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Planning For Christmas 2018

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Over the last month I’ve been musing over the end month of the year. Every year I say I’m going to add some seasonal books to my reading list but it doesn’t happen as well as I hope. This is partly because I leave it too late – I’m making up for it here – but it’s also because it can be difficult to find Christmas books that aren’t romance.

Finding Christmas romances are easy, they are everywhere and it makes sense that Christmas would be a priority because of the cosiness, mistletoe, and just general seasonal mood. Most of what I’ve read so far at Christmas have been romances. I like settling down beside my tree with such books but I also want to read in other genres too.

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And that is difficult. I suppose with literary fiction it’s the case that most books set at Christmas may sport some good cheer but at some point in order for the literary-ness to be included, the character’s lives will be upended… and that’s not really what you want at Christmas. It’s also just hard to find such books; most often those with ‘winter’ or ‘Christmas’ in the title move swiftly on.

Historical fiction is a possibly good bet but you have to accept that any Christmas time will likely be fleeting, and quite possibly unlike the season we know. Then there are classics. A Christmas Carol, which I’ve read; The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe which I’ve also read and is somewhat fleeting unless you include the endless winter into the Christmas time… which wouldn’t be right because as Mr Tumnus says, it is “always winter, but never Christmas”; and finally Little Women which I’ve added.

Then there are these: L Frank Baum’s The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus; E T A Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker And The Mouse King (which, something I didn’t know, was first re-written by Dumas before being turned into a ballet – Dumas’ re-write informed Tchaikovsky); Nikolai Gogol’s The Night Before Christmas; O Henry’s The Gift Of The Magi; Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. I believe the Henry is an adult short story; I’d not heard of it before but it sounds famous.

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I’ve seen a Dilly Court’s The Christmas Card looks like a possibility, but I’ve read a couple of books in that Victorian-to-early-1900s-historical-sort-of-romance-always-with-similar-set-ups-in-terms-of-family and not liked them. (Is there a specific term for books like hers? They’re a particular sort of historical but are generally placed away from ‘regular’ historical fiction, and are instantly recognisable. I’ve noticed supermarkets here have tons of them but they are rarely on display in bookshops. Historical chick-lit perhaps?) I’ll probably give the Court a go for variety’s sake.

So that’s where I am in my planning at present: Dilly Court, Alcott, a contemporary romance or two (likely by Shannon Stacey because whilst I find her work hit and miss it’s always got the escapism factor) and a few children’s fiction options. When I looked for Dilly Court’s book cover I found this list of Christmas books on GoodReads that’ll be worth looking into, especially as it’s a list of other lists.

Do you have any Christmas book favourites? And have you anything I could add to my list of classics?

 
 

Kelly

September 12, 2018, 4:52 pm

A Christmas Carol is one of the few stories I’ve read several times over, but did you know Dickens also had other Christmas short stories/novellas? I read three of them several years ago for a challenge: The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life, and The Haunted Man. The first was his most popular until A Christmas Carol surpassed it with the various film versions we know today. I believe it’s worth your consideration.

jessicabookworm

September 14, 2018, 7:57 pm

I’m afraid I won’t be able to add to your Christmas TBR, as my favourites are A Christmas Carol and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

Literary Feline

September 15, 2018, 5:44 pm

A Christmas Carol is probably my most favorite Christmas tales when it comes to classics. It does feel like romances tend to make up most of the holiday themed reads I come across. That and cozy mysteries. I don’t really think of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a Christmas story, but I suppose it is when you think of the setting. I will have to read The Nutcracker and the Mouse King this fall. My daughter is performing in the ballet, and it has me curious about the original story . . .

Charlie

September 17, 2018, 9:43 am

Kelly: You know, I have a couple more novellas included in my copy of A Christmas Carol but had totally forgotten them until reading your comment. I believe one of them is The Chimes. Thank you for your list, I will have a look. You’ve inspired me to consider a re-read; I did really enjoy the book.

Jessica: Understandable!

Literary Feline: Seeing the cosy mysteries you had on your list I was wondering about that, if it would be a good genre to look into in this way. I don’t read many of them, though I do like them, so that could be a way in. Great idea to read The Nutcracker. I’m not sure what the text is like, but presumably it’d be okay to read with your daughter, too.

Isi

September 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

You must add to the list one of my favourites: Winter solstice, by Rosamunde Pilcher.
It is not really a romance… I mean, not in the common sense of the genre. In Spain we called this kind of books “feelgood books”, because it makes you feel better when reading it (we include, for instance, James Herriot stories about his adventures as a young veterinarian). And it doesn’t have “Christmas” in the title! haha

Charlie

September 21, 2018, 11:14 am

Isi: If it’s not a romance that’s quite good – I read too many Christmas romances! A feelgood book sounds perfect. I’ve added it to my list to look out for, thank you :)

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