Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Reads

Halloween's ended, Thanksgiving has passed, and now we're well into December and its Christmas preparations. I've got my Christmas shopping done, and I hope to find a little bit of time in the next few weeks to curl up by the tree with some Christmas-themed books. I've already finished a few of them, but I still have a decent-sized list that should carry me through to Epiphany.

The Grift of the Magi: A Heist Society Novella by Ally Carter

I've aged out of the target audience for these books, but I was still excited to stumble unexpectedly upon a new Heist Society novella, showcasing a new adventure for Ally Carter's team of teenage thieves in which they try to steal back a Faberge egg that's been stolen from a charity right before their Christmas auction. The story's frothy and unrealistic and would probably work better as a TV episode than as a book, but it was still nice to get back in with the characters.

Some Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens

Is there any author as Christmassy as Charles Dickens? The man's almost single-handedly responsible for spreading the modern notions of Christmas. I read this a couple of weeks ago, wanting to experience some of Dickens' non-Christmas-Carol Christmas writings, and found it charming. Some of the writing is saccharine and overwrought, but the stories are all sweet and seasonally appropriate. (Except for that one with the sad ending that made me yell at the book, but all the rest are cute).

The Seven Poor Travelers by Charles Dickens

The frame story of this short story/novelette revolves around a young man who provides a Christmas meal to six poor travelers at a charity that provides free lodging. This part's plotless, but it's brim-ful of Christmas atmosphere, and is my favorite part of the story. The middle section ou contains the story that the young man tells the travelers, all about his uncle who joined the army and had various life-changing adventures. This part's interesting enough, but a bit melodramatic and not at all Christmassy, and I was glad to get back to the seven poor travelers.

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

I found this at a library book sale for a dollar. The dust jacket is 60% of the reason I bought it--in person, it's silvery and shiny and like Christmas in physical form. In this mystery, a young aristocrat travels to spend Christmas an English country village, where she investigates several maybe-not-accidental deaths. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book, and it is possibly the lightest book I've ever read--even though about four or five deaths have occurred so far, it remains sparkling and enjoyable and without an ounce of depth. A frothy Christmas confection.

Jane and the Wandering Eye by Stephanie Barron

The Christmas season is my favorite time to read mysteries, and this one stars Jane Austen! All I know is it places Jane in Bath at Christmas time, where she investigates a murder. 

The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the cutest premises ever! Every Christmas, Tolkien wrote his children letters from Father Christmas, telling them all about his life at the North Pole, complete with illustrations and even writings in the Elvish alphabet! I've been wanting to read these for a long time, and luckily my library has a collection of the letters. The few pages I've read so far are adorable, and Tolkien's building one of my favorite versions of the North Pole.

The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

Rather than re-reading A Christmas Carol yet again, I want to branch out and read some of Dickens' other Christmas novellas, and general consensus points to these as two of the finest. The Chimes is actually a New Year's story that's reported to be somewhat spooky, and The Cricket on the Hearth is a Christmas tale told from the point of few of, yes, a cricket living on the hearth. 

The Flying Stars by G.K. Chesterton

This Father Brown story has become my Boxing Day tradition. In this short story, Father Brown foils the great thief Flambeau's attempt to steal some jewels from an unsuspecting family at Christmas time, and maybe even saves his soul in the process. A fun, clever and heartwarming tale that's about much more than just solving a mystery. 

That's my planned Christmas-themed reading. So tell me, readers, what are your favorite Christmas stories? Do you plan on a Dickens binge? Have you read any of my planned reads or do you have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments, and have a great Christmas season!


  1. Most of my favorite Christmas reads are picture books. I do love Gift of the Magi. But the ones that come to mind immediately are The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, the Christmas Stocking, The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and He Whistles for the Cricket (which isn't strictly a "Christmas" story, but much of the latter half of the story does revolve around the upcoming Christmas season in the book... so I count it. :)

    Enjoy your Christmas reading!

    1. Picture books are always fun for Christmas. I'm familiar with The Polar Express and the Grinch, but I haven't heard of the other two--I'll have to look them up. The Gift of the Magi is great, too.

      I hope you enjoy your Christmas!