Seasonal Fare–The Winter Quartet by Elin Hilderbrand

This poignant series follows the Quinn family, owners of the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket. I have looked forward to each new installment of this series for the past four years. Hilderbrand’s books have wonderful descriptions and characters that make you feel as if you are celebrating the holidays on Winter Street in the company of this flawed and loving family. Enjoy!

Seasonal Fare–The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

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A short and sweet holiday tale from acclaimed suspense novelist David Baldacci.

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.

Seasonal Fare–Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

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Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the snowman; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences – and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition.

Seasonal Fare–The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

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This month’s theme is “seasonal fare.” Fun, sweet fiction that centers around the holidays. My first pick is The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. In this modern-day fable, workaholic executive Lou Steffen shows an uncharacteristic burst of generosity towards Gabe, a homeless man who always seems to be in two places at once. With Lou’s personal and professional fates at important crossroads and Christmas looming, Gabe resorts to some unorthodox methods to show his stubborn patron what truly matters and how precious the gift of time is. But can Gabe help Lou fix what’s broken before it’s too late?

Oh! The Holiday Cheer….. BAH!

It is that time of year again, the crazy holiday season. The time when it seems every one is stressed, tired and very irritable. Whether it be on the road, standing in those long lines at the check out or just plain dealing with the regular folk in your life, it can be a trying time.

Why is that when the Holidays stroll along your family can turn into these uptight crazy people? It is almost impossible to please everyone on your list. How can you find your inner peace during this hectic time? I am trying desperately to stay focused on the good, to stay calm and just go with the flow. I admit, I am struggling a lot with finding my inner “happy place”.

Thankfully, the OWL has the solution. Find your peace, focus on the issues that matter, and enjoy a laugh along the way with these books that I recommend:

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss is an absolutely hysterical book. Truss delves into the death of civil discourse, the loss of customer service, the refusal to live by any rules but one’s own, the all to common use of profanity, the dismissal of criticism, and the lack of responsibility. Each examination is not only an opportunity to rant but a thoughtful and intelligent effort to understand the obnoxious behavior.

Miss Manner’s Guide to Domestic Tranquility: The Authoritative Manual For Every Civilized Household, However Harried by Judith Martin. Miss Manners reminds the confused of basic civilized manners: no nosiness, no exploitation of social events for business purposes, no taking note of others’ rudeness, and taking an interest, whether faked or genuine, in one’s guests. Half-judge, half-humorist, Martin is very entertaining.

10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace by Dr. Wayne Dyer PH.D. Dyer suggests having a mind that is open and attached to nothing, treating yourself as if you already are what you’d like to be. You apply the  wisdom of avoiding all thoughts that weaken you. The book is complimented by peaceful pastel-colored watercolors.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff….and it’s all small stuff by Richard Carlson. Carlson provides common-sense advice for living a less hectic and more meaningful life. His essential message is that we get caught up in “the small stuff,” and never get around to doing what makes us or those around us happy. He advises readers to engage in such small kinds acts such as paying someone a compliment daily or writing a letter to a friend. Carlson urges small daily changes to bring about a more peaceful self.

Five Good Minutes in the Evening. 100 mindful practices to help you unwind from the day & make the most of your night by Jeffrey Brandley, MD and Wendy Millstine, NC. This book  offers 100 mindful exercises, visualizations and affirmations for busy readers who have trouble letting go of the workday. Restore your evening to a calm, serene experience and connect with your family. (have a nice dinner)

8 Minute Meditation: Quiet your Mind. Change Your Life by Victor Davich. This book offers a simple, easy program to help beginners experience reduced stress and increased focus in only eight minutes a day. Designed by meditation expert and bestselling author Victor Davich, this program teaches the basic principles of meditation.

An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama, edited by Nicholas Vreeland. Dalai Lama continues to spread his message of compassion beyond the borders of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama teaches us that mediation is merley the process where we gain control over the mind and guide it in a more virtuous direction. Meditation is used also as a technique used to diminish the force of old thought habits and develope new postive ones. This book is a treasury of teachings that point clearly to a better way to live.

And finally if you just cannot find that inner peace– and all else fails– turn to Chocolate From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers by Nick Malgieri. Triple Chocolate Pudding on page 202 will do the trick for me. How about you?

This post is authored by Audra