Don’t let your brain turn to eggnog the next few weeks. Offset the bourbon with these book recommendations based on your favorite holiday flick.
If nothing gets you going like familial dysfunction, check out Lauren Groff’s The Monsters of Templeton. Willie Upton’s return home — a place she swore she’d never go again — coincides with the discovery of a monster in a local lake (and that her dad isn’t who she thought). Good times abound.
A Christmas Story
Molly McNett’s debut story collection, One Dog Happy, is like a BB gunshot through the heart. A reclusive man becomes a target for teenage bullies, sisters deal with their dad’s mail-order bride, and a girl finds solace in weird sexual fantasies in these funny-sad tales from the Midwest.
Love doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. In the first paragraph of Alejandro Zambra’s touching novella, Bonsai, you learn Emilia is going to die and leave Julio alone — knowledge that makes the following pages all the more profound.
Santa Claus, The E! True Hollywood Story
Nonfiction nuts will love Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates, a funny, digestable exposé of our country’s beginnings (Anne Hutchinson = “the Puritan Oprah”). For cold, hard factoids, turn to the latest Schott’s Miscellany and The Mental Floss History of the World.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
If you co-owned a North Carolina logging company with your seed-spreading husband in 1929, like Ron Rash’s titular character in Serena, you’d be pissed, too. In fact, like Serena, you might want to kill your husband’s illegitimate child and the baby mama. Things get delightfully ugly from there.