holiday books 2021

Holiday Reads to Enjoy and Share

holiday reads 2021

By Kelsi Nymon for CraftyChica.com

Here are some holiday reads to enjoy and share! What better way to spend these cozy winter evenings than curled up with an enticing book? Whether you’re looking for a new read for yourself to get lost in or, you’re looking for something to gift to a loved one, I’ve got a little bit of something for everyone!

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

This book has been on my “to read” list for quite some time. What drew me in was the complex dynamics between mother and daughter. Sometimes understanding each other is like translating a foreign language, and other times, the communication can be so fluid it feels inherent and nonverbal.  Almost like you have the ability to read each other’s minds despite your differences and misunderstandings. 

Culturally, I also related to how our familial foods bring us together, bridge emotional gaps, and extend a peaceful olive branch. In most cultures, food is our common ground! To share a meal with someone emphasizes the care and love you have for one another and supersedes any anger or resentment towards each other – at least until the meal is over. 

Next year In Havana  by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana hit me much deeper than I expected!

Admittedly, I cried within the first chapter, which very much took me by surprise. I truly related to the character’s relationship with her beloved grandmother and the awareness that they were from this far-off place that was once beautiful, but that the main character had no first-hand knowledge of. She had grown up with the stories of Cuba from her grandmother. It almost became a fairy tale.

Once everything was “fixed”, we could go back home. But what if it’s not as easy as we think? How do we return after so much time away? Can we ever return?

The story alternates between the grandmother, living in 1958 Cuba as a sugarcane heiress, to her modern day granddaughter, born and raised in southern Florida.

This is a beautiful, heart wrenching story of family, loss, and discovering painful truths; both familial and political. And, ultimately, making peace with the “if-onlys” and  someone else’s choices that you cannot change. 

 

The Crafty Chica Creates! Latinx inspired DIYs by our very own fabulous Kathy Cano-Murillo

While Kathy’s book is currently on pre-order until January 4th, it makes for the perfect gift for others or yourself!  You can give the joy of crafting to your loved ones by creating a unique message to build excitement.

Create a cute note from Santa to slip into their stocking to let them know it’s on it’s way to them or, repurpose an old jewelry box with a glittery message inside with a countdown to crafting!

These Latinx-inspired DIYs also work as a gift for yourself. If your goal over the upcoming year is to jump into the creative spirit, this is the best place to get started and take off running! Or, if you’re looking for a healthy way to de-stress and take some quality “you” time, it’s a great way to tune everything else out and work with your hands while letting your imagination take over.

Kathy has a plethora of fun crafts to try for all skill levels! 

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl

This is not just another rock band biography. Reading The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music is like sitting down with Dave Grohl over coffee and him telling you his coolest stories, while being entirely relatable and personable. What makes this book different than most “behind the scenes” memoirs, is that there isn’t a big reveal.

There’s no new dirt to dish. It is simply the stories of someone who grew up like the rest of Gen X, a goofy kid who just wanted to do what they loved; play music. This telling is perfect for the music lover in your life! I’m picking this one up specifically for my husband, who is a grunge aficionado and lives for the stories behind great musicians.

For those who are unfamiliar, Dave Grohl was the drummer of Nirvana and then became the front man for the Foo Fighters on lead guitar and vocals. Whether you are a Nirvana fan, Foo Fighters fan, or maybe never heard of either but want to peek behind the curtain and learn more about one of the greats of our time, this one’s for you! 

We Were Never Here: A Novel by Andrea Bartz

This next selection is for all the True Crime lovers out there that need a little mystery or suspense to break up all the comfy family time you’re getting this season! Or, gift it to your friends and family that live for a good thriller. This book’s premise reminded me of the Amanda Knox case.

It takes place in Chile, a country that is foreign to the main character. It starts as a back-packing trip that seems to be going well, until everything takes a complete turn and suddenly, the main character finds herself arguing self-defense.

But is it? 

Only way to find out is to read through! You can pick up “We Were Never Here” for you and a friend or loved one to read together and compare notes or theories on this “who dunnit.”

 

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman moved the nation as the youngest inaugural poet in U..S. History when she recited The Hill We Climb during President Biden’s 2020 inauguration. This collection of poems by Gorman is perfect for all of us; the dreamers, the doers, the young ones, the old ones, the history-writers, and the game-changers.

Amanda Gorman’s writing leaves me with chills, tears of hope, and a warmer heart. This would make an excellent addition to any bookshelf or coffee table book. Or even, as a sophisticated discussion topic with friends over a glass of wine or a few cocktails! 

Mezcal & Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave by Robert Simonson

Speaking of cocktails: how about some new recipes to mix-up your mezcal or tequila? Mezcal & Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave recipe book makes for the perfect reference to serve beverages at any holiday gatherings you’re hosting this season.

Impress your guests with tasty libations, or treat them to the gift of making their own.This guide includes fun new takes on the classics with several new ideas that I’m sure you haven’t tried before! This one is sure to be a hit for the mezcal or tequila lover in your life (or even a lovely gift to yourself!) Salud! 

In case you missed them: Here are some well-received Latina titles released this year

Latina authors are thriving more than ever and we hopes to see even more titles from women in our community. The best part is there is a vast array of personalities and stories to soak up. These are on our to-read list this month!

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

From the publisher: Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.

Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.

Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her?

Because it’s time people did.

A sensitive, funny, and painfully honest coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.

The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende

From the publisher: “When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without “resources or voice.” Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn’t have.

As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the second wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, Allende for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote “with a knife between our teeth” about women’s issues. She has seen what the movement has accomplished in the course of her lifetime. And over the course of three passionate marriages, she has learned how to grow as a woman while having a partner, when to step away, and the rewards of embracing one’s sexuality.

So what feeds the soul of feminists—and all women—today? To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have their own resources, to be connected, to have control over our bodies and lives, and above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work yet to be done, and this book, Allende hopes, will “light the torches of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They will have to live for us, as we lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished.”

For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez

From the publisher:
For generations, Brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism, and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez has created a community to help women fight together. In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, she offers wisdom and a liberating path forward for all women of color. She crafts powerful ways to address the challenges Brown girls face, from imposter syndrome to colorism. She empowers women to decolonize their worldview, and defy “universal” white narratives, by telling their own stories. Her book guides women of color toward a sense of pride and sisterhood and offers essential tools to energize a movement.

May it spark a fire within you.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore 

When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.

How about holiday-themed books? Here are some of those as well!

If you need a break from the holiday movies, try a page turner – or audiobook if you are crafting. Here are some new books on shelves that are sure to add holiday cheer to your life!

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

From the publisher: When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.

With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

Licking Her Christmas Cookies: A Holiday Romantic Comedy by Alina Jacobs

From the publisher: In hindsight, opening a Christmas tree ornament shop in a small town was a terrible idea.
The Thanksgiving turkey is still warm, and I’m already up to my eyeballs in debt from my failed business.
To make matters worse, my knight in flannel never appeared—you know, the guy, the one who was tall, dark, and plaid, who had a friendly yellow lab and a truck and sold firewood, the one who showed the big-city heroine the true meaning of love and Christmas.
Yeah, he did not come rescue me.

Instead, Matt Frost showed up like the Prince of Winter to yell at me about the rent I owed him.
He did not feature in any of my Christmas fantasies. In fact, he was exactly the type of Christmas-hating alphahole billionaire in a suit I left Manhattan to escape.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

From the publisher:

Laid off from her department store job, Carmen has perilously little cash and few options. The prospect of spending Christmas with her perfect sister Sofia, in Sofia’s perfect house with her perfect children and her perfectly ordered yuppie life does not appeal.

Frankly, Sofia doesn’t exactly want her prickly sister Carmen there either. But Sofia has yet another baby on the way, a mother desperate to see her daughters get along, and a client who needs help revitalizing his shabby old bookshop. So Carmen moves in and takes the job.

Thrown rather suddenly into the inner workings of Mr. McCredie’s ancient bookshop on the picturesque streets of historic Edinburgh, Carmen is intrigued despite herself. The store is dusty and disorganized but undeniably charming. Can she breathe some new life into it in time for Christmas shopping? What will happen when a famous and charismatic author takes a sudden interest in the bookshop—and Carmen? And will the Christmas spirit be enough to help heal her fractured family?

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis

From the publisher: On a snowy evening in March, thirty-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone.

All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

With plenty of charming twists and turns and Lia Louis’s “bold, standout voice” (Gillian McAllister, author of The Good Sister), Eight Perfect Hours is a gorgeously crafted novel that will make you believe in the power of fate.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

From the publisher: It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Kelsi Nymon is a part-time crafter, jewelry maker, book reader, and a full-time loud laugher. Mexican-American and raised in Seattle, WA, she now calls the greater Phoenix, AZ area home. You can find her hanging out on Instagram @mascorazonmercado!

Love & light,


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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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