Christmas 2016: Five must-read books for the Christmas break
This time of year is perfect for catching up on great reading? There is really nothing quite like the chilly outdoors to remind you of the added warmth of remaining indoors, preferably with a good book and some steaming cocoa to go with it. 2016’s finest literary five are perfect stocking stuffers, even if they are a rare solitary treat just for you.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Sittenfeld cleverly reimagines the Bennet sisters navigating everything in the 21st century, with their trademark sense of humour, in the city of Cincinnati. The characters are fresh and relevant, rendered especially well when dealing with hilarious but familiar situations ranging from boys, careers, Crossfit, parents and marriage and making it the ideal laugh-out-too-loud read. Do not compare closely with the classic but read instead for Sittenfeld’s brave attempt.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Sweetbitter is essentially a coming-of-age story about 20-something Tess, who takes up a job as a server in one of New York’s busiest restaurants. Here, she receives an education of a lifetime as she studies wine and savours the complexities of relationships with an ever-evolving palate and a thirst for more. Read for Danler’s delectable writing about food and wine
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
A sequel to Essays in Love, 20 years later, de Botton beautifully renders the challenges of a modern relationship as Rabih and Kristen fall in love and get married. Written in the author’s unique poetic prose, the book charts the journey from the beginning of a commitment through its various trials, ultimately teaching us to love more and love better.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Though published in 1938, du Maurier’s novel is the ultimate blend of romance and gothic horror, making it a winter classic. The nameless protagonist leads us through her journey from working as a companion to a wealthy American, to a whirlwind romance with the stoic, troubled Maxim de Winter – who has a dark past – as she becomes the second Mrs de Winter. Read, if only to find out who the woman the novel is named after really is.
At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
The world could always use sharp insight provided by the 20th century’s brightest minds in conversation. Part biography, part philosophy, Bakewell’s second book is a thrilling ride that chronicles the beginning of existentialist thinkers, their philosophy and why it is ultimately relevant today. Featuring the founding fathers of the movement, this book is guaranteed to provide the reader with excellent material for a post-Christmas dinner debate.