Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recommended Reading for the Holidays

It is the first of December and as you all know that means there are less than 25 days until Christmas and in just four short weeks it will be the end of the year.

I love this time of year, yet sadly it always seems to be the busiest. There is so much that has to be done, so much you would like to do and ever so much you just don't have time to think about, let alone do. Personally I love to be organized. I like planning ahead and having all my ducks in a row. Unfortunately for the last three Decembers I've not come anywhere close to meeting this goal. I have great dreams of what I'd like to see myself get done in December and in the end I learn to be content with what I have.

Right now I'd like nothing better than to curl up with a good holiday read while listening to Christmas music playing softly in the background, smelling the scent of something baking, and seeing the Christmas lights twinkling off to the side. In reality I realize this is going to be a rare occurrence this month. But that doesn't mean it has to be the same for you!

Today I thought I'd post some reading suggestions for those with the holidays on their mind. I've sorted them by "theme" and hope you'll find something that will make your reading list this month.

The Classic Read:

If your ideal holiday read is along the lines of a classic novel then you cannot go wrong with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. While I realize there are many who have read this novella I know there are a fair number of readers who have not. For the latter I must say ADD THIS BOOK TO THE TOP OF YOUR LIST IMMEDIATELY! Do not be frightened away by the fact it was written in the 19th century by an author known for verbose stories. A Christmas Carol is a clean, crisp, excellent story that runs under (or about) 100 pages. It is an excellent story to read, but it's also a wonderful story to read aloud to friends or family, or if you must -- to listen to on audio. There are numerous adaptations of this story to film, but I think every person should read the original story for themselves at least once.

The Traditional Read:

If you're looking for something a little more traditional this Christmas then you cannot go wrong with any of the following:

Journey To Bethlehem by Delos W. Lovelace (reviewed)

The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. (My mother read this to me when I was a young girl. As I can remember only a little of this book I have it on my list to re-read. What I do remember was that I enjoyed this story. It is definitely a worthwhile read.)

And of course the Christmas season would not be complete without a reading of the first Christmas from the Bible (see the Gospels: Matthew and Luke).

The Heart-Warming Family Story:

Perhaps you're interested in the heart-warming family story. With the exception of O. Henry none of these are considered "classics" in the true sense of the term, but they are still good reads that you might enjoy.

The Trees Knee At Christmas by Maud Hart Lovelace (reviewed)

Christmas At Fairacre by Miss Read (reviewed)

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

The Mystery Read:

If a page turning, spine-tingling, mind puzzling story set at Christmas is more in line with what you want then be sure to check out Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie (reviewed)

These are just a fraction of the books available to readers. Last year I checked and there were over 20,000 books listed on B&N's website that were listed as Christmas or holiday stories. I checked again this year and the number is now closer to 30,000!

For this post I listed only books that I am familiar with and have enjoyed. This list did not include children's books, I'm saving that list for a future post. I do have two books I wanted to list here, but held off since I have yet to read them. They are currently on my TBR list:The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski (children's book) and Louisa May Alcott's Christmas Treasury (collection of short stories). I've read praise for both these books, so I am hoping that I'll enjoy them enough I can add them to next year's list of books I am recommending.

One thing is for certain, there are plenty of books to read. If you have your own list of holiday books you recommend please leave a comment and let me know what they are, or link to your own post.

Happy holidays and happy reading!


Carrie said...

I'm reading a couple of these this December but there are a few here I hadn't heard of. I'd seen The Christmas Box around but wasn't sure of it. Glad to see you mention it. Now I know it's worth a read. Thanks!

Nan said...

I so love my Christmas books. I still have my kids' picture books, and have added books over the years. If you'd like to read about a few others you didn't mention, but which I am quite sure you'd like, there's a list at my blog. Under the blog header picture, click the 'book reports' tab. Inside, click 'Christmas books.' There are both kid and adult books.