The holiday season is just around the corner! If you’re still looking for books to gift to family and friends or add to your own holiday reading list, make sure to check out these amazing stories. From comedy and nonfiction to sci-fi, here’s a must-read list of books for every type of reader.
Comedy/ Crime: Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
The day before New Year’s Eve, a desperate robber aims to rob a bank in a small Swedish town. The only problem: it’s a cashless bank. When the police are closing in, the culprit flees into a nearby apartment building and ends up turning an ordinary apartment viewing into an extraordinary hostage situation.
If you’re expecting a classic hostage mystery drama, I got to disappoint you. Because in this novel, nothing is what it seems. Not the hostage situation, not the bank robber, not the policemen and certainly not the eight hostages. I don’t think I can put into words how much I loved this novel! Anxious People starts out as a rather humorous story but gradually gets more complex. I found myself laughing one minute and heartbroken the next. I could list so many reasons why it’s an amazing story, but I don’t want to spoil anything for that would ruin the fun of discovery. Let’s just say that this has been a No. 1 NYT bestseller for a reason.
Non-Fiction: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
The Anthropocene (loosely translated as the “Age of Man”) is the proposed geologic age in which humans have profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. In his latest work of non-fiction, John Green reviews different facets of the human-centred planet on a star rating between 1 and 5–from big philosophical questions like humanity’s temporal range to pop-culture phenomena like Penguins of Madagascar.
John Green is best known as an author of YA fiction, but with this book, he proves that he can do non-fiction just as well. Although the title sounds rather intimidating on a first look, all of the essays are very engaging, educational, and easy to understand. This collection of essays will make you think about what it means to be human in a world where we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough. I urge everyone to read this book!
Sci-Fi: The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson
The Stone Gods is comprised of three different but interlinking stories: Planet Blue, Easter Island and Post-3 War/ Wreck City. All three stories are set at different times, places and even planets, but all share the same thematic concerns: humanity’s penchant for destroying the planet.
The Stone Gods is typically Winterson, that is: confusing, weird (in a good sense!) and really cleverly composed. It’s definitely not an easy read and I had to re-read some passages to understand what’s going on, but in the end, it all makes sense. It covers some really important topics, above all humanity’s destruction of the environment, with insight, profundity and dark humour. The Stone Gods is science-fiction at its best. I’m sure readers of the genre will truly enjoy this story.
Historical Fiction: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad follows the story of Cora, an enslaved girl who conspires with her friend Caesar to escape from the Georgia plantation where she was born. Their trip North is difficult and risky, not least because a brutal slave catcher called Ridgeway is hard on their heels.
What makes Whitehead’s novel unique is that he takes the metaphor of the Underground Railroad (a hidden network of abolitionists and activists aiding runaway slaves) and turns it into a literal train that transports fugitives northwards. It’s an inventive and gripping story with many twists and turns. Though I wasn’t a fan of the choice of narrator as it made the story feel a bit cold and distant at times, there’s no denying that this is an extremely important novel which I’d recommend to everyone.
Now get yourself a hot cup of tea, turn on the Christmas lights and sink your teeth into these amazing stories! The next books on my TBR are The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, which I’m already excited to finally dive into.
Wishing everyone happy holidays!
What books are you planning to read during the holiday seasons? And what books do you recommend? Let me know in the comment section below!