Christmas 2020 is going to be a strange one, but with restrictions being eased for a few days, some individuals will be travelling as usual.
Even if you’re not travelling, you’ll probably find yourself with a lot of extra time on your hands, as you’re not able to attend the parties and family gatherings that you usually go to during the festive season.
With so much extra time, you have no excuse not to curl up by the fire in a warm blanket with your favourite snacks and reading.
While the length of a book isn’t usually a big issue, shorter texts mean that you’ll have to take more books with you on your journey, and that you’ll have to get up and grab another, which is a pain when you’re already comfortable.
That’s why I’ve listed 5 amazing long reads that will keep you out of trouble during the festive season this year.
5. A Promised Land: Barack Obama wasn’t a perfect president, but he is a good man with incredible moral standards and a unique vision for his country. While he has written non-fiction books before, A Promised Land is the first part of his series of memoirs, which detail his life experiences, including becoming the first black president of America. The book goes charts his journey from his first political ambitions through to his time in the White House, and the challenges he faced trying to unite America and battle against a corrupt system and systematic racism. His wife’s memoir, Becoming, is an amazing read, and the same can be said for A Promised Land.
4. Vesper Flights: Written by the author of the incredible H Is For Hawk, Vesper Flights is a collection of nature essays from this renowned nature expert. Helen Macdonald shares her thoughts on a wide range of topics, including trees, nests, mushrooms and even the issues that come when farming ostriches. Much like its predecessor, the book is a combination of pastoral excellence and personal memoir, making it a fascinating insight into both the natural world and Macdonald’s life. As a collection of essays, it makes for varied reading that will ensure that you’re enthralled throughout your time travelling or curling up in front of a warm fire with a tub of celebrations. As a non-fiction book, Vesper Flights is not only enjoyable to read, but it will also inform you and teach you about both the world of nature and human nature itself.
3. Furious Hours: If you’re a fan of true crime, then Casey Cep’s Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud And The Trials Of Harper Lee could be the perfect option. It’s split into three parts; the first tells the tale of the Reverend Willie Maxwell, whose family members died in mysterious circumstances only for the Reverend to collection on their insurance policies. Then Cep moves on to the tale of the Reverend’s murder, at the funeral of his stepdaughter, who was also killed in mysterious circumstances and with a large insurance policy waiting for the Reverend to collect on. Finally, the author moves on to the tale of how Harper Lee, author of the acclaimed To Kill A Mockingbird, tried and failed to document the murders and create a book to rival Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. The book is an incredible true crime expose that will keep you intrigued for many hours over Christmas.
2. Troy: The follow-up to Mythos and Heroes, Troy: Our Greatest Story Retold is Stephen Fry’s latest attempt to make the Greek myths accessible to those who aren’t classics scholars. The book brings the myths and legends of the city of Troy into a whole new light. It’s a long book that breathe new life into these classic tales. Fry has an amazing knack for turning complicated topics into accessible books (his poetry book The Ode Less Travelled is a fantastic primer for anyone looking to get into writing, reading and generally understanding poetry), and he uses it again when writing Troy. If you want to learn and be entertained at the same time, then this a perfect book for you to grab before you head off on your Christmas holidays.
1. The Killings at Kingfisher Hill: The latest in Sophie Hannah’s series of reimagined Hercule Poirot novels is engaging and unique. It incorporates the unique nature of the protagonist with new, creative story lines. The novels would make the original Queen Of Crime, Agatha Christie, incredibly proud. In this latest novel, Poirot and his sidekick, Sophie Hannah’s own creation named Inspector Catchpool, try to uncover the truth behind a series of mysterious deaths at Kingfisher Hill, a fancy private housing estate. Even before the pair arrives at their destination, they encounter unusual occurrences that give them a taste of the strangeness that’s still to come. For mystery and crime fiction fans, this is a must-read.