The go-to holiday reading list

The go-to holiday reading list

by Meredith Ling 01 Jan 2020

Don't worry about looking at the latest best sellers list, here are some all time great books to take on any holiday.


Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont

Named one of the best books of the year by The Huffington Post, this novel is a portrait of an American family who’s about to be turned topsy-turvy when an anonymously sent package arrived in the mail, addressed to wife Deb but ending up in the hands of her young children. What ensued is the revelation of her husband Jack’s secret life and love. Written with extraordinary precision, humour, and beauty, this is touted as a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life.


Precious Gifts: A Novel  by Danielle Steel

Another title by the best-selling author, and another tale of family ties re-discovered, charming and sophisticated widower Paul Parker won the heart of and married a wealthy young Frenchwoman, before ultimately running away from the demands of marriage and having to parent his four children from both marriages, to pursue life as an international bon vivant. Raised by their mother with all the care and resolve their father lacked, the three Parker sisters have become vibrant, self-reliant young women; while lacking a strong role model has left Paul’s son going from one failure to another and seething with jealousy towards his younger sisters. Passing on after a long illness, Paul’s family gathered to read his will, and unravels a bundle of surprises for everyone. The story moves from New York and Los Angeles to the art capitals of Europe and the South of France, promising to be an inspiring and uplifting read.


Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors and this is her latest (though not band new) title which I have not had time to read this year. For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Jenna searches online for her mother and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals on her scientific research on grief among elephants, hoping to find a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. As she works with two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues, the three of them face hard answers to questions.


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

This powerful and profound work is voiced as a father’s words to his adolescent son, sharing the story of his awakening to the truth about his place, as a black man, in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. This personal narrative and re-imagined history is thought-provoking and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.


In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect by Ronald Kessler

I enjoy books written by journalists, with the places they have been and things they have seen that perhaps, most of us do not have easy access to. Backed by exclusive interviews with more than 100 current and former Secret Service agents, bestselling author and award-winning reporter, Ronald Kessler, sheds some light on the secretive agent work. Some interesting stories include how George W. Bush’s daughters would try to lose their agents, Jimmy Carter making the press think he went to work as early as 5am but then nodding off to sleep in his office, and Lyndon Johnson engaging in extensive philandering at the White House.


Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes who Brought Their Mission Home by Joe Klein

Another book telling a true story, two decorated combat veterans linked by tragedy returned home from the Middle East and found new ways to serve and heal their comrades and country. There is Eric Greitens, wounded in Iraq and back home to find his fellow veterans at Bethesda Naval Hospital all wanting the same thing – to continue serving their country in some way, no matter the extent of their injuries. He founds The Mission Continues to provide paid public service fellowships for wounded veterans. Jake Wood, former Marine sergeant, began Team Rubicon, organizing 9/11 veterans for dangerous disaster relief projects around the world, with a motto of “We do chaos”.


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love brings us on another path to the vibrant, fulfilling life we’ve always dreamed of. Asking us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering, Elizabeth shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. An encouraging and self-exploration read, I am expecting more magic from this author.


You Don't Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent
Started out as a blogger and proudly-feminist, Alida Nugent’s first book, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, received terrific reviews for her self-deprecating “every girl” approach. Her second title takes on the hot topic of feminism; this book broaches a range of cultural issues, written in a smart, unapologetic and witty way. I am probably going to read this as a moderator before sharing it with a younger friend I believe will like it. 


Tell us which are the books sitting on your shelf waiting to be read or look for more on the sites below.