7 soothing books to help you escape the holiday madness


Vancouver Public Library and V.I.A. have teamed up to help you discover new reads, hidden book gems and surprising literary finds. Check back every couple of weeks for the latest reading recommendations from the experts at Vancouver’s library.

Feeling the pressure of the holidays? Need to escape into an alternate universe where family drama, perfect present pressure and travelling woes don’t exist? These books will be your portal to that peaceful place.

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The Fifth Season (Book One of the Broken Earth Series) by N.K Jemisin

Escape the holiday madness by delving into the fantastical universe imagined by N.K Jemisin in the first book of her multiple award winning fantasy series Broken Earth. The Fifth Season – Book One is a rich and complex story about a world plagued by cataclysmic tectonic activity. When the capital city of a continent-wide empire is subsumed in a massive rift, no one is prepared. Good luck getting your shopping done once you’ve started this series!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

If your brain is foggy and you want to read “fluff,” but you can’t bear terrible writing, try The Kiss Quotient. The story is about Stella Lane, a 30-year-old econometrician with Asperger’s syndrome who hires a professional to teach her about dating and intimacy. Hoang’s debut is witty and charming and may be the “clever fluff” your brain deserves.

Lake Success: a Novel by Gary Shteyngart

If what you really need is a literal escape like a vacation or a road trip, try living vicariously through Shteyngart’s newest character, Barry Cohen. This Wall Street millionaire escapes his wife and autistic son to take a cross-country bus trip in search of his college sweetheart and ideals of youth.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

There is nothing like a warm and sunny setting during these dark and rainy days. Delia Owen’s evocative mystery is set in a small town in North Carolina where Kya Clark, known as the “Marsh Girl,” is suspected of murder. Where the Crawdads Sing is not just a mystery, it’s a love story, a coming-of-age tale and a meditation on nature – a perfect antidote to holiday consumerism.


10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-help That Actually Works  by Dan Harris

After suffering a panic attack on National Television, Dan Harris decided that he needed to make a change. While this book is part memoir and describes his personal actions toward finding inner peace, it is also a practical exploration of meditation/mindfulness.

How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine Price

You know your smart phone is contributing to the chaos of the holidays, but how do you tear yourself away? What if you miss an emergency? Catherine Price has the perfect solution. She does not tell you to throw away your phone, instead, she offers a practical, hands-on approach for developing a long-term relationship that feels good.

Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else by Maeve Higgins

Maeve Higgins was a best-selling memoirist and comedian in her native Ireland when, at 31, she moved to NYC for a new start. Her essays are a funny and smart look at topics as wide-ranging as the Muslim travel ban to a designer clothes rental service. There is no simpler way to ease holiday stress then to laugh-out-loud and Higgins’ essays are the perfect catalyst.

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