Readers love to curl up with a good book during the holidays when not busy with feasting, celebrating, and family.
Starting in 2020, I will be attempting over the span of the year, to offer my suggested reads for the following listed special days/events/holidays. It is my 2020 reading challenge. Why am I listing this now? Because I have a few books coming out over the next few months and need to post this now! 🙂 Everything listed below is from a Canadian’s perspective, which means I will need to include other cultures among those on my list because that is what Canada is about–multi-cultural. What I won’t list is something like “President’s Day” since we do not have a president. But you will see Martin Luther King, Jr.’s day to celebrate our own historical black Canadian culture, or Chinese New Years to celebrate our Chinese Canadian’s culture–both through their writing achievements in fiction and non fiction. Get the idea?
Canada is a diverse and multi-cultural nation full of wonderful people who celebrate many differences. This list will find me searching for books to share those differences with you. Hopefully, I will make it to the end of the list without being stumped and thus winning my challenge.
JOIN ME! CREATE YOUR OWN LIST CELEBRATING YOUR OWN COUNTRIES CULTURES, FOR THE 2020 YEARLY READING CHALLENGE!
These holidays are used to inspire my book selections and may not necessarily pertain to just the specific holiday noted, but could reflect on symbols of that holiday, nations and cultures affected and important places or figures pertaining to that holiday listed from a Canadian’s perspective.
Publishers, if you have any arcs that pertain to these events/holidays, send them along! Any errors on my part, please let me know right away! Disclaimer: this list is by no way a reflection on Canadians as a whole country but my own personal challenge. I absolutely do not wish to exclude any culture intentionally. Please contact me if you see anything I’ve missed or have misspoken about:
New Year’s Eve & Day: December 31st to January 1st
I will find novels that celebrate new beginnings, new discoveries, new epiphanies, or New Year’s Eve.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (USA): January 15th
I will find novels by upcoming and established black authors, novels about black history, slavery, racism, and other informational or enlightening novels such as those about historical rights activism, folklore and any other suggestions you’d like to send along. I will try to focus on Canadian authors, but might include one from other countries if I’ve enjoyed their work immensely and think you will too.
Australia Day: January 26
I will find and list novels by upcoming and established Australian authors, novel about Australia’s history, country, pivotal moments, folklore, adventures of the outback, and more.
Groundhog Day: February 2nd
I will find and list fun and interesting novels that surround this furry critter!
Valentine’s Day: February 14th
Stories of love, ooey gooey included, will be listed this one and only time of the year. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels unless they’re realistic, historical and/or have a twist that grabs my attention. I will also list books about Valentine’s Day here and anything else I find about this particular holiday.
National Flag of Canada Day: February 15th
All about flags, or as Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory, would say, “Fun With Flags,” day. Anything that’s written showing the shaping of Canada, the wars of Canada, the discoveries, pirates… anything to do with the flag and what it stands for, will be written here.
Chinese New Year: February 16th
I will find and list novels by upcoming and established Chinese authors, books with a Chinese or China theme, folklore, customs, ancestries, including Chinese dragons…
Family Day: February 19th
I will find and list novels that surround family events, themes, dynamics, drama. I can include good sit-down reads to share with loved ones too. You might see middle grade, tween and young adult books listed here.
Nova Scotia Heritage Day: February 19th
Nova Scotia has a huge heritage! I will include books written by authors from the Maritimes, filled with adventure, genealogy, history, and the founding of a great country by famous explorers. I will include mysteries and devastations, war stories… stay tuned…
Louis Riel Day: February 19th
Who is Louis Riel? What significance does he have with Canada? Teacher, founder and rebel… villain or victim of racial bigotry? Here will be books about the Metis people, about historical teachers, founders of communities and rebels, villains who suffered at the hands of a large faction. Books about rebellions, secret societies and hushed meeting places, the events surrounding the Red River settlement could be found here. Books about strong 1800 Canadian leaders and rebellions will be found here.
Yukon Heritage Day: February 23rd
Books about dog races, snow sculptures, queen contests, air shows, fiddle contests, dances, folk art and winter carnivals will be listed here. Other books about the Yukon, or Yukon themed, historical, or Canadian authors that have written about the Yukon, come from the Yukon will be listed here. Books about Yukon Gold, gold rushes, trappers, or wilderness survivors will be added to list.
Purim: February 28th at sundown & March 1st
Books about a deliverance from a royal death, dangers of being forced into exile, costume events, feasts and laughter will be presented here. Books written by Jewish authors, or with a Jewish theme may be presented here as well. Stories about the Jewish culture, Yiddish, or stories of Haman, Queen Esther and Mordecai could be included, even books about Hamantaschen (yes a cookie named for the three corner hat Haman wore).
St. David’s Day: March 1st
Book written from Welsh Authors will be listed here. Books written about Welsh Canadians could be included here. You may also find books about daffodils, daffodil themed, about leeks or leeks’ themed (yes an onion–remember Shrek claimed to be like an onion), novels written involving the Welsh flag, voyages, pirates, battles could be included, books about the culture and heritage of Wales, stories about balls, banquets or celebration in a Welsh setting could also be listed here. Stories about the 19th century explorer David Thompson and 20th century novelist Robertson Davies may be listed too.
Daylight Savings Time: March 11th
Why is this here? I couldn’t resist adding a listing of books about time. And what a list it promises to be. The clock is ticking…
Commonwealth Day: March 12th
As Commonwealth Day used to be called Empire Day, I will be listing novels written about the British Empire, or any other empires here. Books written by UK authors or about important UK people could be listed here. Books about the Royal Union Flag, shipping and sailing during the 1800s British Empire reign under Queen Victoria could be listed here. Books about Queen Victoria could be listed too. Novels written about the Canadians developing a separate identity from Great Britain or on how Empire Day became less important, or a reflection on changes in the relationship between Great Britain and her former colonies may also be included.
St. Patrick’s Day: March 17th
Books about St Patrick’s Day or even about how Newfoundland and Labrador celebrates St Patrick, a missionary who converted many of Ireland’s inhabitants to Christianity in the 5th century could be included. Why Newfoundland and Labrador, well that brings books about Irish immigrants to the table and how their first arrival to Canada was mostly through the harbors of Newfoundland and Labrador. Don’t forget the historical stories about immigrant Irish children, something else that could be included in my list for this day. Books celebrating the Irish culture, history and traditions may be listed too.
I’ll include any books about Irish parades. Did you know that the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal has been held every year since 1824. However, the first recorded celebration of St Patrick’s Day was in 1759 by Irish soldiers serving with the British army following their conquest of part of New France, a French colony in North America. Wouldn’t books about these events be a fantastic addition to my lists? I’ll be including books about Leprechauns and pots of gold, rainbows and banshees so hold on tight.
I’ll try to include books that showcase Irish cultural events, like a three day festival, or Irish battles, loves with a historical theme. Books about Irish families holding Irish themed parties and serving traditional dishes, such as Colcannon or Irish stew will be searched for. Books that showcase traditional Irish drinks including stout, a dark beer, and whiskey can be listed and let’s not forget green beer, green food and green clothing only!
March Equinox: March 20th
Books about day and night, night and day, equal day and night and opposites will be listed here. I will include any books written about equinoxes and solstices. Because this event has to do with the sun and the earth’s axis, I’ll be including books of the science fiction nature that also have to do with these two things, the seasons spring and autumn and things that happens during these phases. Science Fiction and Fantasy seem to be the target here.
One of the most famous ancient Spring equinox celebrations was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico. Therefore, I will be providing a list of reads about Mayan calendars, Mayan beliefs, and anything else Mayan.
April Fool’s Day: April 1st
Books about people being foolish, tricksters, jokers and pranksters will be listed here.
Easter Monday: April 2nd
Books about Easter bunnies, Easter eggs and Easter egg hunts will be included here. I will attempt to include books about the rebirth of nature in the spring and the promise for new beginnings and life in the spring and summer. Easter Monday is a holiday in many English speaking countries, including England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Australia, and European counties. The tradition of having a holiday on the day after Easter Sunday was brought to Canada by European immigrants. So I will include books that share stories of Easter in these countries or use settings revolving around these countries and their cultures.
Books about spending holidays this time of the year with family will also be included if possible. I will also include books on resurrection, spending time with families and rediscovering self. The battle of Vimy Ridge, which was part of the larger battle of Arras in northern France, began on Easter Monday, which was April 9, in 1917. About 30,000 Canadians fought at Vimy Ridge and claimed victory. However, this victory came at a high cost. The Canadians suffered about 11,000 casualties. Of these, nearly 3,600 Canadians were killed
National Tartan’s Day: April 6th
Books about Scotland, set in Scotland or written by a Scottish author will be included in this list. Books about tartans, clans, folklore and traditions could also be included. I will try to include books with Scottish parades with pipe bands, highland dancing and sports, and other community gatherings with Scottish-themed events.
I will attempt to find books on the Declaration of Arbroath, signed in 1320, battles involving the scots and fiction with a Scottish flavor.
Vimy Ridge Day in Canada: April 9th
Books about the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be listed here. I will also list other books that are about other battles involving Canada. I will list books using a war museum theme or setting. Any books fiction or non fiction that I can find that have historical story-telling about the battle of Vimy Ridge will be included, or any other battle in France during WWI. I will list books about soldiers during WWI, both fiction and non fiction and any novels written about the time surrounding WWI. I will include WWI books.
Yom Hashoah (Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah) in Canada: April 11th
I will include books written by German authors, books written about Germany during WWII, books about the Holocaust, books about Hitler, books written about events coinciding with WWII. I will list books about victims of the Holocaust, villains who participated in genocide and heroes who made a difference. Anything about families who lived and survived written fiction or non fiction using WWII as a setting could be listed.
St. George’s Day in Canada: April 23rd
Books about knights slaying dragons, princesses, fighting for water, wells, jousting, swordfights, and castles will be listed here. I will also list books written about flags, ships, pirates and other related materials not already listed elsewhere and related to the emblem worn by St. George.
Lag B’Omer in Canada: May 3rd
Books including celebrations, bonfires, outdoor events such as street festivals, barbecues and picnics, petting zoos, paintballing, camping and sports will be including here. Celebrations of life and recovery will also be a focus.
Mother’s Day: May 13th
I’ll include books about Mother figures which may include step-mothers, mothers-in-law, guardians (eg. foster parents), and family friends. It can even be about a grandmother. Any novels that celebrate or show issues with the “mother figure” in their character’s lives may be added to my list here. Books that feature cards, flowers chocolates, spending time with mothers, mother heroes, mother villains, mother allies, mother nature and mother of storms will be featured here.
Ramadan in Canada: May 16th
Novels featuring characters who do great work, charitable work, help the poor and unfortunate, will be listed here. I will do my best to list books that showcase authors who write about accomplishing amazing things that help others.
Pentecost in Canada: May 20th
Pentecost symbols include: fire, doves, wind and flames; therefore, I will be including books that showcase these things in books. Books that showcase stories, themes about seniors and children associated with the above will also be listed for this date.
Shavuot in Canada: May 20th
As a festival that has both agricultural and historical importance, I will list books that showcase premises surrounding both. Novels with settings on farms, orchards, vineyards and ranches may also be included. Historical novels depicting life in the 1800s might be listed here.
Victoria Day in Canada: May 21st
Books that mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring, those that have celebrations involving fireworks, firemen, parades and books about Queen Victoria and how Victoria, British Columbia was named after her will also be included. Books about people with recreational homes opening them up for the summer, and those whose setting is an amusement park or an outdoor attraction, or has these settings in their premises may also be included. I will be including books about kings and queens in this section, and stories where the plot shows a diminishing of power, or lessening of power by an outside source.
National Patriot’s Day in Canada: May 21st
Books that honor the rebellion against the British in 1837 may be included. Books about Quebec, British colonial life, any colonial life and rebellions involving French Canadians and Britain. Books about patriots, civil wars, colonization, and everything associated with the aforementioned may be included here.
Trinity Sunday in Canada: May 27th
I will list books that deal with “three.” I may include poetry in this section too. Books about Pope Gregory IX, or the era of 823 CE. I may include other novels that use symbols and puzzles to solve mysteries here too.
Father’s Day in Canada: June 17th
Books about fathers and father figure, including stepfathers, fathers-in-law, guardians (eg. foster parents), and family friends, will be listed on this day. I will list novels that have characters participating in Father’s Day fun runs and other events in which the proceeds go towards charity or prostate cancer research. Stories of family issues, single dad stories, bad dads, bad relationships made good, forgiven, forgotten or renewed may be listed on this day. Unusual father characters, unnatural father characters, books about fatherhood or anything similar may be listed here.
June Solstice: June 20-22
One of the world’s oldest evidence of the Summer Solstice’s importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June Solstice. Therefore, on this date, I’ll list books about Stonehenge and other mysterious places on Earth. Folklore and myths about the summer solstice may be included. Novels using the wonders of the world as settings may be included.
National Aboriginal Day: June 21st
Books listed on this day will cover unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of the nation’s Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Novels about Aboriginal people and their contributions towards the country’s development and progress may be included. I will list books written by Aboriginal authors, stories surrounding Summer solstice festivals, barbecue fundraisers, social networking gatherings with stories including traditional and contemporary music, dance and singing may be included too. Aboriginal stories about the Sacred fire extinguishing ceremonies, or those similar that may include traditional feasts, which may include fry bread and moose stew may be listed here. Traditions, folk lore, historical events involving Aboriginal peoples may be included in my list too. Novels written about Indians (First Nations), Inuit and Métis, along with their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs may be listed.
St. Jean Baptiste Day: June 24/25th
Since the fleurs-de-lis represents the flower of an iris or a lily, I will include books in this list that reflect these two flowers either by name or cover. I will also include authors with the flower name in their own. Because the fleurs-de-lis is also associated with the Virgin Mary and her purity, I will try to include books with the same premise, or those about ‘Mary and her purity.’
As a symbol of French speaking people and their kings after King Clovis I converted to Christianity in the year 493, any books portraying the fleurs-de-lis, or are historically significant to this time period surrounding King Clovis I may be included too.
Any novels about Kings from this time, plots about papal seals or coat-of-arms, converted kings, or reflect the strength and significance of the French nation may also be included.
Discovery Day: June 25th
Books pertaining to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, or use the provinces as settings may be featured here. Any novels written about Giovanni Caboto’s (also known as John Cabot), or his discovery of the province’s island portion may be added to my list. Books about explorers, premises set to new worlds, discovery of treasures, meeting new indigenous people, ports and trading camps, stories about undiscovered lands, long sailing journeys to the unknown, or anything similar may be added here too.
Canada Day: July 1st
Books about 1867, dominions, the early provinces of Canada, or any related/similar books may be included here. Books about citizenships, celebrations, books about heavy loss of life, the Battle of the Somme during World War I, invasions, Newfoundland during WWI, cenotaphs, British colonies of Nova Scotia, street dances, park bonfires and other related books may be featured here.
Nunavut Day: July 9th
Books that portray Nunavut history, traditions, folklore and celebrations, books about land disputes, academic achievements, cultural achievements and others similar to these topics in both fiction and non fiction may be included here. Books written by Nunavat authors may be added to my list. Books on historical people, accomplished Nunavats, books on the Northwest Territories, its life, struggles, pioneers and other similar books may be featured here.
Books on polar bears, icebergs, the North Star and other constellations, elders in a community, dark winter months, family and community, caribou, narwhals, land, sea, and ice, Purple Saxifrage (territory flower), the Rock Ptarmigan (territory bird), may be included in my list.
Orangemen’s Day: July 9th
Books on the Battle of the Boyne, which took place in 1690 outside Drogheda, now in the Republic of Ireland may be featured on my list here. Scottish and Irish authors may included. Books on the Orange Order, lodges, marching bands, picnics and communal dinners and dances, monarchs in the House of Orange in general and William of Orange in particular, British Monarchy, River Boyne, maple leaves and anything similar to the aforementioned.
The Royal St. John’s Regatta Day: August 1st
Books here will be about garden parties, rowing races, Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s, sporting events, Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward), Queen Elizabeth II, coronations, outdoor events, both fiction and non fiction will be featured here.
Heritage Day in Alberta: August 6th
Books about the Rocky Mountains, the Rocky Mountains’ Big Horn sheep, camping trips, hiking tours, or retreats, Fort Edmonton, books about wild roses, or any kind of ‘roses’, the great horned owl may be featured here. Books on traditions and folklore may be included. Albertan authors may be featured here. Rodeos, ranching and anything else similar may be featured here.
Civic Day: August 6th
Books written by Ontario authors may be featured here. Books about John Graves Simcoe, Toronto, John By, Rideau Canal/Waterway, Bytown, York, Upper Canada, Ottawa, architecture, building cities, creating new worlds, developing old worlds, and anything similar may be featured here.
Terry Fox Day: August 7th
Books on Terry Fox, Manitoba authors, marathons, running for cancer, cancer fundraisers, remarkable individual accomplishments, against the odds, walking or running events, struggles with life and death, books about pain, and anything related/similar to the aforementioned, may be featured here.
Gold Cup Parade Day: August 17th
Books about Prince Edward Island, or by authors who are from P.E.I. may be featured here. Books on giant helium balloons, parades, Charlottetown, Old Home Week, horses, racing, harness racing, traditions, folklore and other related topics may be listed here.
Eid-al-Adha: August 22nd
Books about Saudi Arabia, its traditions, cultures, folklore, Feast of Sacrifice, wonders, pilgrimages, compassion and forgiving will be listed here. I will also try to include books written by Muslim authors and those from Saudi Arabia.
Labor Day: September 3rd
Books about Labor disputes, laws, class actions, and disruptions will be featured here. Books about conflicts with trade unions, dock unions and work unions may be included. Books about football, coaches, players, or general fiction, may also be included. Books about the Toronto Trades’ Assembly, life in Toronto in the 1870’s, books on Sir John MacDonald, the Canadian Labor Congress, life in Toronto in 1883 to 1894, may be included too.
I may include books about relaxing and unwinding too.
September Equinox: September 22nd
I will include books about September, fall, harvesting, and those with the setting around this time of year. I will include books about back to school, at school, and school related stories in fiction and non fiction. Here I will try to list books about new friendships, loss of friendships, new relationships and improving on old, and anything else that is similar to aforementioned.
I will include in my list, books about Greek and Roman mythology especially those pertaining to this time of year too. Books on Higan and Nirvana and the Meiji period may be included too. Books about moon festivals, lotus blossoms and such may be listed too.
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi: October 4th
Books about St. Francis of Assisi, animals, 12th century traditions, folklore and way of life will be listed here. Books about the environment, catastrophes, storms, pollution, destruction and miracles will also be included. Novels written about the Franciscan Order, Portiuncula, Italy and traditions there may be included as will books about pets, pets as the main character, taking care of pets, different pets and similar may be listed too. Books about lepers, conditions of life in the late 12th and 13th century, and Pope George IX may also be included.
Thanksgiving Day: October 8th
I will include books about Thanksgiving Day, it’s celebrations, family time, or any fiction or non fiction that uses Thanksgiving as a setting. I may add books about the Mayflower, pilgrims, cottage living, cabins and such as a setting. Books on vacations this time of year may be included too. Cornucopias and other Thanksgiving symbols used in books and on covers, may also have that book listed here. Harvest time, especially of corn and other significant events around this time of year used in books, these books will also be listed.
Halloween: October 31st
Books with a Halloween theme, stories set during Halloween eve, or have settings that are specific to Halloween will be included here in both fiction and non fiction format. Creatures associated with Halloween, such as witches, demons, black cats, and other dark characters featured in books will also be listed here. Other characters seen on Halloween such as ghosts, ghouls and phantoms, that are written in books may be listed too.
Remembrance Day: November 11th
I will list books here that commemorate the sacrifices of all the people in armed conflicts. Books about events that occurred during wars may also be listed. In May 2000 the remains of a Canadian soldier who died in France in World War I, but was never been identified, were laid in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial, I will list any books on this subject. This list will pay close attention to books about WWI.
Christmas: December 25th
Books about Christmas of any genre in both fiction and non fiction will be listed here. I will include those from children picture books to adult.