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Stocking Up On Our Favourite Holiday Audiobooks

By Kathryn Alley, Cameron Phillips, Nuria Berbel Torres and Sarunicka Satkuruparan

As the days get shorter and colder, we are here to bring the Christmas cheer; celebrate the end of the year and the holiday season with us as we share our recommendations on which audiobooks you should check out to get you into the festive spirit!

Sarunicka’s Pick:

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is a story of festive diary-like entries retelling, author and narrator, Adam Kay’s life as a junior doctor during the most wonderful(ly challenging) time of the year.

From parents asking for perfectly timed caesareans so their twin babies can be born in separate years to Kay’s regret at not fulfilling a patient’s last request for honesty – what is most appealing about this listen is Kay’s ability to capture highs and lows, joys and horrors and the polarities of human experience so well. He tells stories which are laugh-out-loud funny whilst never failing to highlight the weight of having an NHS job and the sacrifices that can never be spoken about enough. His narration serves as another example of his naturalness at being an entertainer.

A listen perfect as a stocking filler for those mid-afternoon lulls and in between Christmas and New Year’s Days, Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is fun, surprising, profound and relevant. A festive read for those looking for a good time not a long time.

Nuria’s Pick:

A Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas staple; truly, no festive reading list would be complete without this classic tale of redemption that reminds us of what is the true meaning of Christmas. With its rich descriptive scenes and simple structure, it takes us on a journey across time in the way of parables, where we learn alongside Mr Scrooge that it is never too late to be kind and charitable.

The novella is also a great pick, as there is a vast array of narrators over many different platforms, including celebrity readers such as Tim Curry or Hugh Grant, providing the reader with an ample choice of reading style. There are also many dramatised versions of this audiobook across different radio shows that make sure to grab your attention from the start.

On average, the audiobook ranges between ninety minutes to three hours of listening time, depending on which version is picked, making this a perfect activity to cosy up with a hot chocolate during a rainy evening, either alone or surrounded by family. Relax and drift into Christmas time in the Victorian era.

Kathryn’s Pick:

The Nutcracker ballet is a beloved holiday tradition for young and old alike to experience the magic of Christmas come to life on stage. Dancers and audience members agree that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the beauty of Tchaikovsky’s score or the brilliant skill of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Thankfully, Steven Simon has adapted the classic ballet into an audiobook perfect for holiday festivities at home.

This listen is sure to delight audiences of all ages with a tale of imaginative fantasy and daring courage. Narrator Jim Weiss, is brilliantly paired with the London Philharmonic Orchestra to craft an audiobook that captures the essence of Clara and the Nutcracker. Weiss is a gifted storyteller whose narration blends familiar pirouettes and jetés with rich detail and heart. Particularly in the memorable scene, the Waltz of the Snowflakes, Weiss and the London Philharmonic Orchestra are enchanting and truly cement the listen as the quintessential holiday staple.

Whether you return by stage or audiobook, The Nutcracker is a lovely tradition to brighten your holiday celebrations and gift to family and friends.

Cameron’s Pick:

I always stray towards the classics during the winter time. They give me a sense of familiarity, comfort and warmth. Last year it was Dickens, this year it is The Winter Garden by Alexandra Bell, narrated by Eleanor Jackson. On the evening of eight-year-old Beatrice’s mother’s death, she receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden, which would become her sanctuary for the next seven days. After it disappears, she wonders whether it was truly real. Eighteen years later, she leaves her arranged wedding in search of the garden.

This is a book that interweaves whimsical darkness, using the contrasts of painful reality and sparkling magic to really dig deep into emotional character development. It must be said, there are some serious trigger warning topics within the book, so this is a quick warning before reading, but it approaches these subjects with great finesse and care. I thought the exploration of motherhood was an extremely interesting and well done one, and I’m always a sucker for a Victorian setting, which Bell uses as both a thematic backdrop and a cage. The switching between the two main characters, Rosa and Beatrice is a nice dichotomy, and offers a good amount of variation with their parallel stories, origins and motivations. This is a book quite clearly inspired by The Night Circus, but I do think it is very much worthy of its own praise and efforts.


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