Western Living Magazine
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The greatest Christmas gift of all? A few hours alone with a good book. Here's what Western Living's editors are reading.
The get-togethers and celebration and meals and presents are all well and good, but one of the true joys of the holiday season is finally having a chunk of time to get lost in a book. Whether you can steal away an hour on Boxing Day or have a luxurious few days on the beach to spare, the Holiday Read is a special one. Here’s what our editors are cracking open to escape the holiday hubub this year.
I gave my mother some very strong hints that I wanted her to give it to me for Christmas (“I want this book, buy me this book”) so I’m pleased that I have manifested this moment: spending the holiday lull tucking into David Sedaris’ latest. Happy Go Lucky promises to deliver more of the author’s inimitable memoir-essays—though this collection focuses heavily on his father’s passing and the Covid pandemic, so I’m expecting it to skew a little more dour than earlier works. But tragedy is often where Sedaris shines: his gift for catching small-scale, all-too-human moments and observing the world with a self-aware pettiness is where his unique humour lives. Can’t wait to spend the holidays with him.—Stacey McLachlan, editor at large
Andrew Sean Greer’s first novel, Less, had one of the most satisfying endings I’d read in a long time—to the point where I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to see a sequel to that sweet rom com. And yet, I’m excited to dig back into the world of Arthur Less and his partner Freddy Pelu. It’s a little deja vu—once again Arthur is avoiding life by taking on a series of book tour dates, this time across the midwest. He’s lost a former partner, he’s estranged from his father—but as the book jacket promises, it’ll become clear that escape never truly means escaping oneself. Give me a sofa, the Christmas tree lights and what I’m sure will be a satisfying (and funny and heartbreaking) journey into dealing with past demons. —Anicka Quin, editorial director
Tackling a novel over the holidays sounds good in theory, but I often find I’m so distracted during the festive season that it’s hard to zero in on one, long narrative. That’s what makes cartoons like Kate Beaton’s so awesome—they’re bite-sized, friendly, and easy to giggle at and share with the person next to you without having to explain an entire plot they don’t care about. Comics are still often thought of an art form that’s just for kids, but I really appreciate how much style and emotion illustrations can bring (not to mention humour). A friend gifted me this collection of history/pop culture-inspired cartoons a few months ago and I haven’t gotten the chance to crack it open yet—the 2022/2023 holidays are going to be the perfect time.—Alyssa Hirose, associate editor
I’ve wanted to read this book of essays ever since I first spotted the very cool cover (I know exactly how to judge a book, OK?). Finding legendary Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon’s name on it only sealed the book deal for me (the deal being “reading it as soon as I have a little bit of free time”). I’ve always been a fan of biographies and non-fiction; add music to that mix, and you’ve got the Venn diagram of my specific reading appetite. With a talented array of female-identifying contributors known for kicking down doors as pioneers in the rock world, this feels like the perfect literary treat to get me ready to kick down doors of my own, right into 2023. —Kerri Donaldson, assistant editor
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