Stack of books

Holiday Reading List

November-December 2017 Inscribed

We asked YTI faculty, staff, and friends to share some of their favorite holiday-related books. Following are recommendations for reading (and listening!) this Christmas season:

“A Christmas Carol” – Charles Dickens (London: 1858)

Dickens captures not so much the historic birth of Jesus, but rather the anxiety of modern man in an industrial world and the lengths to which God goes to redeem us from ourselves. A powerful reflection every year.

— Jay Smith (President, Professor)

“My Antonia” – Willa Cather

This is a wonderful book about the settlement of the Nebraska prairie written by one of America’s most gorgeous writers. Here she presents a compelling story of the immigrant family struggling culturally and practically to carve out their lives in midwestern America. Although it isn’t a Christmas book per se, it does relate a lovely Christmas family experience within the broader narrative. The book is especially precious to me—when I recommended it to my now husband, he said it was one of the reasons he fell in love with me… He thought I had good literary taste!

— Betsy Quammen

“The Gift of the Magi” – O. Henry

A story of love and sacrifice that exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas.

— Kim Treat (Recruiting)

“Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas”

One of my pastors has recommended that over the holidays I read this collection of 50 of the world’s greatest spiritual writers. Whether read on a daily basis or in between holiday celebrations, we can savor the words from C.S. Lewis, John Donne, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Madeleine L’Engle, Henri Nouwen, William Willimon, Dorothy Day, T.S. Eliot, St. John Chrysostom, and more.

— Molly Wilmington (Academic Affairs)

“The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” – C.S. Lewis

In this beloved tale by Lewis, four children emerge from a most unusual wardrobe into Narnia, where it has been “always winter, but never Christmas” for ages. But when Father Christmas arrives for a much-delayed holiday celebration that is both joyous and solemn, it is a sure sign that “Aslan is on the move” and hope is springing anew in Narnia.

— Matt Green (Communications)

“Snow Angels” – Over the Rhine

For my recommendation, I am (half, but unapologetically) cheating by urging a few listens to this unique Christmas album by a brilliant husband and wife duo. While the lyrics to most of these songs would be beautiful and deep enough if you just read them, when set to their soulful and diverse music (50’s pop, “Charlie Brown Christmas” jazz, a gorgeous & waltzy lullaby, and a different, folksy take on the “Little Town”), they are even better. Snow falls like forgiveness, a soldier dies young, Salvation Army bells ring, and a white horse rides through the snow so that we can “kneel where the oxen knelt/Where the little child was laid.”

— David Wilmington (Professor)