The Daily Texan’s book recommendation for twelve days of Christmas

Molly Tompkins, General Life & Arts Reporter

Christmas break provides the perfect opportunity to pursue your longing for travel, adventure, romance and knowledge. However, for those who still want to stay cozy and snuggled up inside as well, a good book makes the perfect compromise. The Daily Texan compiled a selection of books bridging various genres to accompany winter readers for the twelve days of Christmas.


A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Ove, a grumpy old man known for terrorizing his neighborhood, softens enough to share his story with the new nextdoor neighbors. Backman peels back the exterior of everyday life and reveals the histories of sorrow and joy that make the masks we encounter. 

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Across 13 short stories, Strout distills the problems, disillusions and persistent hopes that pester the day-to-day lives of the young and old in Crosby, Maine. She captures the grand scope in what appear to be small lives and offers continuous windows into the magnitude of the mundane. 

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende 

Generations of Chilean women cry out in the voices of Clara, Alba and Blanca. In an inherited tale of abuse, heartbreak and revolution, these women fight for political freedom, love and the right to be remembered.

Circe by Madeline Miller

In Miller’s gorgeous retelling, Circe spirals from living as an innocent comrade of humans to the victim of both gods and men. The crafty sorceress stands bravely for her love and freedom. 

Educated by Tara Westover

Cloistered with her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, Westover grew up preparing for the apocalypse. After teaching herself to read and write well, she left her family to pursue an education at Oxford and Cambridge. The book not only divulges her familial relationships, but also how receiving an education changed her life.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

How far can a person push the boundaries of morality, if they even exist? In this novel, Rodion Raskolnikov, a peasant in 19th century St. Petersburg, tests this question by attempting to murder a woman without regret.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Acevedo bundles the hurt, anger and adventure of adolescence into poignant bars of spoken-word poetry. Xiomara Batista seeks love and acceptance in her home of Harlem despite constricting rules of her religious mother. 

Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Ishiguro depicts a possible future in which Artificial Intelligence gains emotional capacity. His novel explores questions of whether AI can prevent the pain of loss and if the cost is love.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Life on earth seems hopeless under the tyranny of the Lord Ruler, until Kelsier, a weak Skaa, takes on the powers of the Mistborn. Before the renowned Stormlight Archives, Sanderson builds a unique world full of politics, war and love. 

“Catalogue Army” and “Bees Were Better” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Through everyday characters, domestic miracles and familiar scenes, Nye ushers questions about religion, service and the meaning of life. Describing her upbringing in San Antonio, Texas, and Jerusalem, Nye presents a unique perspective on American culture.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Berry, a climate change advocate and writer, uses this story of grief and gratitude to show America what is lost as a result of destroyed farmland: work, natural beauty and unconditional community. 

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

From within the familiar, mysterious constraints of a mansion and time loop emerges a riveting quest in which Aiden Bishop explores different bodies and plotlines to save the frequently-dying Evelyn Hardcastle. Shocking twists promise to leave the reader constantly flummoxed.