All I want (to read) for Christmas!

Need some last minute gift ideas? Maybe you’ve got all of your presents wrapped and waiting under your beautifully decorated tree. If so, I’m impressed! I always say I am going to be super prepared for Christmas, but this time, like always, I’m only saying “maybe next year.” We moved this year and I started a new job – I’m going with that as an excuse this time! Oh well – ’tis the season for crazy shopping, weekends full of parties, tons of goodies and sweets, great times with family and friends, and some quality reflection on the real reason we are celebrating a forgiven, redeemed, and blessed life.

If you need some suggestions for the readers in your family (or some ideas to put on your own list for Santa!), read on for some of my recommendations as well as what I would love to see under my own Christmas tree!

On my Christmas list:

The Paris Wife.  Loved reading Ernest Hemingway in college (For Whom the Bell Tolls made the most lasting impact), so for this alone I am fascinated to read about his life with his first wife in Paris. People magazine says in this “delicious reimagining, you can almost taste the croissants.” Sign me up!

Bossypants. It’s Tina Fey. Writing a memoir. I’m counting on this to be my primary ab workout for the new year!

The Christian Atheist / WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working.  These books are by the pastor at my church, Craig Groeschel, so I think it’s high time I gave them a read. I’ve heard excellent reviews about the challenging, relevant, and urgent message. I’m pumped.

Room: A Novel. With all of the recent, tragic abductions and murders, this novel about a child who has grown up in a room with his captive mother sounds like a tough but fascinating read. I’ve also wanted to read Jaycee Dugard’s A Stolen Life: A Memoir for a while, so I might pair the two together.

Cleopatra: A Life. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. I’m hoping it will be just the right mix of scandal, glamour, and solid history to make me feel like I’m some kind of cool, interesting history professor and/or archeologist/adventurer (I might have some unrealistic expectations…).

Stocking stuffer ideas for your own gift or shopping list!

The Hunger Games. If you haven’t picked up this trilogy for a read, you really must. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Twilight series, then I implore you to read Suzanne Collins’s novels of a futuristic dystopia and an awesome, independent, and fierce heroine – you will wonder what you ever saw in those lame vampire books. I’m going to be the crazy fan at The Hunger Games film premiere in March. Is it embarrassing that I teared up while watching the trailer? No, not at all. When you read these books, you will understand. And P.S. – the set is perfect for the entire family – bonus!

Juliet. I absolutely loved this charming, smart novel about a modern day gal finding out that the Romeo and Juliet tragic love affair wasn’t just a figment of Shakespeare’s imagination – and in fact, she is a descendant of the lovely Capulet herself! A review is coming soon, but I can go ahead right now and say read it! I felt like I was right there with Julie (almost as much a modern Nancy Drew as Juliet) in the beautiful Italian city of Sienna (nope, not Verona – apparently the Bard got that detail wrong). All in all, one of my most fun reads of the year.

The Help. Just read my review and please do not miss this modern-day classic!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I’ve read this before but way back in the day. I had an opportunity to revisit it while teaching this year, and truly, it meant more to me as an adult than it did as a child. C.S. Lewis has created one of the most precious, powerful, and beautiful allegories in modern literature, and I adored it all over again.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God Another excellent book by Francis Chan. Prepare to be challenged in a meaningful and lasting way.

What is on your Christmas reading list this year? Merry Christmas, readers, and may God bless you and yours! Happy reading and a happy New Year!

Photo from Katrina DeFrancesco.

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