Something to Read for Christmas


I’ve always loved this simple formula for gift-giving. With all the pressures of Christmas decorating, cooking, and activities, finding the perfect gift can seem overwhelming.

So if you’re looking to fulfill the “Something to Read” part of this formula, here’s a list of suggestions might help. This is by no means comprehensive, but a quick overview of a few books that I loved this year. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that my list is heavy on historical fiction and light on non-fiction. So if you have a great book to recommend for Christmas giving, tell me about it in the comments.

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And the best part? Books are so easy to wrap!

(Note: I’ve linked each of these books to Amazon just to make life simple, but be sure to try first at your locally owned bookstore, like Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. The salespeople at locally owned stores are great at recommendations and you’ll be supporting small business and your community!)

Historical Fiction

God’s Daughter and Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert are for anyone who loves taut storytelling and authentic Viking history. The characters in these books will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Dier won the Pulitzer Prize for this book so not much else needs to be said. Heartbreaking and hopeful, it is a must read for any fiction lover.

The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith. This is the one recommendation that I haven’t yet personally read. In fact, I’m hoping to find this book under the tree with my name on it. Let’s see if my husband or kids read my blog posts . . .

The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman. Really, you can’t go wrong with anything by Alice Hoffman for any woman on your list who loves lyrical writing and engrossing stories.

The Well, The Thief and The Tomb, A Novel of Martha by Yours Truly. Not to toot my own horn, but these novels make great gifts for Mom, Grandma, daughters, sisters, and in-laws.



Romance, Historical and Contemporary

For the Record, Regina Jennings’ newest novel set in the Ozarks is getting rave reviews, including a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. For someone who likes a mix of romance, history, and humor this is a great pick!

Ornamental Graces, by Carolyn Astfalk has strong, believable characters and a twisty, turny plot that was far from predictable. It has laugh-out-loud moments, but with great depth where it counts.

Close to You and Can’t Help Falling by Kara Isaac of New Zealand. Her first book, Close to You, had a Tolkien theme, and her second book, Can’t Help Falling, has a Narnia theme. How cool is that?


Fly a Little Higher, Laura Sobiech. My dear friend’s book tells the heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story of her son’s battle with cancer and how it changed her life and her family forever.

For readers who like to laugh

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman was the funniest book I read this year and one I’ve recommended to at least a dozen friends. Seriously, don’t read this in a library or at the local Starbucks unless you are ok with making a scene.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is another laugh-out-loud book. Note: there’s a bit of rough language, but the main character, a socially inept but brilliant professor who needs a wife, will steal your heart.

For teens

Angelhood, A.J. Cattapan’s debut novel brings readers into the darkest of places, yet her compassionate and joyful storytelling makes for an uplifting ending that will resonate with teens.

For writers

Story Genius by Lisa Cron is an eye-opening look at how our brains process story. Absolutely the best writing book I’ve read in years!

Donald Maass: Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook is a great resource for all fiction writers. I buy one for every book I write and learn something new every time. I was also lucky enough to attend a Donald Maas workshop last fall and he was amazing!

And for any woman in your life who would like to come closer to Jesus, I’d recommend:


Walk In Her Sandals, Experiencing Christ’s Passion Through The Eyes of Women. Written by ten Catholic women, this is a prayerful and creative journey through the days of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

If you enjoyed The Living Water Series, you’ll love the stories I’ve written of Anah, Huldah, Veronica, Miriam, and Zilpah as they encounter Jesus in the days leading up to and after the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Is there a book you want for Christmas? Or one you’d recommend for others to gift? Tell me about it, you just might make someone’s Christmas extra special!


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