Skip to main content

Favorite Christmastime Books

I have my favorite fall books, for sure, but it's books for the holiday season that I really do come back to every year.  They're part of the tradition, like decorating the tree or making mincemeat (some of my traditions are a little weird).


A Christmas Carol In Prose.  Confession: I am not a Dickens fan.  I find it somewhat sloggy, and though I have good intentions of attempting a serialized read to mimic how Dickens meant his books to be read, I can't get up the enthusiasm when there are other things to read.  But my Dickens reticence does not extend to A Christmas Carol.  First, the length--it's technically a novella, and the pace is downright sprightly for Dickens.  Moreover, it has a bright wit that most film renditions don't quite capture what with the focus on the saccharine-sweet "God Bless Us Every One" moments.  There are complex family dynamics and a far clearer understanding of a broken man, Ebenezer himself.  Well worth the read.


Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann. Forget the ballet for a moment.  The book is weird, beautiful, and winsome.  The ballet takes some sharp turns from the "kernel of a hard nut" found at the heart of the original book, and though the ballet is lovely, reading the book deepened my appreciation for the story.  It's a love story, a story about growing up, and everything is possible--including a Land of Sweets that (spoiler) *isn't* merely a dream. Do yourself a favor and get the version illustrated by Maurice Sendak--yes, that Maurice Sendak--which captures exquisitely the fabulous, somewhat dangerous, fantasy that is Nutcracker.  (The staging of the ballet that Sendak designed sets and costumes for is on Netflix--it follows the original story more closely than most and is a delight to watch after reading the book.)


The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  Not technically a Christmas story, but remember--the enchanted Narnia is always winter and never Christmas, and Father Christmas does make a brief cameo in the story.  It's an old favorite that I love re-reading in the holiday burst of childhood nostalgia.

A Christmas Treasury of Yuletide Stories and Poems.  This anthology is one of many out there, and though many of the works found in it are certainly found elsewhere, it's the one I happen to have.  So I'm listing it.  Ha.  There are lesser-known gems in here--"The Water Bus" by Agatha Christie, "A Kidnapped Santa Claus" by L. Frank Baum (of Wizard of Oz fame--and yes, this is weird and fun, too), "The Sheep-Herd" by Sister Mariella (I cry every time), and "Christmas at Sea" by Robert Louis Stevenson (see previous).  Take the discovery challenge and read something you've never stumbled across before--like unwrapping a gift.


Do you have any holiday stories or books that you come back to every year?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In Which I Finally Get to Say: Orbit is Publishing My Book!

I realize I’ve been a little quiet around here recently.  Moms of toddlers will tell you that it’s when things get quiet in their houses that they know *something* is happening.  With toddlers, silent happenings are usually not a good thing.  In writing? They can be a really awesome thing.
Long story short (when does that ever happen writing novels?): I’m incredibly excited to announce that Orbit will be publishing my novel Torn in spring of 2018—and even more exciting, we’ll be publishing a trilogy! The story follows a seamstress who can embed good luck charms into her creations--and becomes entangled in a revolution.
Obligatory Publisher's Marketplace screenshot--because this little blurb means this is super-duper, 100%, don't bother pinching me official!


Long story less short: Want to have the most exciting day of your career and then sit on the news for months? Then writing and publishing books is for you!  This has been in the works for a while, and though I’ve known for…

In Which the Writer Fills Out a Form

I've been writing for years.  Even if I only count the years of "this is getting sorta serious, aiming for publication," it's been a long time.  In that time--about a decade--I never identified myself publicly as a writer.

I thought of myself that way--if I had to pick a few words that make up my personal self-portrait, "writer" would be one of them.  But I didn't introduce myself that way to other people, or talk about it on Facebook or in those polite small-talk conversations at parties. Some close friends knew that I wrote steadily; a few knew where I was in the long, circling road to publication.  I suppose, if you cornered me, I didn't feel like I'd earned that moniker--I hadn't sold a book, I couldn't claim it as a profession, I wasn't "really" a writer in a way that the world at large would understand.

Which is fine--this isn't one of those empowering posts about owning who you are and claiming the name "Wri…

New Year! New Goals!

It hit me as we toasted with pink bubbly and shared the highlight reel of 2017 around my friend's dining room table--this is the year my debut novel comes out.  WHAT.  For all of 2017's faults--and I don't mean to downplay them, especially for anyone who really struggled this year--it brought a lot of very positive change for me and my family.  An interstate move brought my husband a job he can excel at and took us closer to family and my "ancestral homestead" where we plan to build a house.  We had a baby, and we're all smitten with our second daughter. 
And I sold my debut novel (plus two sequels). 
This is all good stuff--really good stuff!--but as I told a friend at the end of summer, my life felt a little bit like the new car I was driving (yeah, had to buy a new vehicle, too--the newness of 2017 just didn't let up). It was nice, it was better, even, that what I'd had before, and I liked it a lot, but it didn't really feel like mine.  2017 wa…