Reading Lists: Staring at the Tree

Last year was my first ever with a Christmas tree and I LOVED it.  Since it currently gets dark around 4:15 PM, I like to turn on the tree as soon as the sun goes down and curl up on the couch with a good book and music playing softly in the background.  Here are a few to enjoy during the holiday season:

For the person who doesn’t want to help decorate:

“Animal Farm” – You can’t honestly think you’re able to enjoy all the Christmas cheer with zero responsibility, did you?  This book is just short enough that you can probably read the whole thing before you’re forced off the couch to help hang ornaments.  This classic novel about the social hierarchy of animals on a farm is also somewhat fitting, considering the political upheaval people are feeling in this month post election.

3 out of 5 stars.

For the person who sets the TV to fireplace mode:

“The Perfect Girl” – This psychological thriller is great for getting cozy on the couch.  After accidentally causing the death of three classmates, Zoe and her mother move to a new town and start a new family.  But when her mother is found dead the night after Zoe’s piano performance, she worries she’ll be blamed for the murder.  This is a quick read that isn’t really about a major twist.  You’ll likely figure most of it out early on, but keep reading because it is the insight into the characters themselves in those last 20 pages that I found very satisfying.  It makes you think: do the ends justify the means?  And when are secrets ok?

3.5 out of 5 stars.

For the girl who’s planning her New Year’s Eve bash before the Christmas tree is even decorated:

“Sarong Party Girls” – Jazzy, a party girl in Singapore, is ready to lock down an ang moh (aka: white ex-pat) husband.  She’s hatched a full plan for herself and her friends that includes going to all the right places and wearing the right things in order to meet the right men.  When I heard the book was written in Singlish (Singaporean English) I thought it would just be a few phrases (like “aiyoh” or “lah”) thrown in there, much like in “Crazy Rich Asians”.  But no, the whole narrative (not just the conversation) is written in this chirpy language.  It took me a while to get used to the slang and the cadence, but once I did, I enjoyed the literary trick.  It made the city come alive.

3 out of 5 stars.