December 14, 2012

Christmas Books Reading List

On the post Christmas Propelling, I mentioned my Christmas books reading list, and then Becky and Betsy both asked about the other books on that list, so here they are:



The only one that is important to me that I read every year (i.e., I look forward to it as a significant part of Christmas, and will rearrange things to make sure there's time to read it) is Maeve Binchy's This Year It Will Be Different. I love it so much, and the stories are so familiar to me now that I start getting weepy and sentimental just OPENING THE BOOK, and I just really love it.

I don't know whether to recommend it to others, though. You know how people are like, "Oh, I read Anna Karenina every year and I just LOVE it so MUCH!," and then you read it and you think "OMG this is so incredibly awful and depressing and there are so many Russian names to keep track of I can't STAND it, I want to DIE"? You know how that is? Well, I love Maeve Binchy, but when I have recommended her in the past, it has sometimes happened that the recipient of the recommendation has referred to her books as "so depressing." Whereas I find them uplifting and satisfying and if anything a little overly undepressing ("Hey, everything works out right! Again!")---but that is how some people feel about dark Russian novels that have words such as "doomed" and "tragedy" in the descriptions, so clearly there is a certain element of crapshootage to the book-recommendations thing. And it would be hard for me to say that stories involving hideous and unspeakably-rude stepdaughters, sad affairs with married men, and canceled weddings were not A BIT on the doomed/tragedy side, if someone were to read This Year It Will Be Different and then call me out on that. And I don't know if I loved it quite so much the first time I read it. And so forth.

ANYWAY. It's my favorite Christmas book. And in fact I will buy a copy for someone. Leave a comment that specifically mentions it if you want to be included in the drawing; I think you ought to be able to comment on a post without being entered into a contest. My goal will be to get you a hardcover edition, because I think it's much nicer, but this means a gamble with a used copy from an Amazon Marketplace seller---speaking of crapshoots. They're always like, "NEW condition! BRAND-NEW!!" and then it arrives all dinged and scuffed. Which I wouldn't have MINDED if it had been LISTED that way.

So, as I was saying, This Year It Will Be Different is the one that's every year. Then I have Augusten Burroughs's You Better Not Cry (Amazon search results lead me to a $21.99 hardcover, but I see there is also an $8.80 bargain-priced hardcover so I linked to that), which I discussed in the Christmas Propelling post linked to above. This year I also have a new one in the pile: David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice. It has other holidays in it besides just the winter ones.

Two others on the pile are Miss Read books. They're a little hard to find, but I see there's a single volume that has both that can be bought used starting at about $4.00 (they say starting at a penny or two, but that doesn't take into account the four dollars shipping). There are in the "pleasant little tales of a quiet village" category, very nice for reading in a room with Christmas lights and maybe a fireplace.

And the last is Christmas Stories. This one includes stories by famous English-class authors: Dickens and Chekov and Updike. I shouldn't really have it in the pile, because it is the one I leaf through a little bit if I've read all the others. But it has such a pretty binding and I love seeing it with the other books.

All right, so that is the Christmas Book pile. And remember to mention in a comment if you want to try the Maeve Binchy book. I'll pick a name soon, in the hopes of getting the book there before Christmas (although there's no hope of it if it's a book-rate option, which can take weeks). How about...Monday. I'll pick someone sometime on Monday. (U.S. mailing addresses only, as usual---I have Amazon ship it directly.)

(Also see: Christmas Books Follow-Up.)

Edited to add: The winner is Sarah Filchak. I'll email you, Sarah!

49 comments:

Nikki B said...

I am a major Binchy fan but have never read this book. Would love to add it to my holiday tradition list. Thanks for sharing!

Magpie said...

i don't think i've ever read maeve binchy...

i have a christmas book pile too (including a bunch for kids). i think my all time favorite story is truman capote's a christmas memory. it's so fabulous.

Marie Green said...

Enter ME, dear Swistle. I have only read... which was it... maybe Tara Road by Maeve Binchy and I liked it ok but didn't LOVE it, so I've never read any others of hers... but now I hear that people that love her didn't LOVE that one, so. I should try more of hers, simply because I love long novels that cover lots of years as the characters grow older.

Emily A. said...

Would love a copy of a book that is recommended by you!

Kinsey said...

I would love to receive the Maeve Binchy book--I always like adding things to my Christmas reading list. My latest addition was Comfort and Joy by India Knight.

Naomi said...

Thank you so much for the recommendations! I love seasonal readings and I would love to receive the book!

Katie said...

Oh! I do, I do!!! I've only ever read Circle of Friends because I loved the movie.

This is an excellent list.

Unknown said...

I'd like to be entered. I haven't read this one by Maeve Binchy, mostly because since like you said, everything turns out alright, so I tend to read them when I need to quiet my mind a bit from all the whirlwind of thinking that's usually going on in there. Which sounds like a good holiday-time thing to do for de-stressing.

Bratling said...

Never heard of her before, but I'd be willing to try her!

Teej said...

I would like to be entered in the book drawing. Love to read! tjwallace04 at gmail dot com.

DrPusey said...

I've read several Binchy books, but not this one, so I'd love to try it. Thanks and Happy Holidays. :)

MomQueenBee said...

Please enter me. Then if you could also pick me, well, that would be swell.

Giselle said...

Oh! I love Maeve Binchy, but have never heard of this one somehow. But there's no need to enter me in the contest, because I just went to my library website, found the e-book, and downloaded it. Thanks for a pre-Christmas read!

Nowheymama said...

...and here I am, recommending Rosamunde Pilcher to you AGAIN because her Winter Solstice is my annual Christmas read.


Carmen said...

Well! I went and bought the book before I finished reading the post! But that's okay - I LOVE Maeve Binchy. I also just bought her new one that came out a few weeks ago - her last one. *sniff*

My first Maeve book was my mother's. We were camping and I'd finished the books I brought with me and I HAD to have something to read. Evening Class was in my parent's camper so I figured that even if it were horrible, it was better than not having something to read at all. But I loved it. LOVED. Then I read everything she'd ever written, one right after the other. (This was in 1998.) I've been a big fan ever since.

Her style of book is NOT the sort of thing I usually like to read. I have really enjoyed the last five (six?) with all the characters that intertwine between books. I love that.

Sarah said...

I love that you do these book giveaways! I'm ALWAYS seeking out book recommendations! So, please enter me!

David Sedaris is on my Read Annually List. I don't think I'll ever get enough of him. I read all his books, over and over and over again.

lillowen said...

I'd love to win a copy of that book! I think I will still buy it even if I don't win, but free is more fun. :)

Mary O said...

I would love to try the Binchy book. I've read several of her other books, and love her. I also LOVE David Sedaris. So much.

Christy said...

I'd love to be entered. I've never read Maeve Binchy, but this one sounds like I'd like it. All of our Christmas books are kids' books. Like the family 'heirloom' (read: torn almost to shreds) copy of The Night Before Christmas, etc.

artemisia said...

It has never ONCE occurred to me that I could read Christmas books at Christmas.

Whaaaa?? Fabulous! Your suggestions can give me a good start!

(No need to enter me in the drawing, but thanks for your generosity.)

MargieK said...

Would love a copy.

I don't have a pile of Christmas books. I guess I just waste time reading drivel on the internet (but also some great blogs ;) ).

Elisabeth said...

Please enter me! I've read and enjoyed several Maeve Binchy books, but I've never read this one.

Gwen said...

Please enter me. I've never read any of her books, but it sounds like something I would enjoy.

KP said...

I love Maeve Binchy but have never read that one. And I actually prefer paperback to hardcover. Please enter me. :)

Ashley said...

I love books, all books, would love to be added to the pot for the drawing!

Unknown said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I would love to read the Maeve Binchy book.

marilyn c. cole said...

Yes! I would love to start a Christmas book stack! I've read This Year Will Be Different (on your recommendation, two Christmases ago, I think!) but I got it from the library, so it is really due for a re-read by now.

Merry Christmas!!

Barb said...

I love Maeve Binchy and I haven't read that one yet! What a fun Christmas tradition!

Rebecca is Fabulous said...

Enter me, please! I ADORE Maeve Binchy-i'm currently reading the glass lake for the eleventh time, Minding Frankie is on my tablet, Quentins and Scarlet Feather are on my bookshelf. I haven't read this one in years, though...my library doesn't have it.

Eva.G said...

Please enter me too, Swistle! Maeve Binchy is on my list but I've never actually read anything of hers yet. I'd love to!

Erin said...

Ooh, what a lovely idea to have a Christmas reading list; why have I never thought of that? I would love to read the Maeve Binchy book!

Lala Loses said...

Please enter me! I love Maeve Binchy but I had never heard of this one. Thanks!

shadylanestudios at gmail . com

Sarah Filchak (filchak@sbcglobal.net) said...

I would love to read the Mauve Binchy book. My Mom really enjoys her and I give her crap about it and call it "smut". I'd love to show up for Christmas with it in hand, it would make her day.

Hannah said...

Oh my goodness I love that book, and I would love to have a copy. My favorite when I read it a million years ago was the story of the stepmother/stepdaughter and the decorations in her room. I love the idea of reading this book every Christmas.

Melanie D. said...

I think you are just swell for offering a book give-away, I would love to be entered (BTW - nice move winning Catherine Newman's contest after boldly stating you don't mind being #1! I'm sort of wishing I were number one right now).

I've read a couple of Maeve Binchy's books and enjoyed them, I haven't read this one and would be excited to win!!

Gigi said...

All the Maeve Binchy books I've read, I've loved - but I don't think I've read this one; so send me the book and I'll tell you what I think! ;-)

Amy said...

Would love to try the Maeve Binchy book. Hope you enjoy Holidays on Ice - it wouldn't be Christmas for me without listening to Sedaris read some of Santaland diaries!

Jessica said...

I would love to check out the book! I was just thinking I should see what the Kindle price is so I could maybe start reading right away. I'll wait until Monday, though:)

Becky said...

Hurrah thank you for doing this! I love seasonal reading lists. I have ordered the Miss Read book. And I would love to enter the giveaway but I'm from England. Off to the library...

Melissa said...

I've never read any books by Maeve Binchy, but I would love to read this one.

babyhoot said...

I would love to win! I've never thought of Maeve Binch as sad. Maudlin maybe, but not sad.

Erica said...

Sign me up! Sign me up! It can be the inaugural entry in my Christmas Reading List.

Michelle said...

Pick me!

Bibliomama said...

I don't want to be entered - not much of a Binchy fan, and I know what you mean about loving books but being unsure about recommending them - but I like the idea of rereading books every year. In my my "push ahead, the list grows ever longer" fever, I don't do nearly enough rereading, and I always enjoy it when I do.

CCarter said...

I'd love to try the Binchy book!

Kate said...

I would like to be entered! I am very intrigued by the idea of a single book or group of books to be reread in a given season. I rarely, rarely ever reread a book (in spite of my terrible memory for books) but am inspired a bit by your suggestion. I am charmed by the ritual of it and the idea that it would sort of evoke itself -- Christmas reading reminding you of Christmas in general and of your own past Christmases. I can see enjoying something like this for my birthday, too, or instead.

velocibadgergirl said...

I'd be happy to try the Maeve Binchy and report back. One of my local friends really likes her stuff, too.

Alicia said...

I'd love to have a recommended Christmas-y book to read, all I've had on my nightstand lately are Puppy training manifestos...

Anne I-L said...

I'd love to be entered in your contest! Though I see this is a READING list and not a LISTENING list I have to jump in and say if there is any way you can find to listen to David Sedaris read Holidays on Ice you will just love it all the more. I read it and laughed out loud often but there were moments I did not really get as funny (sometimes they even seemed a little off and sad) until I heard them read by him. Plus, because this can also be the season of driving around, it is nice to have a book on in the car. ON second thought though, possibly you are never alone in the car in which case... this may not be suitable for children.