December 20, 2012

Christmas Books Follow-Up

For all my talk about my stack of Christmas books to re-read every year, I think in recent years I must have been reading only the Maeve Binchy: this year I'm getting to all of them, and most of them are not even familiar.

Right now I'm reading the two Miss Read books (Village Christmas and The Christmas Mouse), and I am reminded that this was the trajectory of my Miss Read reading: (1) the author was recommended to me; (2) I liked the books and read a whole bunch; (3) I requested the Christmas books for my Christmas book pile; (4) I found out my mother-in-law was a Miss Read fan; (5) I never read Miss Read again.

Reading them this year, I can see why my mother-in-law liked them so much: they're just bursting with older ladies who know what's best for everyone. A chunk of each book is devoted to the rich fulfillment found in hard work, pinched criticism of others' behavior, and regular church attendance; a larger chunk is devoted to how young people have all these crazy parenting ideas that need to be firmly corrected by the grandmothers---and how very, very grateful the parents and children will be for these firm corrections in their lives.

In short, there are ways in which my late mother-in-law lives on.

The David Sedaris book is new to me this year (I got it for Christmas last year), and I found some of it perfect and some of it not at all right for me. His job as a mall elf, yes; spoof Christmas letters in which something terrible happens to a baby, no. Christmas whore, yes; Christmas morgue and Christmas TV executive, less so. But I am the same about my Augusten Burroughs book, so perhaps I will just get used to The Parts I Skim.


I would like recommendations, if you have them, for other books to read at Christmas. I think the Christmas Book Stack needs refreshing, and I'm going to the library this afternoon. So far on my list I have Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher, recommended by Nowheymama. What else?

20 comments:

Anna said...

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. Which reminds me that I haven't read it yet this year.

el-e-e said...

Well, I don't normally read romance-y books but received one from a family member called Silver Bells, by Luanne Rice. It's sweet, without being overly sappy, I think, and it's set in NYC and Nova Scotia at Christmastime, so it feels very wintery. I really liked reading it near the holidays this year. :)

shin ae said...

I don't know, but this cracked me up.

I'm not much of a Christmas book reader, although I enjoyed an Agatha Christie mystery I read that was set at Christmas. I don't get the impression you love the mysteries, though?

Melinda said...

I just finished up the Maeve Binchy you recommended and I liked it. Thank you for that one. One of my favorites is "Nancy & Plum" by Betty Roberts. It is a children's book by the author of the Miss Piggle-Wiggle series that I find myself re-reading nearly every year. There is something very comforting about it to me with some small town old time adventure thrown in.

Kinsey said...

Comfort and Joy by India Knight! I love her and want her to be my best friend, but since that seems unlikely I'll just read her book every year and follow her on Twitter.

Joanne said...

I always like books where they celebrate old timey Christmas, like in the Little House series and Anne of Green Gables.

Nimble said...

Kids lit: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was reading it to my kids last December. The part where Father Christmas appears in Narnia is quick and just about perfect.

DrPusey said...

Another kidlit suggestion: Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, which is set at Christmas. (this is the second book in the series of that name) Anyway, I love it for its evocative talespinning of an English Christmas circa 1960-ish, and for its not-preachy treatment of the battle between light and dark.

mandy said...

Second vote for Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. It's quirky and hilarious and happy-making.

The BBC's TV version of Hogfather is decent too, if you're also looking for Christmassy things to watch. IMO the TV version is better if you've read the book first, though.

Surely said...

GUFFAW = "In short, there are ways in which my late mother-in-law lives on."

I have a stack of books as well that I've yet to open. Sigh.........
(nothing worth note...the Luanne Rice one mentioned above)

Anonymous said...

That is the only of David Sedaris' books that there were parts I would say to skim, the rest are great. I didn't care for the movie of his book, "Running with Scissors." I happened to listen to an audio book of his, in which stuff happens with an accent, and his way of expressing himself made me laugh and laugh.

Libby said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous, sorry!

Jolie said...

Have you read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham? It's fun!

Magpie said...

i think i maybe said this on the other thread, but truman capote's a christmas memory. it is simply diving.

Nancy said...

I'm not sure whether to recommend it or not, but my 'read every Christmas' book is Miracle and other Christmas stories by Connie Willis. The stories vary quite a bit in tone and mood: some are funny with a bit of romance, some are really quite odd and/or creepy, some are moving.

Auntie G said...

"Just" a short story, but the ultimate Xmas story for me, and one we read aloud every year when my sister and I were old enough to still sit and do so: The Gift of the Magi. Most of us know the basic idea, but the story itself is so very dear. When I was a classroom teacher I would read it to my students on the last day before break (and try...and fail...to make it through the whole thing without tears).

JennyF said...

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg is a nice light Christmas book- in the vein of Maeve Binchy.

Misty said...

Erm, all the Christmas stories by Debbie Macomber are seriously in demand at the library. Never read them though. Heh.

Nowheymama said...

The book I've read every Christmas since childhood is Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book. Lots of great short stories.

I just read A Christmas Carol for the first time this Christmas. My daughter read it, too, beating me to it by twenty-some years.

I'll stop now.

Anonymous said...

Hogfather is a great read, better if you know a bit of other Pratchett stuff too.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is our go-to book of the season- we often read it out loud, passing it along to the next reader when the current one is laughing too hard to be understood.