Long Books to Read Over the Holidays (When You Need to Avoid Family)

Spending time with family can be a welcome part of the holidays, but for introverts like me, it can also be overwhelming. Sometimes I (and others like me) need to step away for awhile. Multiple books can take up a lot of bag space, so I find it easier to just bring one really long book. You can also use the book as a conversation topic when you are ready to re-engage with people. I have listed broad types of books with titles as suggestions, so you can adjust it to match your taste and personal needs.

The Comprehensive Short Story Collection

Short sections allow you to step away for a few minutes and come back, and they also provide something completely different to talk about after each story. Another bonus is discovering new authors based off of stories that stand out to you. One that I particularly enjoy is “The Big Book of Science Fiction,” but if you prefer mysteries, try “The Big Book of Female Detectives.” For paranormal romance there’s “The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2,” and many others. Find one that fits your preference and you’ll be set.

The Classic

Impress your family by reading “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, or any other book which can give you bragging rights. Another option is an annotated edition, such as “The New Annotated Frankenstein,” and load up on fun facts to share about your book over dinner.

The In-Depth Biography

Ron Chernow works well for this. His new biography of Ulysses Grant has been getting a lot of attention, and his biography of Hamilton helped inspire the musical. If you prefer music to American history, give “The Beatles” by Bob Spitz a go.

The Book with the Popular Adaptation

Can’t wait for the new season of “Game of Thrones?” OPL has the book in its collection. Did you enjoy the recent “It” movie? Check out the novel. With so many books being adapted for TV shows, you have many options to choose from, including “Outlander,” “The Handmaid's Tale,”and several others. A book like this can be a great conversation starter.


These titles should get you started on your holiday reading. Many of these titles are also available in audiobook if you prefer not to avoid loved ones and just need something for the long drive. Apologies to my family and in-laws who will probably see this post... it's not personal. 

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