3 Books to Read If You Are Struggling This Holiday Season

The holidays can be a joyous time for many, but there are also some of us who find this season to be particularly difficult. If you are having a hard time with depression, grief, or feeling lonely, I hope that the following three books can bring you some sense of comfort. As a bibliotherapist, I find reading to be very therapeutic, and reading can be particularly helpful during this time of year. Try taking some time for yourself each day, put on some soft music, and escape into a book. The process of reading will help to put your mind at ease, while providing you with a comforting escape.

A Book to Read if You Are Feeling Lonely

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Goodreads Synopsis

The Book Thief is a beautifully haunting book that highlights how beautiful and life-changing books can be. While this book is intense and heartbreaking in many ways, it helps the reader to feel less alone.

A Book to Read if You Are Dealing with Depression

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Goodreads Synopsis

The first time that I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I was really struggling with my mental health. Reading Charlie’s story helped me not to feel so alone, and I consider it to be one of the books that saved my life. It can be an intense read, but hopefully it will be cathartic for you as you are struggling with your own depression.

A Book to Read if You Are Impacted by Grief

The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.

Goodreads Synopsis

The beauty of this novel is that it has a fantasy feel to it, but the overall theme is about managing grief. It is full of heart, and my hope is that it can be a source of comfort for you to help you work through your own grief.

Even though these books are very intense, I find that sometimes the most heart wrenching books can be cathartic because they help us to process through our own strong emotions. I hope that these books can bring you a sense of comfort if you are struggling this holiday season. Please know that you are not alone.


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