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(Not Just) Christmas in July

July 14, 2022

Every summer my parents pull out their Christmas movies as soon as the Fourth of July fireworks have faded into the distance. I don’t know why they are so obsessed, but they’ve corrupted me as well. This year, I added a couple other big holidays into the mix as well. Christmas is great, but it’s not the only holiday worth celebrating more than once a year.

Hanukkah (aka the Festival of Lights) is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century. It takes place over 8 Crazy Nights. In 2022, Hanukkah begins on December 18 and lasts until December 26.

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is the perfect Jewish daughter to her father, the famous Rabbi Goldblatt, and her mother, the renowned Doctor Rubenstein. There’s just one problem: she loves Christmas and has spent her life writing beloved Christmas romcoms. When her old camp crush/archenemy reappears, Rachel has to decide if she’s ready to embrace who she is, or if it would be better to stay hidden. I highly enjoyed this book. While I didn’t quite get all the Yiddish words, they were fun to play with. Also, it made me hungry for rugelach. Mazel tov!

When I first saw this one, I was not excited about the twin-swap trope, but because it also included a bakery and baking competition. (I’m a sucker for a good holiday baking competition, what can I say.) When Charlie suffers a concussion on the set of her baking show, she loses her sense of smell and taste. In a panic, she calls her sister, Cass, to fill in for her until she heals so she won’t get fired. Cass agrees as long as Charlie will come to cover for her at the family bakery. This one took me a minute to get into, but once I did, it captured me and wouldn’t let go. I loved Miguel and Jake. If this becomes a series, I am definitely coming back for a second helping.

Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” In 2022, Diwali is Monday, October 24.

Niki has spent her whole life being the perfect daughter as compared to her wild and crazy sister. But when she loses her safe analyst job, she throws caution to the wind and travels to India for her best friend’s wedding right after the festival of Diwali. While at one of the many parties to celebrate the wedding, she meets Sam. But is he a fling or a real relationship? Niki goes to India to get away from her life, but she ends up possibly finding her future. Before reading this, I didn’t know much about Diwali. It was fun to learn about a different holiday and fall in love with the characters at the same time.

I included Bayliss’s Twelve Dates of Christmas in last year’s Christmas in July post, and since I really enjoyed that one, I knew I had to read her new one. My two favorite parts about this are that it is more of a holiday book – not just Christmas – and that the main character is older. Annie is the mom of the grown twin boys when she finds out her husband continues to cheat on her. In their restaurant. Looking for a new start in life, she takes a caretaker job at a seaside cabin. One of the blurbs on the cover of the book says this is a “cozy, winter read.” I would agree to that wholeheartedly. This book made me want to curl up in front of a fire and dig in. Excellent sophomore attempt from Bayliss.

Happy Holidaying…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.

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