updated 12/12/2013 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/12/2013 AT 5:00 PM ET
It’s a time for joy but also contemplation, as our staffers’ holiday picks (no, not A Charlie Brown Christmas) reflect. Tell us what you think – and let us know what you’re reading.
Her Pick: In the Suicide Mountains by John Gardner
It doesn’t sound very festive! But my mother and I used to read this every year, aloud to each other or with guests. With my mom gone awhile now, I ve been wanting to read it again. It s a cast of familiar fairytale-type characters with flaws or suffering they find unbearable. They each set out on a journey to kill themselves – and they find each other. You can guess the ending, but it’s very heartwarming and also funny – perfect for a non-traditional holiday read.
Liz McNeil, East Coast News Editor
Her Pick: Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill
I know it’s strange, but I often read O’Neill’s classic when I go home to San Francisco for the holidays. There’s something about his twisted yet tender portrayal of an Irish family – and all the references to fog (very Bay Area). It’s also comforting to reread my old dog-eared college paperbacks. And while there isn’t that much drama at our house, I do have a big Irish family
Donnamarie Barnes, Photo Editor
Her Pick: A Christmas Hope by Anne Perry
Perry’s annual holiday mystery novellas, set in Victorian England, are always a good, quick read. This year’s is about a wealthy woman’s attempt to prove that a poet is innocent of an attack at a society Christmas party. In searching for the real killer she discovers a deeper meaning to the holiday spirit. A wonderful book for a cold evening by the fire when a hint of Christmas is in the air.
Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week’s books to read with our kidsand more great book finds here.