Whether you will spend your Christmas holidays alone or within your restricted household, this year’s celebrations are not as festive as they used to be. No wonder you feel depressed and fed up already. But don’t panic, I have got the solution!
Here is a list of 20 books that will keep you busy while you wait for this hideous year to finally come to an end.
If you read, are reading, or will read any of these books, let me know in the comments down below!
I wish you a safe holiday season and (hopefully) a happy New Year.
See you in 2021!
1. Call Me by Your Name – André Aciman
He was a boy
[He was a boy]
Can I make it any more obvious?
[He was a teen]
[He did research]
What more can I say?
He wanted him
[He]’d never tell
Secretly [he] wanted him as well
You will close the book in tears, but boy if that’s worth it. Once you are done, watch the movie to continue the dream.
This book in one word: Dreamy
2. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The book tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who immigrates to the US to attend university. Struggles follow, but you get a happy ending eventually.
This book in one word: Entertaining
3. Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
Set in 17th-century Holland, the novel is inspired by Johannes Vermeer’s famous yet mysterious painting. You will walk the canal-lined streets and smell the strong scents of old Holland while holding your breath as the story unfolds.
This book in one word: Captivating
Genre: Historical Novel
4. How to Fail – Elizabeth Day
Day’s chapters go like “How to Fail at Test”; “How to Fail at Friendship”; “How to Fail at Being Gwyneth Paltrow”; etc. The whole point being: we all fail, failed, and will fail at multiple things. And that’s OK.
This book in one word: Empowering
5. Bel-Ami – Guy De Maupassant
Set in late 1880s Parisian upper-middle-class environment, a young, charming man manipulates women – and anyone else to be fair – to climb his way up. You hate him but can’t help keep reading.
This book in one word: (very) French
6. The Circle – Dave Eggers
The book tells the story of a recent college graduate as she joins The Circle, a powerful tech company which is developing sophisticated technologies to “improve” humans’ lives. But where does the limit lie?
This book in one word: Unsettling
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian Novel
7. Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig
“The trouble is our lives are also cluttered. The challenge is to find who we are amid the crowd of ourselves.” Do yourself a favour, read it.
This book in one word: Cosy
8. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
The book is the complete and only authorised biography of Steve Jobs. Apple’s founder himself commissioned the work to the author when he was terminally ill due to cancer.
This book in one word: Intense
9. The Minds of Billy Milligan – Daniel Keyes
The book follows the story of Billy Milligan – and the 24 personalities living inside him. You will doubt yourself after reading it.
This book in one word: Mesmerising
10. Nicholas and Alexandra – Robert K. Massie
The book is an accurate and gripping account of falling imperial Russia and its last sovereigns – Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. Forget about thick Russian classics and the decadent style of Russian authors. Go get this book. Now.
This book in one word: WOW.
11. Notes to Self: Essays – Emilie Pine
A collection of essays about common but often unspeakable topics, such as alcoholism, miscarriage and abuse. The author remembers multiple experiences of her own life with no filters. Get ready to feel it a lot.
This book in one word: Candid
12. Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama
The book covers President Obama’s early years until he entered law school in 1988. If you can’t get enough of this exceptional character once you are done with this book, the sequel – “A Promised Land” – is now out.
This book in one word: Inspirational
13. Becoming – Michelle Obama
Mrs Obama’s recount of her life before, during, and after her time in the White House.
This book in one word: Read (it)
14. Permanent Record – Edward Snowden
The author uncovers one of the biggest governmental scandals ever and leads the reader through a deep and tangled net of secrecy and silence – in plain English.
This book in one word: Mind-blowing
15. Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
South African comedian Trevor Noah recalls his coming-of-age in South Africa under apartheid. If your knowledge of themes such as segregation and racial classification is dire, this is an excellent way to catch up.
This book in one word: Enlightening
16. Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk
A sudden car accident leaves a beautiful catwalk model disfigured. You need to read halfway through the book to understand what is going on and who is who. But even then, you can’t be sure…
This book in one word: WTF
17. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
A convicted Australian bank robber escapes maximum security prison and flees to India. Bombay becomes the background of his second, third, and fourth lives.
This book in one word: Epic
Genre: Novel (influenced by real events in the author’s life)
18. The Stranger Beside Me – Ann Rule
The author recalls her friendship with the American serial killer Ted Bundy. She goes deeper into tracking the roots of his former friend’s personality disorders and unbalanced emotional life. You will dread being home alone at night while reading it.
This book in one word: Frightening
Genre: True Crime/Biography
19. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Set in Mississippi during the early 1960s, the book tells the story of African American maids working in white households – hence the book’s title, The Help. Controversial for some, heartbreaking for others, I recommend you to read it before trusting anyone else’s judgment.
This book in one word: Endurance
Genre: Historical Novel
20. Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel – Tom Wainwright
The book is an investigation of how drug cartels work, who run them, and their spillovers into politics and the formal economy. You don’t need to be an economist to read it; being curious is enough.
This book in one word: Addictive