Monday, December 20, 2021

Curl Up With Our Favorite Christmas Reads

 

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Recently we talked about our favorite Christmas mysteries, but going into the hustle and bustle of Christmas week, let's push that out a bit and share our favorite Christmas READS. What do you pull off the shelf when you need a gingerbread latte-sized dose of the warm and fuzzies?

 

I always, always read Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales, a tradition that I've given to the Kincaid/James family as well. Even though I have a nice, new illustrated copy, before bed on Christmas Eve I will pull out my little much-loved, paper-covered copy with its woodcuts by Ellen Raskin because it's not Christmas until I've read it all the way through.

 

 

Then there is my very battered copy of The Night Before Christmas, illustrations by Arthur Rackham, and an almost equally battered copy of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Ronald Searle (although they both miraculously still have their dust jackets!) J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg. An old book about gnomes which isn't exactly Christmas but is such fun.


And because nothing says Christmas like a little romance, I'm going to add Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake, We Met in December by Rosie Curtis, Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans (the book is better than the title, I promise.)  And I'm looking forward to The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan.

 

 

I know I'm leaning way British here, so chime in, dear REDs, and share what books say HOLIDAYS to you.


HALLIE EPHRON: With my daughters and grandkids arriving soon, Debs you’ve inspired me to scour our many many many bookshelves for holiday stories, hard because Debs grabbed off the classics and because Jerry’s encyclopedic brain isn’t around to point me to the correct room, never mind the right shelf. 


I’m a huge fan of A Child’s Christmas in Wales, especially the opening stanzas that say winter more than any other work I can think of. 


Now I have a little stack ready to go. The Night Before Christmas of course… for the eponymous night. The Grinch That Stole Christmas. And more. Then queuing up music: The Nutcracker and Handel’s Messiah and Elvis’ Christmas Album. 


And adding hot chocolate and marshmallows to my shopping list.


LUCY BURDETTE: I love both of your lists, but I confess not to being much of a rereader. I can recommend Jenny Colgan’s CHRISTMAS AT THE ISLAND HOTEL. I found it in the pile of light reading I’d bought during the pandemic months and didn’t have time to read. At first, I thought it was too light to keep my interest, but by the end, I was yearning for the story to continue. She is so good at bringing cold, remote Scottish settings and quirky characters to life–this one is set on the fictional island of Mure, halfway between Norway and northern Scotland. And the action takes place in a new hotel kitchen leading up to Christmas–it hit all my sweet spots!

 

DEBS: Lucy, I LOVE Jenny Colgan's Bookshop on the Corner trilogy so much that I hated for the books to end! These are set in a Highland village on the shores of Loch Ness and by the time you finish them you will be hunting for your passport!

 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: My step-dad used to read from A Child’s Christmas in Wales to us every year when we were little. We could not figure out what was so great about it, and fidgeted. Now, I see. (As can be said for so much.)  What books say holidays? On First Chapter Fun last year, we read out loud the first and last –I think they’re called “staves”--of A Christmas Carol.  I could not get through mine without crying. I urge you all to re-read.

This year we are doing something a bit different, but a bit the same. See you there! And you will be surprised at what books take place at Christmas!

 

DEBS: Ooh, can't wait! Mark your calendars!


JENN MCKINLAY: The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve forever and ever! Then I roll into my favorite Christmas mysteries always set in England, by our Rhys and Kate Kingsbury. Cozy reads by the light of the tree with a hot cup of tea - perfection. 


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Love Christmas mysteries and romances. In fact, I just finished reading several of Carla Kelly’s novella collections. She’s one of my favorite Regency writers, but there aren’t any dukes and marqueses in her books - her characters are most often men and women whose lives have been torn apart by the Napoleonic Wars, which lasted half a generation. SO GOOD. And speaking of Regency, one of my favorite seasonal mysteries is Georgette Heyer’s A CHRISTMAS PARTY - if you’re a fan of Rhys’ THE TWELVE CLUES OF CHRISTMAS or GOD REST YE, ROYAL GENTLEMEN, you’ll like this.


For the classics, I’m a Dickens gal, and when the kids were little, Clement Moore’s ageless poem as well. I would read The Polar Express and bawl at the end, because I was a grown up and couldn’t hear the magical sleigh bell ring.

 

DEBS: Julia, if I ever read the Heyer, I've forgotten it! Searching now...


RHYS BOWEN: My Welsh grandfather used to insist on A Child’s Christmas in Wales, so I felt that I’d had enough of it, until recently when I rediscovered it and it took me back to my childhood. The Polar Express both moves me and scares me. I don’t want to think of Santa’s place as a giant factory! I’m also a sucker for Christmas cozies–and movies like The Holiday. But who has time for reading right before Christmas? I have family arriving: 15 people for quite a few meals. When they’ve all gone again I’ll curl up by the fire and read.

 

DEBS: Rhys, somewhere I have a DVD of Denholm Elliott reading A Child's Christmas--it was that dramatization that was done years ago on PBS, I think. So lovely. I also have a recording (somewhere) of Dylan Thomas reading, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't understand most of it with his very heavy accent! 


READERS, what faves have we missed? Oh, and has anyone read Mr. Dickens and his Carol

 


It's a novel about Dickens writing A Christmas Carol and has such fabulous reviews that I've ordered it.

107 comments:

  1. We seem to have a pretty standard list of books we enjoy as much as the grandbabiest:
    Chris Van Allsburg’s THE POLAR EXPRESS . . . Charles Schulz’s A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS . . . Keith Christopher’s THE FIRST CHRISTMAS NIGHT . . . Lori Evert’s THE CHRISTMAS WISH . . . .

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    1. Joan, I haven't read The First Christmas Night or The Christmas Wish, so that's two more to add to my list!

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  2. I don't have Christmas books I read on a regular basis. As a kid it was HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. But now? I can't think of any. Even Christmas mysteries don't get reread that often, unfortunately.

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    1. Maybe you should start a new tradition this year, Mark!

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  3. As soon as I read it, this post got me out of my warm bed and scurrying to my book shelves. (It is just after 6:00 a.m. and still dark - no hint of dawn yet.). The book I am looking at now is ‘ Christmas At the New Yorker’ - described as “eight decades of holiday cheer.” It includes work by writers such as E.B. White, Richard Ford, Alice Munro, Ken Kesey (!), John Cheever and Calvin Trillin. And then there are the drawings and cartoons. I will savor the contents this week.

    Another read for this season is the great Agatha Christie’s ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.’ It is fun to read the novel, then watch the dramatization with the incomparable David Suchet.

    And finally, I second the motion for ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ It won an Emmy and has aired on TV every year since it’s inception in 1965. Jazz musician Vince Guaraldi composed the soundtrack, which is wonderful on its own. There was a segment on CBS Sunday Morning just yesterday about its creation. Here’s the link. https://www.cbsnews.com/video/christmas-time-is-here-a-classic-holiday-song/

    Merry Christmas to all.

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    1. The New Yorker has such a rich literary history. Bet that is a wonderful book.

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    2. The New Yorker book sounds like a great Christmas gifts for reading friends:-)

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    3. I read that New Yorker book decades ago and loved it! I must have borrowed it (library, friend…) as it doesn’t seem to be among my Christmas books. Hmmm…

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  4. The wonderful Lesa Holstine highly recommended Craig Johnson's Longmire books to me when we met in person for the first time at LCC2011 in Santa Fe, NM.

    The Longmire novella, SPIRIT OF STEAMBOAT, is one book Lesa reads every Christmas, and I have embraced the same tradition.

    Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol when he is interrupted by a ghost of Christmas past, a young woman with a scar asking about his predecessor Lucian Connally. When she meets Lucian, a single word takes him back to a decrepit WWII bomber, a drunk pilot, a young girl and to Steamboat.

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    1. HANK: And I will definitely by there online this Thursday for this year's special holiday edition of FCF...can't wait to see what you and Hannah have planned for us!

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    2. Hurray,Grace! We are practicing! xxx

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    3. That sounds like a great story, Grace!

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    4. I just reread Spirit of Steamboat last week. It’s a good one!

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  5. Not much of a re-reader here, either, but we do watch the Christmas TV shows and movies, over and over. Some aren't even about Christmas, like "Blades of Glory" and " Sound of Music." "Christmas Vacation" is a must tho." We are staying in our own little two person bubble right now, but we will still have a wonderful Christmas, Lessons and Carols last week, and this week again from the King's College Singers.

    And yesterday Grace and I established another tradition, the baking of the annual fruitcake! Enough for the free world, certainly enough for the JRWs!

    I had an odd experience last evening. I prefer sleeping with a window open all year. Therefore the bedroom door usually stays closed in order to maintain a satisfactory temperature. But last night, when I opened the door in the dark, a feeling washed over me. I was five again, going up to bed at my grandmother's, second floor unheated, freezing cold, bed warmed by a couple of hot water bottles, flannel sheets and warm woolen blankets, piles of hand quilted coverlets, me in my Dr. Dentons. It was a intense feeling of being a child again, looking out the north window for signs of Santa, believing ...

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    1. Ha ha ha, there is definitely enough fruitcake for the free world with our two monster fruitcakes. We posted last night on the JRW thread but here again is the FB photo link again to my finished fruitcake.
      https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1601831133488357&set=pcb.1601830583488412
      And this is Ann's fruitcake.
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10223538358060963&set=p.10223538358060963&type=3

      ANN: Whoa, your experience last night sounds wonderful!

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    2. A transporting experience, Ann, to be sure!

      Wish I were close enough to have a socially distanced taste of fruitcake. You could hand it out to me on the porch.

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    3. That sounds like a remarkable experience, Ann. I hope all the aches and pains went away with the years. I'm enjoying an apricot pecan fruitcake this year, instead of the traditional one, and after Wednesday's concert I plan to stay snug in my bed through the holidays!

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    4. GIGI: Both you and Hallie mentioned an apricot pecan fruitcake which I would love to try.
      Is that from Collin Street bakery that several people were raving about?

      I looked at the website and only found the traditional one with pineapple and papaya. They do ship internationally but it would take 2-6 weeks, so I have bookmarked the site for next year.

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    5. Ann, what an experience! Keep believing, Santa is real--I see crumbs of evidence every day. Wishing you and Julie a wonderful Christmas up there on the tundra. And throw a piece of fruitcake my way--I'm sure the wind will get it here....

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    6. Grace, here's a link: https://collinstreet.com/regular-apricot-pecan-cake

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    7. Thanks, Karen! It's weird the apricot pecan cake does not show up on the main website page.
      It is definitely the one I would order next year.

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    8. Ann, what a lovely experience. And I am more determined than ever that Santa is real!

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    9. I guess they don't consider it strictly as a fruitcake, Grace.

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    10. Ann, that's amazing... you sure you were awake?

      And the Collins fruitcake co is offering last minute discounts... according to their promotional emails.

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    11. Oh Ann, I envy you your experience of your childhood visiting. It sounds like so much more than just a memory, and I believe it was.

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  6. Debs, I’m a huge fan of Jenny Colgan’s books, including Bookshop on the Corner series. Thanks to you, I just downloaded The Christmas Bookshop.

    I read many Christmas stories but one I come back to every year is Richard Paul Evans’s The Christmas Box. There is a struggling couple, an old lady and a young child and I find it moving every time.

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    1. I have a copy of The Christmas Box but have never read it!! Maybe this is the year to remedy that!

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    2. I was just thinking of The Christmas Box. Didn't they also make it into a TV movie?

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    3. Answering my own question: yes, they did, in 1995, with Maureen O'Hara!

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  7. I read Hercule Poirot's Christmas every year. Almost time to bring it out.

    And while I haven't read A Christmas Carol in a long time, I try to watch the version with Patrick Stewart annually.

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    1. I've never read, or watched, Hercule Poirot's Christmas! So many great suggestions today1

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    2. Liz, I have Hercule Poirot's Christmas to read this year.

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    3. Over the weekend I re-watched both Hercule Poirot's Christmas AND Nero Wolfe's Christmas Party. The week before that I watched Miss Fisher's Murder Under the Mistletoe. All great!

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  8. Great suggestions. My boys read/recited Night Before Christmas on that night every year until they started refusing in high school. We also had Polar Express and the Grinch and a few others.

    Brian O'Donovan always reads from A Child's Christmas in Wales during the Celtic Christmas Sojourn performances. I've written a Christmas cozy and two novellas, and it's always a race to get the crime solved before Christmas Eve.

    Hallie, have a lovely time reading those books to your grands!

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    1. Edith, when my kids were in high school, we switched to watching DIE HARD, so instead of reading poetry, my children recite famous lines out loud. "Welcome to the party, pal." "Hans. Bubbe." "I read about them in Time magazine."

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  9. My absolutely favorite Christmas story is O. Henry's Gift of the Magi. Such a tender tale of love and sacrifice.

    When my children were at home I would read Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from Saint Nicholas) on Christmas Eve, a tradition that has continued with my grandson. But ever since he was six and could read pretty well he's been reading it to us, the last thing before he goes to bed. Now that he towers over me it will be a different experience this year! Edith, I'm hoping he still wants to, at almost 17. It didn't occur to me he might balk. We were not able to be together last year.

    I have Charlotte McLeod's Rest You Merry on my Nook, maybe this is the time to finally read it!

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    1. I'm hoping to get both sons home for Christmas next year, and will encourage them to resurrect the practice!

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    2. Once they start having their own children they surely will.

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    3. KAREN: Rest You Merry is a classic. I'm not a re-reader either but I loved the Peter Shandy mysteries. I can see Rest You Merry and the other Peter Shandy books on my bookshelf.

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    4. I loved the Peter Shandy novels but my copy of Rest You Merry has vanished.

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    5. The Gift of the Magi is a perfect Christmas story.

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  10. I don't reread Christmas stories, but I do get out all my Christmas music and listen to them. Favorites are The Nat King Cole Christmas Album, Jackson 5 Christmas Album, Mariah Carey Merry Christmas and Handel's Messiah.

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    1. Dru, I expect you have too many other books to read:-)

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  11. In addition to all the above,
    Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
    L'Engle, The Twenty-Four Days before Christmas
    Godden, The Story of Holly and Ivy
    Wells, Max's Christmas
    Brown, Arthur's Christmas
    Bemelmans, Madeline's Christmas
    Houston, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
    All piled in a milk crate awaiting the next generation.

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    1. Oh Margaret, I love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I used to read it with my kids when they were growing up.

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  12. I have Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book that is full of short stories, songs, and pictures of course. The story I have most often read aloud is Ogden Nash's poem The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus.

    You can be sure I will search out many of the books and stories recommended above! Thank you, Reds!

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    1. I have a book of Saturday Evening Post Christmas cover illustrations that is wonderful. Many, of course, by Rockwell, but wonderful paintings by other artists. Fascinating look at a tradition that is gone now.

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  13. These all sound wonderful. I can recommend WINTER SOLSTICE by Rosamunde Pilcher. It is warm and deeply satisfying. I let myself reread it every Christmas time. The setting, the people are all magical and comforting.

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    1. I've never read that one! And it's been a long time since I've read a Pilcher novel, so that's going on my list, too!

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    2. Rosamund Pilcher! I love her books, and it's been years since I've read them. I've never forgotten her descriptions of houses where the silver is always shined, there are roses in the vase, and the furniture smells of beeswax. I wish this was true in my house...

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    3. My library only has Winter Solstice in ebook. There are 31 holds on 2 copies. Since most library patrons get and read ebooks and then just let them expire after 3 weeks (instead of returning them right away), it may be Spring before I see a copy.

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  14. I am a big fan of Charlotte McLeod. Thanks, Karen, for reminding me. One of my favorite Christmas stories is Elizabeth Goudge's Sister of the Angels, set in Wells, in southern England. I also associate L. M. Boston's classic book, The Children of Green Knowe, with Christmas.

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    1. I would love anything set in Wells, so thanks for that recommendation. I've never read anything by Goudge. And I've never heard of The Children of Green Knowe, so looking that up!

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  15. I have nothing to add in terms of classics and traditions -- you've hit all the greats I can think of. But I did read a pretty good, fun, new seasonal book this year: The Matzoh Ball by Jean Meltzer. It had the structure of most holiday romances (girl finds herself in uncomfortable situation; meets guy who seems superficially to be a nemesis but you can see they are meant for each other; mishaps and misunderstandings ensue until finally they end up together happily ever after.) The things that made this one a bit better than most (in my opinion) was that the lead character was Jewish -- not just culturally Jewish but observant, so there was a lot about Judaism and Jewish culture in it, all treated with respect and fondness -- and that she had a chronic illness, so there was also a lot of sensitive discussion about how that shapes and alters one's life. It felt to me like the best parts of a Hallmark Christmas movie with some nice depth added.

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    1. Glad to hear it, Susan. It must be terribly hard for practicing Jews to have the relentless onslaught of Christmas every year.

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    2. I've been looking at that book, Susan and am going to get it now. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    3. Thanks for the recommendations, Susan. That one is definitely going on my list.

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    4. Lest I give the wrong impression, I should add that the initial set up is that this observant Jew has been secretly publishing Christmas romances under a pseudonym for years. There's a pretty big dose of comedy mixed in, too. None of that takes anything away from what I said, but I did want to make sure I portrayed it fairly.

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    5. I recently read that book, Susan. It was recommended to me by a friend who has the same illness, and she’s also a friend of the author. Not only is it a great “feel good” book but I learned more about Judaism and also about what my friend experiences physically. I plan to reread the book.

      DebRo

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    6. Susan, that sounds even better! I love the "heroine or hero with a BIG secret" books. Also, it seems Hallmark is getting more diverse - this year they had Eight Gifts of Hanukkah, and reviewers found it actually, you know, Jewish, rather than the "mostly gentile with a couple latkes thrown in" movies from the past two years.

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    7. I just read The Matzah Ball and loved it. Spoiler - the matzah ball costume - lols! Hilarious!!!

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    8. I used to read I. B. Singer's "A Parakeet Named Dreidel" with my students, and they loved it.
      Now thinking of Gerald Fierst's story of matzah balls so light they floated out the window.
      I love stories from many cultures, and at the heart of them, the message is love. <3

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  16. These are all so great! Makes me realize how much I don't read these..so weird. I love hearing about your traditions. Awww. xxx

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  17. Perhaps inevitably, I have a concert to work this week and I see from my Facebook history that it has become my Christmas tradition for the past eleven years and counting. But there have been Christmases long before now when I got together with friends to swap presents, stories, and love without involving clarinets. One memorable year we gathered at Joy's house to sip wassail and listen to her dear friend, the actor John Hillerman, read "A Child's Christmas in Wales." It was splendid, and John was charming. Once the concert is over this year, however, I'll probably just snuggle in, listen to our "Horns for the Holidays" CD (great liner notes!) and maybe reread "Notting Hill in the Snow." I'm ready for a little Jules Wake these days.

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    1. How wonderful, Gigi, to have met John Hillerman in person!

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    2. He was a sweetie. He grew up just north of Dallas, and had done amateur theatre with Joy when they were young. Then he headed off to Hollywood, but they maintained their friendship all their lives. Whenever he would come back to Texas he'd spend a few days with Joy.

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  18. Love Jenny Colgan so thanks for those suggestions! Once upon a time my husband worked with the wife of Chris Van Allsberg so we took our battered copy of THE POLAR EXPRESS to her and she had him sign it. What a treasure!

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    1. Oh, jealous, Emily!!

      And for all the Jenny Colgan fans, Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe is on sale on Kindle (maybe other platforms, too) today! I just bought it, and the Audible version, too!

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  19. Ashamed to admit I've never read "A Child's Christmas in Wales." Now, it's on my must-read list! All your lists are wonderful! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all!

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    1. Mary, I hope you enjoy! And do try reading it aloud. The language is so wonderful.

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  20. Another emphatic vote for Jenny Colgan. This year's The Christmas Bookshop is wonderful, as are all of her Christmas books. Lesa Holstine highly recommended Anne Marie Ryan's Christmas by the Book this year, and I'm so glad I bought it on Kindle so I can read it again next year. Other Christmas or Christmas-adjacent books I've enjoyed this year: A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss (and last year's The Twelve Dates of Christmas), An Eggnog to Die for by Amy Pershing, It's a Wonderful Woof by Spencer Quinn, A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes (thanks to Kaye Barley for this recommendation), Best in Snow by David Rosenfelt, God Rest Ye Royal Gentlemen by Rhys Bowen, The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer (OK this is about Hanukkah, not Christmas), Death at Holly Lodge by Louise R. Innes, The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery.

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    1. What a terrific list, Margie! All I need now is the time to read them...

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    2. Love Jenny Colgan! Her chocolate shop in Paris book is a long time fave!

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  21. Oddly enough, no reading or even movie traditions here. The guys would spend most Christmas Eves with my brother (their dad) and come over Christmas Day sometime. But when we were together, there'd be The Nutcracker playing and Zydeco to liven things up. That's still my favorite Christmas music :-)

    But thanks, everyone, for all the reading suggestions. Especially Jenny Colgan--don't think I've come across her name before. And I've seen the Longmire book recommended before--think it's time to find a copy!

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    1. Oh, Flora, the Longmire books are wonderful. The first one, THE COLD DISH, is perfect to read on a cold, snowy day when you're tucked up warm inside.

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    2. The holiday Longmire books to read are Spirit of Steamboat, and also Christmas in Absaroka County, the latter being short stories.

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  22. For me it will be Jean Shepherd’s stories that were the basis for A Christmas Story since I’m from NW Indiana where they took place.

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    1. I love A Christmas Story. I know everyone gets tired of it because it plays over and over on cable, but I don't! Nor do we have cable anymore so I will have to search the movie out.

      Marcia Talley and I visited the Christmas Story House in Cleveland, where much of the movie was filmed. I still have my souvenir magnet on my fridge!

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  23. I don't remember any Christmas read traditions that were repeated and repeated over the years while growing up. We didn't have Polar Express when I was little, but I remember seeing it in the home where I was a live-out nanny. I will say, honestly, I didn't read it because I saw the art first and was disturbed by the darkness. I do remember reading The Clown of God by Tomie dePaloa to the kids. The art is wonderful, but I barely made through the end.

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  24. I must include A Christmas Tree by my late uncle A.C. Greene, if you can ever find a copy. (I just looked on Amazon and found ONE copy for $75!) It was published in 1978 by Encino Press, with drawings by Ancel Nunn. It's a wonderful little story about a Christmas in west Texas when he was a boy. Unfortunately, one of our puppies chewed the corner of our copy! It's a delightful book!

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  25. Ah "Night Before Christmas" is such fun and so quotable. I had a version with line illustrations that I took apart and copied to make more little books. I used them one year as part of the lesson on types of sentences, and had sophomores more engaged than they'd ever been in a mere grammar lesson. ;-)
    I told Polar Express at Saint Charles Christmas Traditions back when we were still in the Depot for crafts and stories. When I got to the part at which Santa decides who will get the first gift, an adorable little girl said, "ME!!!" Her parents looked so worried, but the spirit of Christmas helped my storytelling. "I'm telling about what happened when I was your age, and that year it was me . . . but this year, who knows? It could be you." Big sigh from parents. Then I looked at her seriously and said, "but the only time you are to go anywhere with a stranger is if the Polar Express stops in your front yard." Parents looked even more relieved. BELIEVE!

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  26. One book that gets hauled out is The Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair, a familiar name in Louisiana to us older folks. It's a retelling of the classic poem, set in the Louisiana swamps with Santa driving a pirogue pulled by eight alligators.
    An' I hear him shout loud
    As a splashin' he go
    "Merry Christmas to all
    'Til I saw you some mo'!"

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    1. Pat, my Cajun dad used to read this out loud to the family every year, down to the latest generation of his 2 great-grandkids. Since we lost him and then Mom last year I haven't had the heart to reread it, yet.

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  27. What an enjoyable post AND comments! Now I have so many things I want to read! Like someone above, I love "Winter Solstice" by Rosamunde Pilcher at this time of year. I love all her books! I'm headed to Amazon now to check out Jenny Colgan and look for "A Child's Christmas in Wales"! I have heard of it, of course, but have never read it. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! It's hard to get me into the Christmas spirit, but I'm kinda feeling it right now!

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    1. Today has made a serious dent in my book budget, too:-) I've already bought a couple myself!

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  28. Fret not, Deborah. The Heyer book retitled as "A Christmas Party" is actually "Envious Casca", so you may well have read it. Not a regency. I love it, and all the incompatible characters getting on each others' nerves at Christmas. I've already taken my annual dose of it. Didn't you always want to know more about the Empress Elisabeth of Austria?

    My Christmas book shelf also contains No Holly for Miss Quinn, A Child's Christmas in Wales (Edward Ardizzone illustations), John S. Goodall's picture book An Edwardian Christmas, various editions of Dicken's Christmas Stories...

    I won't get started on the movies...

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  29. My FB profile pic is from when my mother had a photographer come to our house and take a Christmas picture of me in new red pajamas (although the pic it black and white, I remember the pajamas were red) and looking at a copy of The Night Before Christmas. The photographer had brought that book as a present to me (and as a prop). I still have that book and display it every Christmas, and, of course, I read it every Christmas.

    Other classics that I try to get to are The Christmas Carol and The Polar Express. In honor of The Polar Express and the magical bell, I have a small bell with a narrow red ribbon attached to it that I hang on the tree every year. I can't remember where it came from now, which is part of its mystique and charm.

    Now, for this Christmas reading of grown-up fare, I am currently reading Murder Most Festive by Ada Moncrieff, her debut novel. I have planned to read Rhys' God Rest Ye Royal Gentlemen as close to actual Christmas Day as possible, and it looks like I'm on target for that. And, I'll read Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot's Christmas.

    Hank, please post lots of reminders for Thursday's First Chapter Reads so my addle brain doesn't forget.

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  30. Debs – At one time I also had the recording of Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales. I don’t remember having a problem with his accent, but I probably also had a copy of the text to read along while I listened to it. But my great treasure was a long playing album of a reading of Mr. Pickwick’s Christmas (read by Charles Laughton) and a dramatization of A Christmas Carol (with Ronald Coleman playing Scrooge). I have no idea where those albums got to. Probably gone when my father’s apartment was cleaned out. Looking online, I found an Amazon listing of a CD of both selling for $42.

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  31. I started reading Charlotte MacLeod's Rest Ye Merry over lunch. It's perfect! Thanks for the nudge towards Christmas-y reading.

    Which I really needed. I've been trying to slog through Mr. Flood's Last Resort, and it's been heavy weather, far too dark for this time of year.

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  32. I’m reading a recent British Library Crime Classics book, A Surprise For Christmas, a short story collection of a dozen stories published from early to mid Twentieth Century. Authors include Julian Ymonds, Margery Allingham, Anthony Gilbert, Cyril Hare, Ngaio Marsh and others. Good stuff. I reread A Christmas Carol every couple of years and it’s time.

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  33. Here's a fun thing! Versions of A Christmas Carol, one narrated by Hugh Grant, one by Tim Curry, are available with an Audible membership! There are some others, too, very cheaply priced or for one credit. From the samples, I think Hugh Grant's narration may be terrific!

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    1. Well now I need this too! I love Hugh Grant and I love to hear him talk!

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  34. I always search for one or two Christmas theme books for reading in December. I love Rhys Christmas books and wish the rest of you would write some Christmas theme books for December 2024.

    Have to add that come January, I am searching for those books that have a beach or warm climate or summer activities cause I am done with the cold.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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  35. I always read Truman Capote s lovely holiday stories as well as Dylan Thomas. I also read the Christmas section of The Wind in the Willows. And Craig Johnson s Christmas Longmire stories.

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