The Ultimate Holiday Reading List

by Sarah Wexler (Brooklyn)

Let’s face it: Winter is here to stay (for a few more months anyway). So why not curl up fireside with a great book that’s so engrossing you hardly even remember the slushy snow that was at the bottom of your boots all week long? Here are our top four picks for doing just that.

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1. Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin

When Baldwin gets a job at an ad agency in France, he jumps at the chance to make his lifelong crepes-and-cafés fantasy a reality. But the Paris he finds is a tad different, and he struggles with a language barrier, cultural confusion and bureaucratic nightmares that frustrate him (and entertain us).

2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

One day, Strayed decides to hike 1,000 miles—alone and without ever having so much as picked up a backpack before—to figure out her life. And she needs to: At 26, she has recently lost her mom to cancer, destroyed her marriage through infidelity and picked up a bad habit or two. As Strayed finds herself lost, thirsty and minus a few toenails, she puts her mind back together in a way that’s riveting to follow.

3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

First, you’ll be transported to Lawson’s own version of The Glass Castle, as seen in her childhood in rural Texas, where her dad randomly brings home wild animals (and occasionally stuffs them or uses them as hand puppets). Next, you’ll be sucked into Lawson’s paranoid adult mind, tagging along on awkward trips to the doctor, where she requests the most bizarre of procedures. So funny and crazy, you’ll swear your family is normal.

4. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

It’s the early ’70s, and sharp literary UK college student Serena gets an interesting assignment: Spy on her very charming and handsome classmate Tom. The request comes from MI5, the British FBI, and Serena gets tangled up as she falls in love with Tom—and unravels more about his true, not-so-lovable identity.