Holiday Reads

The holiday season is here! As a librarian I’m frequently asked to recommend holiday reads. I get asked a lot by members of book clubs looking for seasonal titles to suggest to their groups. I also get inquiries from people who are looking for something festive to read whether it is something light, something informative or something funny. Hopefully this list includes something for everyone. These are all titles I personally have enjoyed as well as titles my library’s book club has enjoyed. I’m sure I left off some great holiday reads so be sure and leave a comment with some of your favorite reads.

A Redbird Christmas

By: Fannie Flagg 

 A sweet and uplifting story set in Lost River, an almost mythical town not found on any map, whose charming residents include a redbird named Jack. This light seasonal read contains love, redemption and even a little bit of magic.
A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness – and a Trove of Letters – Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression 
By: Ted Gup

This isn’t necessarily a Christmas book but it is the perfect book to read during the holiday season. This is a great recommendation for a December book club meeting or for anyone who just wants to read a smart and thought provoking book that highlights the good in people. This non-fiction work chronicles the author’s quest to discover the meaning behind some letters and family documents he has discovered. As Gup begins to read the letters and trace their meanings he finds first-hand information about the numerous families struggling to get by during the Great Depression but he also learns about his own family history.

The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits
By: Les Standiford

We all know Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, but this book explains the story behind the beloved story. Les Standiford takes the reader on a historical journey which takes us from the first printing of a Christmas card to the length’s Dickens had to go through to publish A Christmas Carol. Not only will this book enlighten the reader about the history of Christmas but it will also unveil a lot about Charles Dickens. Try reading this book and A Christmas Carol in tandem!

The Gift of the Magi
By: O. Henry
This is my all-time favorite Christmas story. The Gift of the Magi is a short story which can be found in many of O. Henry’s short story collections or as a stand-alone text. This is the story of a silly young couple who are willing to sacrifice their greatest treasure for the one they love. This ironic and yet sentimental story is a great book to read aloud. This story is short enough to enjoy in one sitting and those who haven’t yet read this great story are in for a treat! 

A Christmas Memory
By: Truman Capote

This largely autobiographical short story features the main character “Buddy” and his unnamed eccentric friend. Wrapped up in a special world all their own, the two bake and deliver fruitcakes and create their own version of the perfect Christmas. The book is written in a way to inspire nostalgia for a less commercial Christmas. The book has a twinge of sadness as the reader is led to believe this will be Buddy and his friend’s last Christmas together. All these components come together in a way that creates a classic holiday tale that readers will want to read again and again.

Holidays on Ice

By: David Sedaris

Fans of David Sedaris will appreciate this holiday themed collection of short stories. Witty and funny and totally different from the typical Christmas stories this is book is a refreshing take on the seasonal read.


The Idiot Girl’s Christmas
By: Laurie Notaro

I’ve been a fan of Laurie Notaro for a long time. Ever since her first book The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club, I have looked forward to Notaro’s humor and delightful cynicism. This holiday themed book is just as funny and ridiculous as her other books and fans of the author will be sure to enjoy this book. Even if you haven’t read any of Notaro’s other books you might enjoy her unique take on the joy, stress, and discomfort brought on by the holidays.

A Christmas Carol
By: Charles Dickens

This classic story has inspired numerous screen, stage and print performances. This story which takes place mostly on Christmas Eve chronicles Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation. Nearly everyone has seen this story in one form or another, but it is always fun to read the original.


Little Women
By: Louisa May Alcott

Not necessarily a Christmas story but this beloved novel is one I’ve seen on numerous book club Christmas reading lists. Perhaps the themes of love and family present in the book, along with some Christmas scenes, lend to this book being appreciated during the holidays.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
By: Dr. Seuss

This is a children’s book; however, I think this tale is one that can be appreciated by everyone from the very young to the very old. This classic Christmas book takes place in Who-ville and tells the story of the mean and nasty Grinch who hates Christmas and is determined to ruin Christmas for everyone. This book is perfect to read-aloud and the film version will be appreciated as well. 

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