Reading in the run up to Christmas

I don’t know about you, but I’m rushing to stay on top of holiday prep and getting in the thesis work I promised myself I’d manage before Christmas. Usually for me this means fun reading falls under the table as I don’t get enough guilt-free quiet time to really get into a book. So what I’m finding works quite well is to keep to shorter books under 260 pages, like novellas, short story collections and comics. That way I have enough head space for the thesis, get the prep done and still get to enjoy reading time. Thicker books are amazing to read in the calmer time between Christmas and New Years, but that’s a post for another time.

Here are 9 shorter works to enjoy during the rush before Christmas (links to goodreads) that are not holiday books or cozy crime:

 1.) One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

craz summer

A middle grade book about the Gaither sisters, who head to Oakland in 1968, where their mother wants them to join a Black Panther summer camp.

2.) The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannet and Angela Slatter

female factory

A collection of four dystopian tales about women and procreation set in Australia. Disturbingly good.

3.) On a Red Station Drifting by Aliette de Bodard

red station

A story of a space station run by an AI, and empire, refugees drawing on Vietnamese culture.

4.) Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer


First part of the Southern Reach trilogy, in which the 12th expedition attempts to find out what is going on in the mysterious Area X . It’s slow, atmospheric and creepy.

5.) March: Book 1 by John Lewis


John Lewis was one of the key figures of the Civil Rights movement. Book 1 is his account of growing up in Alabama, meeting MLK and the Nashville Student Movement.

6.) Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur by Amy Reeder

moon girl

Moon Girl follows Lunella Lafayette, super genius, who wants to change the world. Then she meets a prehistoric red scaled tyrant. It’s epic.

7.) Almost Famous Women: Stories by Megan Mayhew Bergman

almost famous

A collection of short stories centering on remarkable but mostly forgotten women or ones more known in association with their more famous relatives. Favorite: “Hell-Diving Women.”

8.) Wheezer and the Painted Frog by Kitty Sutton

wheezer and the painted frog

This is a mystery for middle graders, in which Cherokee girl Sasa with support from dog Wheezer tries to find our why her young brother died.  A fantastic way to learn more about the ‘Trail of Tears’ and its aftermath.

9.) Rant. Chant. Chisme by Amalia Ortiz


How about some poetry? This is amazing Xicana poetry in which Ortiz makes the case for ‘loud-mouthed women.’ Check out her spoken word performances on youtube!

How do you read in the run up to Christmas? Holiday books, chunksters or short fiction?

10 thoughts on “Reading in the run up to Christmas

  1. Oh how I love The Southern Reach books. I want to re-read them soonish, though I may have actually quelled my re-reading desire for another couple of months for the moment.

    The Female Factory sounds really cool too, though it is close to short stories, and I have decided i am not going to force myself to read any short story collections next year because I always end up feeling disgruntled about them.

    Also the Moon Girl comic looks awesome too.

    Some nice choices there. I am still battling my attention span to try to focus on the review books I want to get read before the year turns.

    1. Yay, glad to hear you loved the rest of the Southern Reach trilogy, too. I’m trying to space them out and not finish all immediately 🙂
      Yeah, maybe take a break from short stories 😉 Good luck finishing the review books!

  2. Somehow I still haven’t started the Southern Reach books! They sound super fascinating and great, and I just haven’t gotten around to them. I’m going to see if my library has them when I go this weekend — the time is now! They sound like perfect Christmas reading!

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