Heart-warming novels that embody the holiday spirit of love, family, and friendship
It’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting steadily chilly, the fires have started crackling, and the smell of freshly-baked cakes is wafting through the air in gay abandon.
However, 2020 has been a stressful year for most, and it might be difficult to get into the holiday mood to say goodbye to a year filled with such tumultuous highs and lows. To combat that, this article lists three warm and uplifting books to get you into those feelings of comfort and joy in no time.
After all, the spirit of Christmas and Thanksgiving is represented by three emotions: love, family, and friendship. The books listed here embody these emotions perfectly. The stories don’t necessarily have a Christmas setting, but they will get you feeling warm, happy, and all set for the holiday season up ahead. These books are also relatively short, so you can read them in a few days and have all the right emotions in the days leading up to Christmas.
(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
1. How to be a Normal Person by TJ Klune
What’s better to start getting into the mood for Christmas than a lovely romance featuring two of the most awesome characters I’ve come across in fiction?
Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He has never used the internet and reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to.
Casey Richards is an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at the local coffee shop. He is the best-selling author of a post-apocalyptic vampire-werewolf romance that has its own cult following. He also happens to have perfect hair, tattooed arms and is obsessed about Instagramming his food. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to feel the same way about Casey.
But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever. What unfolds next is a series of events where Gus tries to impress Casey, often ending in hilarious, heart-warming scenes.
“Why do I need to be defined as anything? Why can’t I just be who I am without some asshole trying to make me into something I’m not?”
What to expect from the book
This is the happiest, warmest, most positive book I read in recent times. I don’t really enjoy romance, but TJ Klune’s writing hooked me in the first chapter and kept me entertained throughout. There were moments where I was laughing till I had tears in my eyes and others where my heart filled with a squishy feeling of warmth where you love the characters so much, you wish you could jump right into the pages of the book and give them the tightest of hugs.
The events leading up to the climax are so amazing, you might need to clutch a pillow to your chest, for the fear that your heart might burst of happiness. This is the perfect book to get you to start believing in love again. And, of course, re-affirm the belief that no matter how abnormal and crazy you are, you’re you, and that’s all you need to be.
2. The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
This novella is a father’s story to his son, told over Christmas Eve, about a little girl dying from cancer in a hospital. The father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of the little girl he barely knows. But before he can take that life-changing step, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth — a question to which only his son can reveal the answer.
“The only thing of value on Earth is time. One second will always be a second, there’s no negotiating with that.”
What to expect from the book
This is a love story, an apology, and a retribution. With just 65 pages of narrative, no character names, and very little detail, Backman’s beautiful prose still manages to take your breath away. The story reaffirms family values and will make you cherish your loved ones even more.
This beautiful novella will make you pause and introspect on your life choices. It will remind you that life is a fleeting gift, and your legacy rests in how you share that gift with others. The message of positivity and hope permeating through the story makes this book the perfect read during the holiday season.
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
If there was an award for a book with the best protagonist, it would be this one!
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
The narrative is original and captivating. The first chapter might give the impression that this is going to be a heartbreaking tale (who likes sad stories with dogs?), but read on, for this is a beautiful story that needs to be told.
“I know this much about racing in the rain. I know it is about balance. It is about anticipation and patience…It is about believing that you are not you; you are everything. And everything is you.”
What to expect from the book
Maybe read it because the cover has the head of a dog? Jokes apart. This is a truly excellent story — the writing, the plot, the characters — all just breath-taking. This is one of those books that everyone should read once — it has the perfect ending to perk your spirits up when you are having a bad day.
This book is all about the spirit of friendship and love. It will definitely make you happy and get you right in the mood for a happy, blessed month ahead.
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