You To Know. One of my favourite bits of Amazon is the ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’ section. It’s a fascinating insight into buying patterns, and it’s a great place to get recommendations. For a while, The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer kept popping up on that page, and when I had a call from my mother to say she’d just read it, the deal was sealed. There’s no better way to wash away the scars of a year of unbearable and demoralising politics than with a bit of feminist fiction, eh?
As always, thank you for reading and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with your holiday reading lists! We hope you have a lovely holiday season and a happy new year — see you in 2020.