Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Hello! I cannot believe it is December already, the last few months have just flown by and I haven’t had as much reading time as I would like recently but I plan to rectify that over the Christmas holidays! So today I’m going to recommend ten books I think are perfect reads for this time of year!
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A heart-warming tale of love, sisterhood and hardship during the New England Civil War, Little Women tells the story of the lovable March family. Meg, Beth, Jo and Amy try to support their mother at home while their father is away at war and enter into various scrapes and adventures as they do so. Alcott beautifully interweaves bad times and good as her characters struggle with the trials and tribulations of growing up and their relationships with one another.
I always enjoy reading Little Women around Christmastime, it just has that heartwarming vibe to it and because it is largely about family and how important those relationships are it seems to me the perfect Christmas read. Plus there is a new film adaptation being released on Boxing Day so perfect timing.
2. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
An isolated, windswept land haunted by witch trials and steeped in the ancient sagas . . .
Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.
But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not speak of it.
The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?
Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming.
She fears she will be its next victim . . .
This was on of my favourite 2019 reads. The atmosphere and the incredible historical Icelandic setting make it a great winter read. It would be perfect for a freezing icy day when you can get cosy and read it with a blanket and tea! You can read my review here.
3. Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman
In this beautiful book of classic fairy tales, award-winning author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and presents them in a’clear as water’ retelling, in his unique and brilliant voice.
From the quests and romance of classics such as ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’ to the danger and wit of such lesser-known tales as ‘The Three Snake Leaves’, ‘Hans-my-Hedgehog’ and ‘Godfather Death’, Pullman brings the heart of each timeless tale to the fore, following with a brief but fascinating commentary on the story’s background and history. In his introduction, he discusses how these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination.
I think Christmas is one of the best times of year for fairytales and the most famous have to be the Grimm ones! This book is fantastic because not only does it have the original tales but Philip Pullman also explains a bit about the tales themselves and puts them in context beautifully.
4. The Silver Road by Stina Jackson
Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.
Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.
As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.
This is another crime book I absolutely loved this year and if you’re looking for a dark and fascinating story to sink your teeth into this Christmas then I highly recommend this translated novel. It has a really great sense of foreboding and chilliness to it that make it something pretty special in my opinion. You can read my review here.
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the “roaring twenties”, and a devastating expose of the “Jazz Age”.
Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.
I’m not sure why but I always kind of associate The Great Gatsby with Christmas – it may be all the fabulous parties it includes! I think it is one of the classics that is easiest to read especially if you’re not a classics fan as it is short and sharp and pretty addictive.
6. Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness
Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.
The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.
Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma – yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
I’m listening to the audiobook of this one at the moment and I just love it. I am obsessed with Queer Eye and absolutely love all of the Fab Five but Jonathan Van Ness never fails to make me smile. It’s a really interesting look at his youth and his struggles in the past which are sometimes difficult to mesh with his relentless positivity and fabulousness. I love him and I would especially recommend the audiobook as he narrates it himself.
7. The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie.
But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.
Christmas is a time that I really enjoy reading books that make my heart burst and The Boy Who Steals Houses totally did. It’s an unusual and original story with great characters you will become so attached to. You can read my review here.
8. Little by Edward Carey
Born in Alsace in 1761, the unsightly, diminutive Marie Grosholtz is quickly nicknamed ‘Little’. Orphaned at the age of six, she finds employmet in Bern, Switzerland, under the charge of reclusive anatomist, Dr Curtius. In time the unlikely pair form an unlikely bond, and together they pursue an unusual passion: the fine art of wax-modelling.
Forced to flee their city, the doctor and his protégée head for the seamy streets of Paris where they open an exhibition hall for their uncanny creations. Though revolution approaches, the curious-minded flock to see the wax heads, eager to scrutinise the faces of royalty and reprobates alike. At ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Curtius’, heads are made, heads are displayed, and a future is built from wax.
I adored reading this incredible quirky book about the woman who founded Madame Tussauds. It is odd, beautifully written and illustrated and like nothing I’ve ever read before. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something a bit different. You can read my review here.
9. One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.
He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.
One Of Us Is Lying is such a fun and easy read and sometimes that is just what you want during the holidays. It’s fast moving and so enjoyable and I loved the kind of Breakfast Club feel to it paired with the new technology that has made secrets a valuable commodity.
10. Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth
‘There’s no ceremony for friendship, is there? If you go ahead with this wedding then you realise that what you’re actually saying is that your friendship with me is not meaningful and durable. That,’ she sipped her wine victoriously, ‘is the logical conclusion.’
‘Believe me, if I could marry you too, Tyler, I would.’
Laura and Tyler are best friends and drinking buddies. But things are set to change. Can their friendship survive? Or will growing up mean growing apart?
I am not entirely sure why this book popped into my head whilst making this list but it did so I’m going with it! It is a very honest, unsentimental look at a friendship between two young women and I loved that that was the central relationship in the book. It is funny, sad and original and would make for an interesting Christmastime read.
Well there you go! Ten recommendations for this lovely time of year! I would love to know what you think of my choices and I can’t wait to read all of your amazing lists so feel free to leave a link to your list in the comments!