meEven if you feel like you’ve had more time to “snuggle up quietly at home” than is strictly necessary this year, finding a good Christmas read is still an extremely enjoyable Christmas activity, adding to your enjoyable new Christmas no-go activities. to your office party and not ripping your coat in overheated department stores. So find a quiet corner, pretend your Zoom isn’t working, and enjoy the delights of reading season.
An ideal Christmas book that will excite both adults and children: the classic by John Masefield The box of delights falls into this category, and the best example is The darkness is increasing by Susan Cooper. Originally published in 1973, it is one of those books whose reputation grows year after year: a heady mix of Arthurian myths, time travel, and a child born to save the world. “Tonight will be bad … and tomorrow will be unimaginable” is the phrase that throws young Will Stanton, the last of the Ancients, headlong into a world of snow and danger, fire and flood, in what is still so satisfying winter’s tale as can be found. As a bonus, Alex Jennings, the best audiobook reader in the world, makes the Audible edition.
Charles dickens A Christmas Carol it’s now done so entertainingly in a variety of other mediums (special mentions to the Muppets and Bill Murray) that the original feels all too familiar. But if you are drawn to a classic tale full of ghosts from the past, the tale of James Joyce “The dead”, in which memories emerge during a Christmas party and snow falls “on all the living and the dead,” never fails to cause a pleasant chill.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of traditional, cozy crime, Hercule Poirot is a good fit for Christmas, as he’s robust and mysterious. In Hercule Poirot Christmas, by Agatha Christie, is summoned to quickly solve a festive murder. Georgette heyer’s A christmas party It’s his regular fun too, as a variety of pleasantly disgusting characters may or may not have taken on an old Scrooge.
For children, there is a reason why The night before christmas by Clement Clarke Moore has sunk its claws into our popular culture so deeply: the rhymes are lively and endlessly repeatable, and there is a sense of pride in learning the names of all the reindeer, not just the boast on the front: “In the comet! on Cupid! Go ahead Donner and Blitzen! “It has also been produced in so many different formats that there will surely be some version of the artwork that you will love.
When I was working in book sales, I rarely saw a book that made children happier than The Merry Christmas Postman from Allan and Janet Ahlberg, with their adorable little letters and postcards sent between nursery rhyme characters bringing a child’s world to life (before all the jealous siblings lose / scribble on Boxing Day. Still, it’s worth it ).
In my experience, kids these days find Louisa May Alcott Little woman quite pious, but Little house on the meadow by Laura Ingalls Wilder, in her wolves and thick snow, maple sugar, and red gloves, continues to weave a trusty spell. For younger children, The snowy day Ezra’s Jack Keats is a beautiful work of art, as Peter, dressed in red, discovers snow for the first time.
As for non-fiction, given the sheer amount of cash earnings from comedians, tedious autobiographies, and impromptu anthologies of Will-This-do, there are really only two completely reliable works that I can recommend: Radio times and, in this, his farewell year … the Argos catalog.
• Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan It is published by Sphere (£ 9.99). To order a copy, go to guardianbookshop.com. Shipping charges may apply.
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