Happy Holiday Reading from 49th Shelf

Book christmas tree ornament

For Christmas, or any holiday, or even for no reason at all: books are my favourite presents to give or receive. This year, various people I love will be unwrapping books including Dear Evelyn, by Kathy Page, Machine Without Horses, by Helen Humphreys, Late Breaking, by KD Miller, The Saturday Night Ghost Club, by Craig Davidson, and Sweep, by Jonathan Auxier.

And while I look forward to receiving some new books as well, brand new books are not actually what I'm most looking forward to this holiday season. Because while new books under the tree are wonderful, my very favourite thing about this holiday—in the dead of winter when we do all we can to light up the darkness—is the time it allows us for such indulgences as re-reading, or even finally getting to that title that's been sitting on the shelf for years. To discover a book that maybe everybody isn't talking about right now, but that doesn't mean the book isn't excellent, or that it hasn't only been waiting for you until the moment was right. 

Yesterday the weather in Toronto was warm enough that I got to sit in a park while I had a free half hour, and finish reading Dora Dueck's 2012 short story collection What You Get at Home. Of course, the weather was not so warm that I didn't have to periodically warm up one hand in a mitten while the other one turned the pages, but still, reading on a park bench in December is a treat. And I loved this book, about family, dislocation, and the pleasures of reading, and I was grateful to finally get the chance to read it...after spending most of this past season drowning (happily!) in a sea of new releases. 

So clearly, yes, I've already got a jump on my holiday reading, but I'm only just getting started. I'm in the mood to reread something by Isabel Huggan, perhaps her second collection of stories, You Never Know. Looking forward to reading Saleema Nawaz's 2008 short story collection Mother Superior, Kathy Page's Alphabet, Melanie Mah's award-winning The Sweetest One, among other titles that aren't even Canadian. These are all books I've been picking up on my travels, but for one reason or another have not managed to get to yet, but now, with the holidays, when everything slows down and maybe the weather outside is frightful, there will finally be time. 

And we at 49th Shelf are wishing all of you much of the same during this holiday break, time to read, either voraciously or slow and savoringly. We hope you get that bestselling, award-winning title that everybody is so excited about—but that you take some time to read off the beaten track as well, because there are so many books to discover. 

Happy holidays, and we're looking forward to sharing all kinds of excellent books with you in 2019.

Sincerely, 

Kerry, and the 49thShelf.com team

December 20, 2018
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