It’s that time of the year again. You’re left staring at the halloween costume hung up in the corner of your room and wondering what happened to November. Christmas has snuck up on us and is fast approaching. With all of the essays that have been cruelly set with due dates in January, some festive cheer wouldn’t be amiss. This casual, fun and wintery-themed reading (that in no way relates to your course) will be essential for that much needed break.

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik

If you would like to read about the original combo of classic fairytale and Polish folklore, this is definitely the story for you. Set in an ambiguous Polish village and following three female protagonists, this ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ retelling takes many different turns as a fight erupts to reclaim the living world from the personified villain of ‘winter’ itself.

This novel engages with some of the best character development I’ve ever seen written, paired alongside Novik’s talent for describing a devastating cold setting that really makes you feel the chill. This is a lengthy tale that will ‘set the scene’ for the winter months ahead with examples of healthy family dynamics, Jewish representation and the idea that the villain is not always evil for evil-sake.

The Mother of all Christmases, Milly Johnson

Published only a month ago, this classified ‘chick-lit’ is just the kind of christmas-themed relaxation material you need. Take a break from your frantic essay writing to instead curl up in front of a fire with this modern novel.

When glancing at the cover, do not make the mistake of presuming that this is a light-hearted story of anecdotal christmas fun. It is emotional, filled with laughter and pleasure directly followed by heartbreak and devastation. This feel-good read will definitely get you in the festive spirit this December, so put it on your wish-list this Christmas.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Agatha Christie

If dramatic holiday romance isn’t your thing, how about some festive murder?

Everyone is familiar with at least the name of Hercule Poirot, whether via the more famous Christie novels, such as Murder on the Orient Express, or through the many tv and movie adaptations… with some being much better than others.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas is one of her lesser known stories is the twentieth in the Poirot universe, but do not let that put you off. Chronological order is not necessary with Christie’s novels, making for brilliant independent reads. 

Detective fiction is always fun, and Christie writes in a way that will, without fail, cause you to rack your brain for the answer to the mystery, and most of the time get it wrong.

Also going by the name The Theft of the Royal Ruby, there are many versions to get your hands on.

A Winter’s Promise, Christelle Dabos (translated by Hildegarde Serle)

Having recently been translated from French, this fantasy story was originally published back in 2013 and involves enchanting winter imagery within a dystopian setting.

Follow protagonist Ophelia as she finds her place in this world, both as a woman and a figure of political importance.

If you enjoyed the previously mentioned Spinning Silver, you will love this book, with very similar ‘fantasy’ components involved, such as traversing through mirrors and mixing political intrigue with unconventional magical elements.

There’s also an added bonus. If you’re a fan of delving into universes that are similar and yet completely different from our own, there will be more content on its way. The English translation will be arriving in February 2019, with the French version of the book already ready and waiting for any bilingual readers.

With Christmas fast approaching, it is definitely time to pick up one of these incredible Christmas reads to get you into the festive spirit. Although movies tend to be the popular festive tradition, why not delve into a magical world within fiction this year?

Image Credit: Pixabay – jill111

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