Festive Reading List

Because we’ll be travelling from the beginning of December everything that would normally happen in December is happening in November – as well as the stuff that normally happens in November. In a way, it feels as though the festive season has moved forward for us and November has sort of almost become December. Sort of.

The Christmas shopping is finished but needs to be wrapped and sorted – for Sydney, to take to England, to leave under the tree for our house-sitters. Speaking of which, the Christmas tree will be going up this Sunday – a week earlier than it usually does. Even though we’ll be away we want the house to feel like Christmas for our guests.

Our calendar has been full of “catch-ups before Christmas” since the beginning of November – and all the way through until we leave. As this post goes live, I’ll be flying to Sydney for the office Christmas party only to be on the first flight home on Saturday morning for commitments back here on Saturday afternoon.

I’m also well into my festive reading list – not that I have a reading list as such, rather a whole heap of books on my Kindle (and in paperback) in the Christmas category.

What I love about a Christmas novel is that you know there’s going to be a happy ending. It feels like Christmas, tastes like Christmas but has none of the downsides of Christmas – the calories, the angst and the parking woes. Reading a Christmas novel is like a comfort food binge without regret.

Much of the time the Christmas in a Christmas novel is far from perfect. Plans go awry, money is tight, relationships are strained, yet somehow you just know it will all be alright on the night. In the imperfection is all the feeling of the season – and I love that.

So, here’s what’s on my Kindle for this year, but first a warning. If you’re looking for something literary, life-affirming, life-changing, or highbrow, look away now.

That’s not to say that what’s between these pages isn’t life-affirming or life-changing. I’m not sure about you, but I’m finding the chaos, cruelty, and political stupidity that’s in the news at the moment more than a tad overwhelming. A good Christmas novel could, in fact, be just what you need to read right now to lift your spirits and help you deal with the realness of reality.

So far in November, I’ve read:

Second Chance Christmas. This one is by my friend Nicki Edwards. Set in Canada it had me wanting to hop a plane NOW. The perfect start to my festive reading.

A Wedding In December, by Sarah Morgan. I hadn’t read anything by Sarah Morgan up until now and will be reading more.

The Christmas Wishlist, by Heidi Swain* Sweet and nice with a slightly darker underlying sub-plot.

The Christmas Party, by Carole Matthews. This one was a surprise and has had mixed reviews. It was a thumbs up from me. All the action takes place on the day of the office Christmas party and the two days following. I felt the ending left things up in the air, but then it also allowed for a happy for now ending which otherwise we might not have got. #nospoilershere

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights, by Carole Matthews.* I hated the title of this, but the story itself was good.

Christmas at The Cupcake Cafe, by Jenny Colgan.* Predictably good in that I always love a Jenny Colgan. I expected but at the same time didn’t expect the ending.

The ones marked with a * are either part of a series or a sequel to another book by the same author. They do, however, read perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Up next:

  • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Agatha Christie
  • The Christmas Sisters, Sarah Morgan
  • The Perfect Present, Karen Swan
  • Christmas at Tiffany’s, Karen Swan
  • Christmas Under The Stars, Karen Swan
  • One Day In December, Josie Silver
  • The French For Christmas, Fiona Valpy
  • Cupcakes For Christmas, Kate Hewitt
  • The Twelve Dates of Christmas, Lisa Dickenson
  • Vacation, Jane Green
  • Once Upon a Wish-mas, Laura Barnard

And if this hasn’t taken me through to December 25, there are more – although I suspect that, like all sweet tastes, I’ll probably be needing something a little more savoury in between…

If you need more ideas, check out last years reading list post. You’ll find it here.

As for the Christmas novel I started writing? It turned into a non-Christmas novel. Oooops. I’m still determined to write one, but obviously not for 2019!

Is my list missing one of your faves?

Author: Jo

I write, I bake, I chase sunrises.

15 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – I’m impressed with how organized you are in heading into Christmas early. I also love a good Christmas novel for all of the reasons that you have mentioned. One of my all-time favourites is The Christmas Train by David Baldacci.

    1. I haven’t seen this Baldacci one…will keep an eye out. I had to be organised because I had a feeling I’d be needing to hop a flight to Sydney before hand & that’s exactly what’s happened.

  2. Joanne, You are very kind and thoughtful to your house-sitters. I am sure they will appreciate the feel of Christmas. I don’t think about a category of Christmas books. Reading your post, I will reconsider. You have also given me some suggestions. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Our house-sitters are very good friends of ours & are doing us a huge favour by looking after the dog…it’s nice to spread a little Christmas…

  3. I’ve been watching a few Christmas movies on Netflix and last weekend we saw Last Christmas at the movies (they might have it on the plane when you’re on your way to the UK) and next is the Knight Before Christmas that premiers on Netflix tomorrow. A critic wrote that you judge/rate Christmas movies on a different scale to other movies – you expect them to be a schmaltzy, happily ever after, romantic, feel-good etc. Christmas novels would be the same I’m sure. Loved your list and will try to squeeze a couple in before Christmas Day.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

  4. What a great list Jo! I know your feelings about everything feeling like it’s happening much earlier as I too have had to shop, wrap and send things much earlier than usual. Our bags were full of Christmas goodies for my daughter and baby Dottie, actually once they were all out it was amazing how much room I had – maybe I can go shopping before I head home, now there’s a thought! I even had my Christmas photo with Santa and baby Emilia taken before I left. All the best with your travels, it’s much different weather-wise over here – just saying! I also understand your need to read Christmas novels with the news and media full of nastiness and unnecessary angst! #mlstl

  5. Jo you are so organised! But I do understand that you need to be this year. Up until the last few days I’ve been in denial about Christmas. But I have started working on my Christmas book post for my other blog. It’s a book blog. There are some great books on your list. #MLSTL Sharing

  6. Great minds think alike! I loved A Winter Kiss on Rochester Mews – part of the Lonely Hearts Bookshop series. I’m just getting started on this year’s festive reading and am inspired by some of these titles so thank you! Side note, I read the prequel to Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights (The Cake Shop in the Garden) and it was fabulous!

  7. Great selection. “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking”. Getting someone a book for Christmas that is totally different from what they normally read can be a good idea. I would like to add my non-fiction self-help book to your Christmas list – Check it out ! http://www.authorjoannereed.net

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