December 2020 looks very different this year at the Sweeney-Barclay household. We’re not foraging for the ceiling-scraping Christmas tree and adorning it with vintage ornaments, not hosting our annual holiday party for our wonderful set of friends, not having our annual book club get together or attending our yacht club’s Commodore’s Ball, and not traveling to see children and grandchildren for a weekend of puzzles and games and football and food and fun.
What we are doing is sitting and reading in front of the fireplace, drinking eggnog, and catching up with loved ones near and far via cards and letters and emails and Zoom. If we all do this right, next year will look different. Plus, we’ll get a lot of reading in.
In Iceland (if you’ve never been, put it on your travel list), there is a Christmas Eve ritual called Jolabokaflod, translated as “Christmas Book Flood.” The custom is to gift books to family and friends to pass the long winter’s night before Christmas morning.
In that tradition, and with your help, here’s a list of 40 books for your holiday wish lists. They are listed in no specific order. The winner of this month’s giveaway is Michele Waite, who requested Camille DeMaio’s Before the Rain Falls. Congratulations, Michele!
- Before the Rain Falls, Camille DeMaio
- Across the Winding River, Aimee K. Runyan
- The Star Crossed Sisters of Tuscany, Lori Nelson Spielman
- This Scorched Earth, William Gear
- The Glovemaker, Ann Weisgarber
- Professor Renoir’s Collection of Oddities, Curiosities, and Delights, Randall Platt
- The Red Dirt Hymnbook, Roxie Faulkner Kirk
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, VE Schwab
- Caste, Isabel Wilkerson
- Migrations, Charlotte McConaghy
- Afterlife, Julia Alverez
- Recollections of My Nonexistence, Rebecca Solnit
- Shout, Laurie Halse Anderson
- Dear America, Jose Antonio Vargas
- A Simple Story, Leila Guerriero Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald
- There, There, Tommy Orange
- Children of the Land, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s
- The Last Blue, Isla Morley
- The Book of Longings, Sue Monk Kidd
- Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell
- Late Migrations, Margaret Renkl
- Undocumented Immigrants, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
- The Mountains Sing, Nguyen Phan Que Mai
- The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri
- The Overstory, Richard Powers
- The Book of Joy, Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
- The White Devil’s Daughters, Julia Flynn Siler
- Song of a Captive Bird, Jasmin Darznik
- Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras
- Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
- History of the Rain, Niall Williams
- Last Train to London, Meg Waite Clayton
- The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
- Fast Girls, Elise Hooper
- The Huntress, Kate Quinn
- American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins
- The Dovekeepers, Alice Hoffman
- Between Sisters, Kristin Hannah
- Where the Forest Meets the Stars, Glendy Vanderah
- Ordinary Grace, William Kent Krueger
I’ll catch you up next month on my publishing journey, research tidbits, and five-star reads. By then, we will be on our way to the desert southwest for the wintertime. In the meantime, you can picture us warm and cozy here in La Conner . . . and reading.
Cheers to all of you, and, until next time, Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!