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5 Great Books to Escape With Over the Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, life can get a bit hectic. Whether you're cooking for large amounts of people, organizing travel plans, or mentally preparing yourself to deal with that one difficult relative, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Maybe you're not doing anything at all and are simply looking forward to a few days of rest, relaxation and recharging. Regardless of your situation, a good book can provide a necessary escape.

If you're stuck wondering what to read, not to worry! We've selected five great Canadian books to sink into and warm up with:



Frying Plantain - Zalika Reid-Benta (House of Anansi)

Through twelve interconnected stories set in Toronto's "Little Jamaica" neighbourhood, Zalika Reid-Benta's vibrant and engaging debut follows her main character, Kara Davis, through childhood and adolescence as she attempts to reconcile her Canadian nationality with her Jamaican heritage. From a terrifying early encounter with a severed pig's head during a family trip to Jamaica to a now-teenage Kara caught between her warring grandparents, Frying Plantain captures the culture and energy of Little Jamaica with an electrifying urgency. Caught between two worlds, Kara must navigate race, identity politics, and family strife to discover her true self.

Purchase the book here






Death and the Seaside - Alison Moore (Biblioasis)

For those who like their holiday season with some chills and thrills thrown in (we know you're out there!), Alison Moore's critically-hailed Death and the Seaside may be just what you're looking for. Aspiring writer Bonnie Falls is on the brink of giving up her dream as she moves out of her parents' house and into her first apartment. That is until her charming and eccentric landlady takes a passionate interest in one of Bonnie's unfinished stories, convincing her to travel to a seaside town similar to the one in its pages. A skin-crawling exercise in obsession and manipulation, Moore's psychological rollercoaster will have you turning pages late into the night.

Purchase the book here






Listen Up! Recording Music with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, U2, R.E.M., The Tragically Hip, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Waits... - Mark Howard and Chris Howard (ECW Press)

Mark Howard is the kind of legendary insider they make documentaries about. Having worked as a record producer, engineer, and mixer for some of the most iconic names in the music business (just read the title of this book for an idea), he and his brother Chris have compiled a treasure trove of fascinating stories and the kind of behind-the-velvet-curtain info that music fans will salivate over. Functioning as both a tell-all book and an insightful glimpse into the often-overlooked technical wizardry that goes into making an album, this one pairs well with an Irish coffee and a stack of well-worn LPs.

Purchase the book here





Paper Houses - Dominique Fortier, translated by Rhonda Mullins (Coach House Books)

A dramatic re-imagining of the life of Emily Dickinson, Paper Houses follows the legendary author from childhood, through adolescence and into her adult years as her obsession with the beauty of words and sentences intensifies into a hardened cocoon through which she keeps society at bay. Wild, evocative imagery is used to great effect to bring the reader into Dickinson's world, filled as it is with so much whimsy and natural wonder. If leaving the world behind over the holiday season is your main goal, you'll be hard-pressed to put this one down.

Purchase the book here






Nutcracker Night - Mireille Messier, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard (Pajama Press)

A little girl experiences the big city and her very first ballet in this charmingly written and beautifully illustrated picture book. The girl and her father travel to New York City, where the sights and sounds of the city's theater district intoxicate the senses and dazzle the eye as they make their way to see the classic ballet The Nutcracker. Capturing the excitement and thrills of the ballet, Nutcracker Night is perfect for moms, dads and kids to read together over the holidays.

Purchase the book here




Happy holidays, and happy reading!