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Ah, the holidays. ’Tis the season for family and friends, festive parties, bottomless eggnog and generally way too much togetherness. To maintain our sanity, we always try to sneak in a little recharging—preferably with a warm blanket, a cozy pair of socks and a good book (bonus points if there’s a fire in the fireplace). But reading over holiday break has its own frustrations, namely too much to do, not enough time to read. So here are seven books you’ll be able to finish in the time between the pie and the presents.
In her first novel, NPR culture writer Linda Holmes introduces us to two lovable accidental housemates both desperately in need of a second chance. It’s funny, charming and basically our favorite new rom-com in book form. Buy the book
What’s the best way to forget your own family dysfunction? Dive into someone else’s. This enthralling tale is about two neighboring families whose lives become entwined by one tragic incident. This is more than 400 pages but so absorbing. Buy the book
Lillian and Madison are old friends from boarding school who lost touch after a scandal. But now Madison’s twin step kids are moving in with her, and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. This heartfelt book is fierier than you’d expect. Buy the book
One way to get reading done during busy times? Grab a book that’s broken up into shorter sections. This year, the best option is New Yorker culture writer Jia Tolentino’s debut essay collection. Tolentino has often been called her generation’s Joan Didion and the likeness is spot-on. Buy the book
Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, written in the form of a letter from a young man to his illiterate mother, isn’t the easiest read. But it is a meditation on race, class and immigration. It’s also the most beautifully written book you’ll read all year. Buy the book
When the Skinners move into a big yellow house, their future looks bright. But tragedy strikes and the four children are left to fend for themselves. We catch up with them two decades later in this sweeping, humanizing epic. Buy the book
Our favorite whodunnit this year is a classic 1960s noir about a housewife turned reporter on the trail of a murder case that’s gone cold. The story unfolds in Baltimore over the span of one year, but it will take you far less time to get through this novel. Buy the book
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