Remember Books? Here’s A Pile Of Worthy Holiday Reads
STORY: Annette Tan
14 December 2022
You know that blissful interlude between Christmas and New Year? That short week where nothing much happens save for a few holiday parties? Those dreamy workdays when almost everyone else is away so you can get away with doing as little as possible? That is exactly the time to immerse yourself in the charms of a great book.
The digital age has stolen our attention spans such that we seem to have lost the ability to enjoy traditional media – remember TV shows and newspapers? But what we’ve learnt over the years is that all you need to get back into the reading game is a really good book. One whose storytelling is so quickly captivating that you find you can’t put it down after the first five pages.
In that spirit, the following are a handful of books we read this year and highly recommend for easy, riveting reading over the holidays.
“Where The Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
One of the best-selling non-fiction books in recent years, “Where The Crawdads Sing” was made into a motion picture this year starring Daisy Edgar Jones and produced by Reese Witherspoon. If you’ve seen the movie and loved it, wait till you read the book.
Set in the 1950s and 60s, “Where The Crawdads Sing” is the absorbing tale of an isolated girl’s coming-of-age in the deep wilderness of a North Carolina marsh, where every odd was against her from the moment her mother abandoned her family to escape her abusive husband.
When it was published in 2018, the book defied all the trends of flagging book sales, staying at the top rung of The New York Times’ fiction best-seller list for a whopping 67 weeks.
“When We Cease To Understand The World” by Benjamin Labatut
The storied lives of scientists and mathematicians seldom reach mainstream readers. For the majority of us, the quotidian details of the lives of cultural icons seem far more appealing than that of someone whose work unfolds in cerebral silence as they scribble incomprehensive formulas on a board. Which is why what Benjamin Labatut has done with “When We Cease to Understand The World” is nothing short of phenomenal.
Originally written in Spanish, this “work of fiction based on real events” presents a roll call of tortured scientists, whose process of discoveries he magnifies in remarkable detail – from the ecstasy of their scientific discoveries and the toll they extract.
Even if science or math are subjects that are of no interest to you, especially during the holiday season, give this book a gander and you’ll be rewarded by how astonishingly absorbing and transportive it is. You’ll also emerge from the experience with more knowledge about the scientifical world and the danger that even the most beautiful invented materials can pose.
“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover
A TikTok sensation (rare for an author), Colleen Hoover and her work cannot be categorised. She’s written romance novels, psychological thrillers, ghost stories and riveting tales about drug abuse, homelessness, and in the case of “It Ends With Us”, a romantic novel that highlights domestic violence.
The story is relatable: Girl meets unbelievably handsome, successful boy. They fall in love despite life’s little challenges, get married, and become pregnant. But when she runs into her first love, things take a dangerous turn. There are amazing plot twists, heart-wrenching scenes and manipulative conversations that make you want to root for every character in the book. Yet the story eventually tears your heart apart for what you know must transpire.
“The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post” by Allison Pataki
The names in this historical novel are familiar: Kelloggs, Post, Kennedy, Rockefeller. But the trailblazer at the centre of it all is a woman who turned her father’s business into the biggest name in food and cereal.
Although she grew up on a modest farm, Marjorie Post’s relentless drive led her to entertaining Hollywood’s brightest stars, outrunning Nazis in London, trawling through warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures and providing counsel to politicians. Hers was an epic life centred around a business she grew against all odds, practically unthinkable for a woman in the early 20th century.
A riveting read that will inspire and embody what it takes to be a real life, everyday hero.
“The Perfect Couple” by Elin Hilderbrand
Hilderbrand has made an art of the beach read set in Nantucket, no less. Even if you’ve never visited the posh holiday island off Cape Cod in the USA, Hilderbrand’s tales will soon familiarise you with some of its best-loved landmarks.
In “The Perfect Couple”, it is wedding season in Nantucket and the Otis-Winbury union is set to be the party of the season. But tragedy strikes and the event is memorable in ways no one could have expected. As police chief Ed Kapenash digs into the investigation, he discovers that no couple on the island is perfect and that romances are often shady business.
Lots of twists, turns and secret romances that you won’t see coming. Grab a deck chair and hop along for the ride.
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