Photo credit Leslie Meads

Cooped up at home with traditions and travel plans thwarted, separated from those we care about most, grieving the loss of income, health and loved ones this will be a difficult holiday season for most of us. There’s one thing still available to all to nourish, sustain and sooth our souls and help get us through the season — books. 
Here are a few ideas for enjoying your season of jingle books.
1. Curl up in your favorite chair, settle in for a long read. Travel to a past time and place with historical fiction or to the future with science fiction. Read up on a hobby you’ve always wanted to try for instance, acting, dog grooming, or soap carving. Study self-help books on happiness or getting through a rough time. Peruse inspirational individuals you admire such as the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, or Michelle Obama. Browse cookbooks to dream about what you might want to make next year when gatherings return. Your eyes too tired to read? Listen to an audiobook. (Might I suggest my dual-timeline novel, The Black Velvet Coat?)
2. Use internet to stay connected to family and loved ones. Start a mother-daughter book club and meet remotely. Perhaps begin with a classic such Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, O. Henry’s short story The Gift of the Magi, or A Redbird Christmas by contemporary author Fannie Flagg. Nobel Prize winner, Isaac Bashevis Singer is another one of my favorite authors. For beloved youngsters in your life or young at heartsters you can spend time together online by reading aloud picture books. If possible, record them so they can be watched again and again.
3. Turn to the joy of book giving and support your local independent bookstore in the process. Many are happy by phone or email to provide recommendations for certain age levels, interests and genre. They’ll order, wrap and mail them for you too. They might also be willing to request a signed author bookplate to make a gift extra special. You may also wish to order a few extra books to donate to a worthy organization.
4. Cull through your bookshelves. Fill boxes with books you want others to enjoy. Share some with shut-in neighbors and donate others to your library, school or an organization. Pull out favorites you haven’t read in ages to read again. I’ve chosen Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Filled with romance, mystery, and suspense it will keep me rapt this season.

I hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful. On New Year’s morning we’ll all be happy to turn the final page on 2020.

What book will you be reading this holiday season?