Holiday Fiction, Just in Time for Christmas


You’re sure to get a healthy dose of holiday movies and shows on your screens, but if you prefer literary escapes, here are recent holiday books to get you in the spirit.

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CHRISTMAS DAYS
12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days
By Jeanette Winterson
292 pp. Grove Press. (2016)

This writer’s childhood was far from idyllic; she was adopted by a strict couple of Pentecostal missionaries who often punished her by locking her outside overnight and subjected her to an exorcism when they found out she was attracted to a woman. Yet her mother, who she refers to as Mrs. Winterson, seemed happiest during Christmas, which might explain the author’s own reverence of the holiday and why, in the years leading up to the publication of this collection, she’d write a holiday-themed story every December. The stories are trademark Winterson, wrote our reviewer: “dark,” “otherworldly” and “wickedly funny.”

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MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS
By James Patterson
352 pp. Little, Brown and Company. (2012)

Looking for something to get your heart racing? Consider this thriller that follows Detective Alex Cross on Christmas Eve as he’s called away from his family for a number of incidents: a hostage situation, the threat of a terrorist attack and a petty thief targeting Detective Cross’s church. Fans of Patterson will be familiar with the antagonist, Hala, who has appeared in previous books in the Alex Cross series. And readers also get a peak into Cross’s home, as his wife and children wonder whether he will keep his promise to be home for Christmas.

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MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME
Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
321 pp. St. Martin’s Griffin. (2014)

In this assortment of holiday-themed stories, writers of young adult literature explore young love with winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve as a backdrop. In Gayle Forman’s “What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?”, a young Jewish woman heads to college and meets a man who helps her believe in holiday miracles. Another story follows a man named Shy who volunteers to cat-sit for his boss and ends up falling for a neighbor. And “Midnights,” by Rainbow Rowell follows the protagonists’ relationship across four New Year’s Eves. Our reviewer called this “a marvelous collection.”

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