“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home “ Edith Sitwell
Indeed, it is. When winter comes around, especially during December, most of us crave the comforts of our warm and toasty homes. And one of the most popular activities to do during these darker months is to read a book, either by the fire, next to a beautifully decorated, lit-up Christmas tree, or buried beneath cosy blankets on the couch!
Stannah has put together a list of (mostly) classics for you to get inspired by this December. We couldn’t help ourselves and also made a small list of Christmas books! If you have grandchildren, nothing beats a good book to read together, especially when you serve it with hot cocoa and some butter cookies. That’s a precious memory in the making.
Sit back, turn the heat up a bit and let yourself be inspired.
Reading by the fire, these will get you through those dark winter months!
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen; nothing will brighten your day more than a good laugh! The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen will give you exactly that. The book is written as a diary by Hendrik, an 83 ¼ year old man who lives in a nursing home. His stories about the daily lives of the people around him are filled with hilarious passages, heart-warming stories and just a touch of drama. This book was such a big success when it came out in 2016 that it has been adapted into a play and a TV series. We at Stannah enjoyed this story so much, that we’ve dedicated an entire article to it; give the book a read and keep an eye out for our review!
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; when this classic first came out in 1890, it was considered an indecent book. So much so that the editor actually deleted about 500 words before publishing it. This masterpiece by Oscar Wilde is nevertheless an amazing piece of literature, worthy of its title as a classic. The story is about one beautiful, innocent young man’s seduction, moral corruption and downfall. The mysterious painting is what makes this book the perfect read for a dark winter night.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one”.
George R.R Martin
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; This is most definitely a classic. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should take care of that this winter! First published in 1813, it hasn’t lost its touch and still keeps readers glued to its pages. The reader accompanies the protagonist Elizabeth Bennet on her journey as she discovers the error of making hasty judgements and comes to appreciate the difference between the superficial and the essential. This masterpiece, written by literary queen Jane Austen, filled with scenes of Britain in the 18th Century, will keep you warm and fascinated on a sunny but cold winter afternoon.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; the first book in a series written by Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This mysterious book, set in post-Spanish Civil War Barcelona, will take you to a place full of shadows, forgotten books, old stories and dark intrigues. The protagonist, Daniel Sempere, will make you fall in love not only with him, but also with his father and their little book shop. This best seller, which was first published in 2001, will make you want to sit down and not get up until you’ve read it all. It’s the perfect book for a rainy or snowy afternoon. Plus, you’ll know what to give your friends and family next Christmas: a copy of this amazing book!
The 100-year-old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson; This adventure of a book came out in 2009, published in its country of origin, Sweden. Its protagonist is a 100-year-old man called Allan Karlsson, and just like The Secret Diary of Henrik Groen, he’s not a very likely hero for any story. It is an amazing story with fantasy intertwined with reality – a must-read for anyone who wants to travel the world from the comfort of their own living room!
Christmas books by the fire, the cherry on top of your Christmas!
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; how could we leave this classic out? It has to be included on any Christmas book list! This masterpiece, written by master author Charles Dickens, has been adapted innumerous times since it was first published in 1845. The story of how Ebenezer Scrooge finds the Christmas spirit by traveling with the ghosts of Christmas pasts is immortal and will probably outlive us all. Put on your favourite Holiday song and let Charles Dickens take you back in time.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie; first published in 1938, it still has all the ingredients one looks for in a good murder mystery. Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie combines the graceful investigation skills of famous detective Hercule Poirot with a special touch of Christmas spirit. This locked room mystery has all the ingredients for a thrilling afternoon of reading by the Christmas tree.
Books are a uniquely portable magic Stephen King
The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien; how incredible would it be if your father was none-other than the creator of Middle Earth? This book was published 3 years after Tolkien’s death, it is a collection of letters written and illustrated for his children from Father Christmas. In these letters Father Christmas tells the children stories about his own life and about his elvish secretary. It’s a treat to read and a perfect option for both adults and children. If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you can’t miss this one!
Cosy books to read to your (grand)kids.
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. – Emilie Buchwald. Or on the laps of their grandparents. Think about your own childhood, did your parents or grandparents read to you? Can you still remember some of those books? There’s a good chance that if they did, you still enjoy reading a lot. And what a precious gift they gave you! Here are some books to inspire you to either continue the tradition or start a new one:
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs; This wonderful picture book was first published in 1978 and is probably best known as the animated movie it was made into in 1982. It is a magical story about a young boy whose snowman comes to life at night and with whom he has a winteresque adventure. Read the book together and then watch the short film, the enchanting music and song “Walking in the Air” will delight any child or adult and bring you right into the Christmas spirit!
A Little House Christmas: Holiday Stories from the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Little House on the Prairie, the famous TV series from the 70s and 80s, is known around the world. But Wilder’s books are just as enchanting (if not more)! This book is a collection of 5 Christmas themed stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Read one story per night to your little ones and relive Christmas on the American frontier!
The Bear by Raymond Briggs; The same author as the Snowman. Even though this is not a Christmas book but more of a Winter book, it is great reading material for the month of December! The adorable friendship between a little girl and a great white polar bear will take its readers along on a journey filled with fantasies and beautiful illustrations. Just be careful your little one doesn’t ask for a polar bear next Christmas!
Be sure you’ve got a hot beverage next to you, something with cinnamon and spices, to keep the winter spirit alive and present. Treat yourself and your loved ones to some cookies and let the magic of books enchant your winter!