Holiday reads bring joy to season

In celebration of the holiday season, check out this selection of holiday reads. Ranging from nonfiction to mysteries and light-hearted romance, there is sure to be something that will appeal anyone left on your Christmas list.

In Stephen Nissenbaum’s Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday,” the transformation of the beloved celebration is chronicled – from an outlawed, drunken occasion to riot in Puritan New England, through the 19th century, to the charm of today.

Another great read for examining the traditions associated with the holiday is “New York Times” bestselling author Judith Flanders’ “Christmas: A Biography.” It examines the myths, legends and history moving from the Roman empire to modern celebrations.

“Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce” by Stanley Weintraub uses the stories of men who were there to show the extraordinary moment as it occurred. Defying orders to continue fighting, opposing soldiers formed an unofficial truce across the frontlines of World War I to share carols, food and games. “God Rest Ye Merry, Soldiers: A True Civil War Christmas Story” by James McIvor also uses primary documents to recount the moment in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where opposing forces came together through music.

Romance fans have great selections to choose from for a heartfelt holiday read. In “New York Times” Jenny Colgan’s “The Christmas Bookshop,” down-on-her-luck Carmen is set to spend Christmas with her perfect sister, which leads her to accept a job in an ancient, but charming, bookshop. When a famous author takes an interest in the bookshop – and in Carmen – will it be the boost she needs to get her life in order? Be sure to check out Colgan’s other beloved holiday titles, as well.

If a little mystery sounds like the perfect way to spend some time in front of the fireplace, check out “Murder at an Irish Christmas: An Irish Village Mystery” by Carlene O’Connor. Garda Siobhan O’Sullivan’s holiday plans get upended when her brother’s soon-to-be father-in-law is murdered. Additional cozy mysteries for the season include Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mysteries and the beloved Goldy Schulz Mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson.

Trish Harnetiaux’s “White Elephant” puts a sinister spin on the classic Christmas party game. Employees of the swanky real estate firm owned by Henry and Claudine Calhoun go all out in their quest to have the most coveted White Elephant gift – which makes the tacky statue that shows up a surprise. Doubly surprising is that Henry and Claudine recognize it as the weapon Henry used to commit a murder. As a snowstorm keeps everyone trapped at the party and law enforcement away, Henry and Claudine race to discover who is responsible for the statue’s reappearance.

Contributor Lori Skinner is head librarian for Northwest-Shoals Community College. For more information, she can be contacted at 256-331-6288 or lori.skinner@nwscc.edu. NW-SCC Libraries are open to the public and look forward to serving your library needs.  Check out library holdings on the Librista app, available for Android and Apple devices.

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