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Great Books for Holiday and Winter Seasons for Enjoyment and Relaxation

Updated on February 9, 2018
Jackie Lynnley profile image

These informative articles offer ways to make life easier, more enjoyable or meet a need. Food for thought and to improve life for many.

The larger percentage of the world does not read per se, that is true. I feel sure many of my friends here do, since they write. Do writers not love to read? Isn't that a prerequisite for good writing?

Assuming most writer do love to read, this article covers reading for relaxation and mood setting for holidays and winter season when many if not most of us are less active, otherwise. (Unless we are writing!)

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Today, perhaps like me, your life is all about joy and relaxation and taking advantage of books to help provide that.

Watership Down to True Crime

For many years, even as an adult, I started reading certain children books as soon as the weather turned nippy. It was part of my get in the mood for holiday traditions! I owned a book shop and had thousands to read, which I did.

Customers would talk about certain authors thinking I knew them all, so I felt to be honest I had to have some knowledge on these authors so I could talk confidently about them. Of course, I will be more honest with you than I was with them. I did not like Stephen King nor Danielle Steele, and yes, true, very best sellers at this time.

Lavyrle Spencer was a much better writer than Danielle I thought. Danielle always made me feel sorry for her that she always had to look in the mirror and see how beautiful she was! Come on, you can get it across in better ways than that. I have to admit, many liked her and I certainly would not put her down when it meant money in my pocket. Give the customer what they want, by all means.

So I read many books and authors I did not like just to be able to discuss them with my customers. For some reason customers seemed to think I had read every book I sold! Not so...but I did read many in every category. This way I could discuss science fiction and western as easily as romance novels. I learned to love such a variety. Science Fiction was one of my hardest to get started on until one of my customers recommended Watership Down. It was a fantasy book and I absolutely loved it. Hard to believe I would go all the way to being hooked on True Crime but although I do not read those today I spent a few years reading all I could of them. They make you look at these sweet people around you a little bit closer.



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It is thought that reading works better and faster than other methods we use to calm our nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or drinking calming drinks, such as teas.

Reading Proven Number One Relaxation Method

Psychologists say that because the human mind must concentrate on reading that the distraction of being moved into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart. Great to know, huh?

According to cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, one group tested had stress levels and heart rate increased through a range of tests and exercises before then being tested with a variety of traditional methods of relaxation.

Reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent. We only need to read silently for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in our muscles and did in fact lower stress levels.

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Little House on the Prairie Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are a favorite at Christmas, even for adults.

The Long Winter Little House on the Prairie

I owned the whole Little House series and although I may pass over the first couple books, having read them so many times (those being more child like), I would time the others to weather and holidays. To have the snows, blizzards and great feast that Caroline Ingalls, (Laura's mother) could make from a blackbird or one can of oysters, if she had to.

These readings had to fall right at holiday time! To read these books while seeing snow fall outside my window was pure magic.
I would wish for every little child to get to know Laura and her family by her writings. As much as I loved "Little House on the Prairie" TV series, the books were so much better. Also, you are reading the truth, instead of little stories made up after the fact of the books, just for TV.
My sister-in-law, I found out, would read these too, for the same reason. I am sure there are many more of us out there.

We loved trying the recipes that Ma Ingalls would make. (Although we had to pass on the blackbirds.)

Years later discussing this with my older brother and getting him interested he found out for us that there are Little House cookbooks out there! How great is that? Probably right at your local library. Just in time for our comfort food, right before Christmas!



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Robbie Branscum books are great reads for teens and adults in the Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn style.

Huck Finn - Tom Sawyer Like

Maybe you like the same type book as Little House on the Prairie but just not these, especially the guys. Me and Jim Luke is a great book and a favorite of my husbands. He introduced me to the author Robbie Branscum and we loved all her books.

'Me is ten-year-old Sammy John, living in the Arkansas hills with his grandparents since Pa died and Ma went off with a city man; Jim Luke is Sammy's uncle. Their discovery of a body in a hollow tree brings them smack up against the dreaded Klan in a final hair-raising (and pants-wetting) encounter. Shoot fire! It's powerfully earthy and powerfully fetching.' (KIRKUS REVIEW)

Some of hers reminds one of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. More great books to read. I am sure children get into new things as time progresses but I don't see why they would not still love these children of the past and their wonderful stories. Regardless, we adults can. These are books you want to own and keep.

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Start a family tradition and at holiday and winter seasons is the perfect time to begin. Luckily, there are still the grandchildren.

Reading With Your Children or Grandchildren

Maybe because my husband and I both loved to read both of our children loved to read, too. Still, I wish today that I had read with them and built some memories from that. Of course I read to them until they learned to read but that happened so quickly and only looking back lets me know what it could have been.

I can just imagine sharing that pleasure they received from their books at that early age. It really is just a small window of opportunity where we can read with them and I encourage parents and grandparents to take advantage there. Buy them books as soon as they can start reading and have a super time reading those books with them. Share the thrill of the story, the laughter and the love. The discussions and joy that would have brought!


Books in Winter

Do you read winter or seasonal books that bring you happiness or contentment around the holidays?

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Christmas Book Ideas

Here are just a few ideas if you are looking for something great to read. Some are classic but maybe you have only seen the cartoon or movie. There is nothing like the book! You can put it down and pick it up at leisure too. Don't take a pill for holiday stress...read a book!

1. The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans

2. A Christmas Treasure is a collection of classic stories and poems that commemorate the yuletide season. Illustrated with the work of Arthur Rackham, Mary Cowles Clark, Alice Ercle Hunt, the book features the full texts of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, as well as stories by Louisa May Alcott, Lucretia Hale, Harriet Beecher Stowe, L. M. Montgomery, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, O. Henry, and William Dean Howells.

3. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

4. The Christmas Mystery by James Patterson

5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

6. The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

7. The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

8. Winter Storms - Winter Stroll - Winter Solstice - Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

9. Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

10. The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

For my Christian friends also check out christianbook.com. Fantastic reads!

Relaxation Music Also a 3 hour Christmas instrumental!

3 Hours Christmas Music

© 2017 Jackie Lynnley

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  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 10 days ago from The Beautiful South

    Thanks Peg! I myself am reading a few of these myself and just started the last one since Christmas.

    All were good!

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 10 days ago from Dallas, Texas

    Your photos are always so beautifully expressive of the topic. I love the books on your list and have actually read a couple of them. Looks like I have a wish list in the making for the next Christmas season.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I love reading all the time too, but love setting the winter and Christmas mood, Dianna.

    Merry Christmas!

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 2 months ago

    Great list on the Christmas books. I think I've read Huck Finn and Watership Downs over three times now. I just love to read -- don't need a reason.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I hope they won't Peggy for people will miss some good reading! If you haven't tried her you will absolutely love Robbie Branscum! I love hers better than Tom Sawyer to tell the truth!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

    That beautiful Celtic music is playing as I am typing this response. So lovely! I have always enjoyed reading and it started in childhood when my parents would read to us. Both of my brothers and I became avid readers. I think that book like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn will never go out of style.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thanks for the angels ps and I am going out right now for some. Love your beautiful picture!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 2 months ago from sunny Florida

    So many books, so little time. I always wished I could have electrodes hooked to my brain that would allow me to enjoy each book as if I were reading it ....bu would allow me 'time' to enjoy more more and more. Many great selections here...many I have read and enjoyed. Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Me too Bill on the Celtic music and this one put me to sleep while I was trying it out! Not kidding.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Oh you will love Me and Jim Luke MizB. Some parents may not like kids to read for a couple lines in there but it is not a sexual book and you will smile beyond measure, I promise! Please do read it and let me know!

  • lifegate profile image

    William Kovacic 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

    I don't necessarily read anything special during the holidays, but I love Celtic music. I fall asleep most nights listening to it, so thanks for including the video. Another good, informative piece, Jackie.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 2 months ago

    Wonderful holiday message, Jackie, but I just read because it is my addiction. I've had insomnia since I was 13, so I usually read until I'm sleepy every night, and I keep my Kindle by the bed just in case I wake up and need a "fix". I recently read some guy's advice on "sleep aids", and the jerk said that if you can't sleep, don't reward yourself by reading until you can fall asleep." WHAT! He considers reading a reward! What else does he think reading is...or isn't?

    I read almost all of the children's books that you mentioned and loved them. Of course, I can add the teen-age mysteries like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to the list. When I was in junior high, I read every Civil War novel by Joseph Altshelter that I could find. Now I'm going to have to get a copy of Me and Jim Luke. Sounds like it's just up my hillbilly alley.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Nothing is as good as a hot drink while living through a blizzard with Laura Ingalls, Nikki! Make you wish you could step back in time and share it.

  • nikkikhan10 profile image

    Nikki Khan 2 months ago from London

    That’s good to know,,your reading range is quite a lot,,and at Christmas it’s always good to read snow, winter, and of course delicious food is best in cold days to keep your mood fresh and full of energy.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Me too Nikki, maybe just from having a book store I don't know but my reading range is about as broad as I can imagine. At Christmas though I like the blizzards, snow, comfort foods and just what makes for a good holiday!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    True Mary, it may not be anyone's first choice for a present but it is one that lasts and is always there! Can't beat that really if it is one we know they will love.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    That is great Eric. A lifetime of good memories for both of you!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thanks Dora, I agree, once kids get hooked they stay hooked. That is always a good thong!

  • nikkikhan10 profile image

    Nikki Khan 2 months ago from London

    Hi Jackie,

    Sorry was bit busy,,got to read your article now,,Amazing selection of books,,will read those over.I always buy my kids reading books,,I love to read with them.

    Personally I like kids and novels too,,I like to read books on politics as well.

  • Blond Logic profile image

    Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

    I used to read to my kids and we all enjoyed it.

    I'm not familiar with Robbie Branscum but it sounds like I should be as I enjoy the Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn adventures.

    Giving books at Christmas is a wonderful tradition, but I think some kids may not initially appreciate them but will pick them up time and time again throughout the year.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    A very good piece of writing. I respect your ability to read stuff you just don't like.

    My son has just turned the corner into wanting to read aside from school work. Now he reads to me stuff that is really cool.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

    Jackie, a good read about reading. Thanks especially for the section on reading with the children. We must not underestimate the benefit of helping the young ones get hooked on reading.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I see we are kindred spirits Rasma. I loved the music too and that first one put me to sleep first time I listened to it. The three hours of Christmas music I will be using often in the next few weeks.

    Thank you.

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

    Thank you for all the book ideas. Loved the music. I too have the entire Little House series and love reading the books time and time again.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you Ven. I hope you do get time to enjoy your books. We can go anywhere with a book can't we? Movies just do not compare in my opinion to a book.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    That is great Linda. There really are some terrific children's books I think and of course so simple is why they are so relaxing too. Thank you!

  • Venkatachari M profile image

    Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

    Very interesting and informative article. I love books, even though I don't find ample time to read. Just added the book "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens to my list of books to be read.

    I have more than 40 books with me at present out of which read only 12 books.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    I enjoy reading children's books as well as adult ones. Thanks for all your suggestions, Jackie. I'll read some of the books from your list over Christmas.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you Diana. I forgot about western romance. Seems a lifetime ago but I have read those too. One I think by Lois L'amour if memory serves me well!

  • Diana Lee profile image

    Diana L Pierce 2 months ago from Potter County, Pa.

    You have a good selection here. I find many of the classics very entertaining and although my favorites are western romance, I like biographies and true stories as well. Little House takes care of that quite well.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    I know it is crazy Peg that I could read true crime but not Stephen King but although both scare me Stephen likes to do it as gory as he can, lol. I never judge what anyone likes to read and as long as we enjoy it has to be what we like.

    Watership Down is a far cry from Stephen's writings but I did love it and have the DVD, too! Of course it is not near as good.

    Having a book store gave my kids a great variety to choose from.

    Thank you!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Ann, you are welcome and of course there are way too many to name but many of these like the Laura Ingalls and Robbie Branscum are just books you want to read over and over all your life...or I think so!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    You are welcome Kari, and thank you. Little House is true is why it is so great to me and those hard times! Really make you thankful.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    If DIY relaxes you Bill, then so be it! I am sure you are maybe looking into some holiday DIY? Well, wouldn't hurt!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Best wishes to you also Anusha. I forgot to mention that many of my customers also treated me like their shrink! Shocking, but I miss it!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image
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    Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you Linda and I do know you are so pleased you keep the reading going even after they learned!

    I know just writing this has me in the planning mood for some new reads!

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

    The books sound like great mood setting material. I have wanted to read Watershed Down and will put it on my Christmas wish list. I have read The Christmas Train by Baldacci and I'm ready to read it again this year along with some of your other recommendations. Wow, I didn't know you had a book store. I used to read a lot of Stephen King but it's been a while now.

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 2 months ago from SW England

    I loved Watershed Down and I always did read with my children and now it's the grandchildren. They all love books, I'm glad to say.

    Even now I go back to my own childhood books, like Winnie the Pooh, Swallows and Amazons, The Wind in the Willows and, a lesser known one, Carbonel.

    I belong to a book club so over the last few years I've read a load of books. Only a few stand out though.

    I've only heard of a couple on your list but I'll look up the others and give one or two a go. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Ann

  • k@ri profile image

    Kari Poulsen 2 months ago from Ohio

    I have never read the "Little House" series, but I bet I would like them. I seem to have to read, at least a little, every day. I read every night before bed. It's a habit I picked up as a child. I need to read "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus". I do love L. Frank Baum. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

    I am in a rut regarding reading. For some reason nothing at the library looks good of late, so I've been reading DIY books. LOL Not the most stimulating, but at least it's reading, right? Thanks for the suggestions!

  • anusha15 profile image

    Anusha Jain 2 months ago from Delhi, India

    Regular Reading habits definitely help the writers, unless they are god-gifted exceptional creatures of course.

    Not only we improve our phrasing and sentence construction, but good books inspire us to develop our "voice" too, to strive constantly in order to improve our connection with the readers.

    Your customers' assumption was really funny indeed. :)

    Best wishes for the festive season.

  • Carb Diva profile image

    Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

    Jackie, I love this article. Reading DOES put me in my happy place. Escapism for sure. I enjoy almost all genre's (not a big fan of Sci-Fi and don't like anything with too much gore).

    I have such fond memories of reading to my daughters when they were young. In the first years they shared a bedroom. Then twenty-five years ago we moved and they each got their own bedroom. I still wanted to read to them--what to do?? I sat in the hallway that separated their two rooms and read to both of them from there. By that time we were no longer doing Goodnight Moon, but were into the chapter books. We did the Little House series, Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte's Web, etc. I think those were the best years of my life.

    As a writer I enjoy seeing how others write. All of us have the same words at our disposal. It's how we put them together that is simply so exquisite.

    Thank you, and now it's time to head to the library. I need some new books in my life. I hope you have a wonderful day!

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