Volume X: Not-So-Holiday Holiday Reading List
Christmas has just passed but a lot of us are still feeling the holiday spirit!
Tis the season for curling up near the Christmas tree with a fuzzy blanket, a warm cup of tsokolate, and a captivating read! So on today’s volume of Topiary’s Reading Club, we bring to you a holiday reading list with a unique twist. Rather than recommending novels that are centered on the holidays, we’ve curated a list of novels that are not about Christmas at all, but that capture the values, the feelings and the essence of this time so that you can read these books and carry a little bit of Christmas with you all year round...
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Many of us have read or watched Harry Potter when we were younger, falling in love with its rich and imaginative world, intricate and action-packed plot, and endearing characters. These novels elicit an acute sense of nostalgia in us, transporting us to our childhoods much like how the holidays, at its core, always seem to hold a bit of nostalgia, a bit of that childlike wonder. The Christmas break presents the perfect opportunity to binge read or re-read the series, and embark on the thrilling adventure with Harry, Hermione and Ron.
The first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, opens with a miserable, orphaned, 10-year-old Harry Potter living with his cruel relatives in a cramped closet beneath the stairs. But everything changes when he gets sent an unexpected letter stating that he is a wizard, and when, on his 11th birthday, he’s whisked away by a strange visitor to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry meets friends and foes, learns how to navigate school and the Wizarding world, and discovers that he is not just any wizard, he is The Boy Who Lived—the only person to ever survive the killing curse of evil Lord Voldemort, one of the most powerful wizards of all time—and that he is possibly the only one who could defeat this Dark Lord and save their world. This enthralling first installment lays the foundation for the beloved and staple seven-book fantasy series that took the world by storm.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
With all the romantic or fantastical movies, books and stories about Christmas, with all the snow, decor and lights, gifts, traditions, festivities and myths surrounding this holiday, the season is undeniably riddled with an air of whimsy and magic, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is the epitome of whimsical and magical.
Le Cirque des Rêves, or the Circus of Dreams, arrives at night with no announcement. It simply appears in all its black-and-white striped glory, showcasing extraordinary acts and attractions like The Labyrinth, The Menagerie and The Scented Jars, The Ice Garden, The Star Gazer, and The Cloud Maze, The Fortune Teller, The Contortionist and The Illusionist that all dazzle children and adults alike. But the circus is more than just a circus full of amazements—it is the venue for a competition between two talented magicians, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, who have been training for the contest since childhood by their respective instructors. But when Celia and Marco are drawn towards each other and fall in love despite their supposed rivalry, things get complicated. The Night Circus is tailor made for the kind of reader that adores beautiful writing. The novel is adorned with delicious prose that you’ll want to sink your teeth into—tasting all of the lush descriptions and reveling in the magic of every word. The circus truly is a feat, a wonder to behold, bewitching readers equally as much as it bewitched all the patrons and circus goers.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Getting together and spending quality time with family is one of the most important parts of the holiday season. Being surrounded with all our loved ones in celebration and witnessing the sheer beauty of human relationships fills us with light, warmth, comfort and joy. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a story brimming with that delightful feeling of family and warmth that’s so characteristic of Christmastime.
The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus Baker, a 40-year-old case worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. After 17 years of working in the department, checking the quality of government-sanctioned orphanages, and staying low-key all the while, he is suddenly given a highly classified task to travel to the Marsyas Island Orphanage that is home to six dangerous, powerful and extremely magical children: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, a green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. There he must investigate the children and their caretaker, Arhtuer Parnassus. However, unexpectedly, it is there—in the remote island, amongst this special and diverse group of people—that he finds an unlikely family. Charming, quirky, intelligent and tender, this masterfully crafted story is one bursting with love and color, one that is sure to touch the hearts and souls of its readers
We hope this list gave you a few ideas on what to read this holiday. So pick up that fuzzy blanket, that cup of tsokolate and that captivating read full of the nostalgia, magic and warmth reminiscent of everyone’s favorite time.