Every holiday, Halloween included, I sit down and think about books I can read to get myself in the holiday spirit and think about holiday-themed books I can read to get myself in the mood and books I can recommend to others on the blog. Often, picture books come to mind—especially licensed ones. After that, I kind of draw a blank. A few years ago, I was asked by Riffle to recommend a Christmas book and had to choose between Christmas with Anne by L. M. Montgomery and Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien based on the fact they were the only books I could think of. And neither book is exactly recent. I want more holiday books.
Halloween is, perhaps, one of the easier holidays. I can just read something that’s generically creepy, like a mystery or a thriller or a classic Gothic novel and call it a day. The book doesn’t have to be “about Halloween” to have the right holiday tone. But other holidays are more of a struggle. I can’t really think of a Thanksgiving book or a Hanukkah book or a Christmas book or an Easter book that isn’t a picture book. Sometimes middle grade, especially young middle grade or early reader books, fit the bill. And there may be a few adult genre books that work. Christmas-themed romance novels seem to be a thing, for instance.
But in general? I can barely think of a good book in the young adult or adult range to read or recommend for any holiday.
I understand, from an industry perspective, why holiday books are not that popular (or should I say “profitable?”). You can only really sell a Thanksgiving book (US Thanksgiving here) in November. It’s not going to be a big seller once the specific holiday has passed. Publishers don’t want to invest time and money into publishing a book they don’t foresee as having a large print run or a reasonable chance to sell.
Yet, as a reader, I would really appreciate some more holiday books in genres and age categories I tend to read. I want a book that will put me in the holiday spirit, that I can pull out and reread year after year. Surely I can’t be the only one.
You can check out some of our Halloween(ish) book recommendations here. And let me know in the comments if you can think of a good book I can put on my list to read for Thanksgiving!