Books that are holiday reads in the way that ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas Movie: December’s Literature Lineup

Graphic+by+Mandi+Karpo

Graphic by Mandi Karpo

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor

I’ve never seen the “Die Hard” films, but I have heard of the lifelong debate of whether it is indeed a Christmas movie. But, if you’re looking to read something along those lines, where it’s not specifically about Christmas but Christmas adjacent, December’s Literature Lineup is the one for you! This list of holiday classics, nostalgic faves and cozy, heartfelt reads should keep you warm all winter long and maybe even give you an escape from any family drama back home. Happy Holidays to everyone celebrating and may your break be full of rest and good books!

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor – “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

Thanks to the many film adaptations of “Little Women”–the most recent being Greta Gerwig’s in 2019–or even the musical version that starred Sutton Foster, I’m sure we all know the story of our young heroine Jo March by now. Jo is a character most of us can relate to, especially as students who are still in the process of figuring out who we are. Her creativity, craving for independence and overwhelmingly huge heart has made her one of the most admired characters ever written since the book was published in 1868. If you can’t relate to Jo, there are three other sisters and several supporting characters to identify with! Christmas is a difficult holiday for the March family as they try to make do without their father who is away at war. This also serves as a reminder to cherish the time spent with those you love and to give without expectations. Spend this holiday season with the March sisters to get reacquainted with this coming-of-age classic and to realize that Amy is, in fact, far more insufferable than the lovely Florence Pugh made her out to be. 

Mandi Karpo, Editor-in-Chief  – “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling

While several of the Harry Potter books and movies take place during Christmas time, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” has a warm place in my heart, kind of like chestnuts roasting on an open fire (ha ha, get it?). After nearly a hundred years, the Triwizard Tournament commences once again. Three champions from three wizarding schools go head-to-head in three tasks forcing the young wizards to put their knowledge of magic to the test. However, things take a turn for the worst when the Goblet of Fire is bewitched to place a fourth name in the cup, Harry Potter’s. In honor of the Triwizard Tournament’s return comes the Yule Ball, a tradition they’ve held since the tournament’s inception. The Great Hall is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, making the fourth novel in J.K. Rowling’s seven-part series the best option to curl up on the couch with and surround yourself with the holiday spirit of Harry Potter’s whimsical yet dangerous universe. 

Jaeden Pinder, Executive Editor – “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt

I despise BookTok. Every time I hope to find a new book to read through the app, I’m disappointed to see the same five titles I have read and fervently criticized with my friends. Still, as much as I have been discouraged by BookTok endorsements, the only exception to my hostility is “The Secret History,” which follows a group of Classics students who murder their friend and detail the motivations and impact of their crime. Donna Tartt takes serious care in writing all her novels to the level of a neurosurgeon; each sentence is crafted in such a romantic way that you might overlook the wickedness of these privileged college students in favor of her mastery of language. As for a holiday favorite, it barely fits the bill, but one of the subplots makes me terrified to ever go to Vermont in the winter (if you know, you know). The novel speaks for itself, so all I’ll say is read it, and if you want to explore more about the college and people that may have inspired the elusive and encyclopedic Tartt, listen to the podcast “Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College.” 

Gia Sparacino, Secretary  – “Let it Snow” by John Green

If you attend the University, chances are, you’ve read a book by John Green. In sight of the holidays, it’s time to whip out those fingerless gloves and dust off your copy of “Let it Snow” written by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. The trio worked in collaboration, sewing together three separate stories to create the ultimate quirky holiday rom-com featuring blizzards, baristas and Waffle House; oh my! Nothing says holiday nostalgia quite like regressing into a giggly middle schooler. Even if you don’t get the chance to take on a new book this month, Netflix came out with a movie based on the novel, so you’ll still get the chance to enjoy all the fun holiday cheer!

Lyndsey Brown, Treasurer  – “A Court of Frost and Starlight” by Sarah J. Maas

Even though the characters in “A Court of Frost and Starlight” by Sarah J. Maas don’t celebrate Christmas, they hold their own celebration for the Winter Solstice that fulfills all my cozy winter wonderland fantasies. As the fourth book of the ACOTAR series, this novel follows the story of Feyre and Rhys and depicts their celebration of the longest night of the year with evergreen decor, drinking and swapping gifts with loved ones by the fire. You can snuggle up this winter and follow along with Feyre’s all too familiar struggle to find the perfect gift and witness the family drama holidays in this fantasy-romance novella. 

Emily Shafer, News Editor – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

I know “A Christmas Carol” is a pretty popular Christmas tale, but it’s an absolute classic that never gets old, no matter how many times you experience it. Whether you have seen the Disney film, a play adaptation or have read the book itself, “A Christmas Carol” is the perfect story to pull off your bookshelf this time of year. Follow the original Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, as he travels with three Christmas spirits through his past, present and future, who show him how the actions of his past could lead to his unfortunate demise. Learn about the true meaning of the Christmas spirit as Scrooge finds it himself. This story is a quick read but perfect if you still aren’t feeling in the holiday spirit this season. 

Sarah Bergin, Arts Editor – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky

If you’re anything like me, you read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” way earlier in your life than you should have. Looking back at my experience reading this, I think it’s a great read for college-aged adolescents peering into the void for a sense of high school-ridden nostalgia. If you are unfamiliar with the novel, you’ve most likely heard of the film, released in 2012 and starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson. Anyone who has a mentoring bond between themselves and their English teachers or professors would enjoy this book, as that is just one of the connections that the main character, Charlie, creates throughout the book. This novel also contains witty commentary on pop culture at the time, after all, who isn’t longing to put themselves in the holiday season of the early ‘90s just for a moment? If you decide to follow Charlie and his friends on their journey, some content warnings to note when reading this book include, but are not limited to, sexual assault and violence, substance abuse and suicide.

Priya Persaud, Opinion & Editorial Editor  – “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

First published as a short story in 1905, “The Gift of the Magi” is a tale of selfless love. O. Henry tells the story of a young couple, Della and Jim, who are living in poverty and as Christmas approaches, the couple struggles with purchasing gifts for one another due to their lack of money. Both partners sacrifice their own assets to fund the other’s gift and, though the plot twist is well known, it is still a great affirmation of the value of love above anything material. During the winter holidays, there can be a great amount of pressure put on gift-giving towards family and peers. However, this story is a great reminder that gifts are not the objective behind Christmas and that affection is something to be given unconditionally, not won. This heartwarming story is perfect for the holiday season and is short in length, making it an easy read.