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10 Books to Ease Your Christmas and New Year Hangover by Anna Snoesktra

Anna Snoekstra, bestselling author of the psychological thriller Only Daughter recommends the books for reading when you’re too tired to move from the couch after all those end of the year parties…

That week between Christmas and New Year is a strange time of year. Depending on where you live, it’s either unbearably hot, or icy cold. The shops are either closed, or in the midst of boxing day sale madness. Most work places are on break. So even if you freelance or are self-employed the only replies you are likely to get are ‘out of office’ bounce-backs.

You’re hungover from Christmas and got a fridge full of leftovers. The best thing to do is binge on a book, ignore your family, and get your fluids up before New Year.

I read YOU by Catherine Kepnes between Christmas and New Year’s last year. I finished the book in two days, and felt very weird about life for the next two weeks. It’s an incredibly gripping second person narrative of a young man who works in a bookstore and begins stalking a customer.

My copy of THE BEACH by Alex Garland had Leonardo Dicaprio on the front (back when he was still being called Leo). I put off reading it for a while because I found the film fairly average. Turns out the book is brilliant. It’s about a British backpacker who discovers a community living on a secret beach in Thailand.

If you have a fair slice of couch time to put aside, MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides is defiantly worth it. It follows three generations of a Greek family who move to Detroit, Michigan to escape the Greco-Turkish war.

At 1138 pages, IT by Stephen King is another big one. The narrative alternates between a group of kids in the 1950s and the same groups as adults in the 1980s. As children they encounter the eponymous being, which prays on their fears and phobias, and they are forced to regroup in order to finally conquer the being as adults. It was fantastic, when I finished it I just wished it were longer.

Sometimes, after all that Christmas joy, you just want something that will make you cry. LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott is sure to do the job, it follows four sisters from childhood to womanhood in the mid-1800s.

THE NATURAL WAY OF THINGS by Charlotte Wood might not make you cry, but it will make you get very angry about the world. Described as ‘Prescient Feminist Horror Novel’ It’s about a group of women who awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of the Australian desert.

I won’t lie, I’ve read THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins at least four times. It’s about a teenage girl in a dystopian future who is forced to fight to the death for a reality show. It’s absolutely perfect to read on the couch and feel time slip away.

If you didn’t read PUBERTY BLUES by Gabrielle Carey in Highschool English, now is the time. It’s about two thirteen-year-old girls in the 1970s who will do anything to become ‘surfer chicks’ in a coastal Australian town.

Sometimes there just isn’t time to read a whole novel, but a great short story suffices nicely. SIGHTSEEING by Rattawut Lapcharoensap is set in contemporary Thailand. Its stories explore family bonds, youthful romance and cultural shifting’s beneath the glossy surface of the Edenic setting.

Growing up, my sister and I would watch the BBC six-part miniseries of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE every school holidays. I watched it again last week and fell in love with the story all over again. It follows Elizabeth Bennet and her four unmarried sisters as they navigate manners, love and morality in 19th century England. I just tracked down my copy of Jane Austen’s book. It’s what I’ll be reading in the Christmas, New Years gap.


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