Monday, December 9, 2013

The Christmas Book Dilemma

It's my turn today for the Virtual Advent Tour hosted by Kelly and Marg! This has come to feel like a tradition for me now and it's yet another example of how this little thing called book blogging that I started doing seven years ago has really become a huge part of my life now. Not just a part of my life, but a part of me. This year has seen it's ups and downs and has seen me slip away from my blog a LOT compared to past years, but that's something that I hope changes in 2014. Despite all of that, I can go a month without blogging and I still feel just as connected as ever with all of you guys. It's events like these that bring me back to all kinds of memories associated with blogging and make me all warm and fuzzy :) But enough sappy stuff, lets get on with this post!

I knew right away what I wanted to write about this year. Books! I've written about that in past Advent Tour posts, but this year I thought I'd focus on the existential crisis that I go through every December....what the hell am I going to read for Christmas this year???? I know....ridiculous for someone who has a TBR pile the size of mine. You would think I'd never have to worry about what I'm going to read. The problem is, December is the one month out of the year that I like to read exclusively one theme with no exceptions at all and that is Christmas books. Or at the very least, winter-y books.

Every year I'm sure that I've read all of the good books already. Surely there is nothing else out there and there is no way that I'll find a whole months worth of Christmas books! I can just hope that John Green will release a Christmas book or maybe Neil Gaiman will or perhaps another Truman Capote Christmas gem will be found and released! P.S., if you haven't read Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, go read it NOW! It never fails though that I DO find books that seem just perfect for the season. So I thought I'd share with you my December TBR pile for this year and how I picked each book.

1. A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens - Yes, I know I should be ashamed of myself for never having read this one. In my defense, I'm generally terrified of classics. However, I do love Charles Dickens. He's an exception to the rule AND I have this gorgeous Penguin clothbound edition of the book, so I figured that now is definitely the time to finally read this one!!

2. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - Now I know that a lot of you are going "huh??" BUT! Remember, I said winter books too and Heather and Andi are hosting a readalong of The Woman in White for Wilkie in Winter...and even though it doesn't technically start until January, I may start this one at the end of December because it's a bit of a chunkster and I know how I am with those :p 

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - One night while on twitter, I QUICKLY learned from both Jason and Heather that this is a book that I absolutely have to read. It was another case of "classics terrify me." But I'm assured that it's a wonderful book and was told that this is a great time of year to read it too! So I shall :)

4.  A Mark Twain Christmas by Carlo Devito - I stumbled upon this one while browsing at Barnes and Noble and it looks really fantastic! It collects letters from Mark Twain from three different Christmases and I can't wait to devour this one and savor it at the same time :)

5. Comfort & Joy by India Knight - I stumbled upon this one while shopping at :p I don't even know all that much about it, but it sounded cute and it was $1.99 :p Can't beat that!

6. Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis - I've only been meaning to read this one for forever! I think that this is the book that I'm most excited about this year. I've heard nothing but great things about this one and I have a feeling that I'll be singing it's praises by the end of the year!

7. Another Night Before Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy - This is a lovely little book that Ana gave to me for Christmas one year and I still haven't read it yet. I think I may actually sit by my fireplace and read it right after finishing this post :) Books from friends are always the most special!

What are you reading for the holidays this year? Anything I should add to my list? I'm always looking for fantastic new Christmas reads!


Debi said...

The Golden Compass!!! Add it to your pile or I shall kick you. I realize that doesn't sound very "Christmas spirit" of me, but believe me, you'll thank me in the end! If my word's not good enough, I *know* Ana will back me up. :D

Happy Holiday Reading, Sweetie!

Kailana said...

Great list! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A Christmas Carol, and The Women in White are all favourites of mine. How wonderful to be reading them for the first time! I really want to read Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. I have seen so many positive reviews over the years and just never got to it... Happy reading! Thanks for joining in!

Chris bookarama said...

A Christmas Carol is a fun one. You'll like it. And yeah, I can't believe you haven't read it!

Bellezza said...

Love your first three, have read them all more than once for each one! Who would think with so many books unread I'd have the desire to reread a few? And yet, those special ones call our names.

I know exactly what you mean about blogging for seven years, being away from one's blog a lot, and yet these lovely events make us feel like we're returning home. Or, better yet, that we never left. You're always special to me, Chris.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read Amelia Houghton's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, read that. It is worth buying if you can't get it at the library. The woodcut illustrations are beautiful and the story is great. One of the best Christmas reads in all the land!

Nan said...

A book I really, really love is an adult book by Tomie dePaola called Christmas Remembered. He writes about various Christmases in his life. Each one is so interesting. I wrote about it a few years ago, and if you are interested you can read it here:

kelley jensen said...

ooh, yay! some titles I haven't read. And I am so with you on John Green and Neil Gaiman. I enjoyed your advent post very much. Have a Merry Christmas. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Beth F said...

I love this post -- bookish and Advent all in one! Yes, read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ... I read it a hundred years ago and still think about it.

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

Enjoy your Chrismas reads Chris, I'm hoping to tackle The Dark is Rising Sequence, over the break.

Margot said...

Reading is a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas. The first three are favorites of mine so I hope you enjoy them too. Have a Merry Christmas.

DesLily said...

Well the Woman in White is a super book so I hope you like it as much as I did. And believe it or not it was only 2 yrs ago that I READ a Christmas Carol! I just saw the movie so many years that I didn't want to tackle the book, but I did get a surprise and enjoyed reading it even though I also love the movies of it.

Ummm and oh yeah, Debi is right The Golden Compass is about as "wintery" as a book can get! lol I liked that series alot!

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

I love love love the idea of reading Christmas-y books at Christmas time, which is oddly something I've never considered. These books all sound lovely! But I also second what Debi said about His Dark Materials! Must read!

Bookfool said...

Pretty books! Love the cover of the Dickens. I absolutely adore the Capote story you mentioned - need to reread that one, definitely. And, the Connie Willis book is loads of fun. I liked some of the stories better than others but you really can't lose with Connie Willis. Enjoy!!!!

Susan said...

Merry Christmas, Chris, and love your advent calendar post! Books and Christmas in one! Yes!

I have the Connie Willis book marked on Amazon, but there are no copies available anywhere!!! I love her, and really wanted to read this for Christmas. Maybe next year if I can find it on Amazon somewhere.

I'm planning to reread A Christmas Carol too, I read it for the very first time last year at Christmas and really enjoyed it.

You have to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I read it when I was very young and loved it - and it made my cry so much that I haven't been able to reread it yet! lol I'm happy to see people are discovering it again. It is beautiful.

Is the Carol Ann Duffy a book of her poems? Or a story book?

A lovely post, Chris. For the holidays, I hope to get either the Best of Connie Willis (her award-winning short stories), or the newest Phil Rickman, The Magus of Hay, in the excellent Merrily Watkins exorcist series, for a gift. If they aren't under the tree I will be very sad! lol and have to make do with some of my books from my Xmas box I fill for myself every year! Under Heaven by G.G Kay, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman, Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason, are a few.

Becky said...

I'm so intrigued by the Mark Twain book! This, yet again, reminds me why we need brick and mortar stores! I'll have to check that one out.

I don't really have books that I traditionally read around Christmas time. It's funny, but if I did have a book or books that I would read around Christmas, it would have to be books that would take me back to my childhood, such as the Little House books or Harry Potter (even though I was an adult college student for those) novels. I'm always trying out new novels each year though. Another blogger, Coleen, sent me the novel Over the Holidays last year. I didn't get a chance to read it, so I'm starting it today! It was so nice of her to send it when I tweeted out a plea for Christmas read suggestions. You can always count on bloggers for help!

These look awesome. I actually just listened to Neil Gaiman's reading of The Christmas Carol at the New York Public Library. Did you catch that? It's so awesome, and only takes about an hour to listen to, but put me in such a good mood today! :) I'm definitely going to check out that Mark Twain book though. Thanks Chris! Happy holidays.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I always read Grinch and Night Before Christmas to my classes in the library. Love these.

Anonymous said...

Oh Chris. What a delight and a treat you have in store with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. *smiles* We read it for bookclub and everyone who hadn't read it AND was reluctant to, absolutely fell for it.
and THANK YOU for being so sweet to think of me this Holiday. You are so awesome. Merry Christmas Darlin'!