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January 2019



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A Little Christmas Reading

Do you have books you always read at Christmas time? One of mine is A Christmas Carol, which I've already read this year, on the Kindle. Yesterday I went to the library, which seems to have been taken over entirely by chicklit and crime. I picked up The Christmas Cookie Club, which I don't have great hopes of, and Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body. This has a Christmas tree on the cover so I'm assuming it's Christmassy. Falling for Christmas, by Debbie Macomber, is another chicklitt-y book.

Two books in the pile I picked up earlier in the year and saved for Christmas: A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg and Miss Read's A Country Christmas. Lanterns Across the Snow was my mother's; I kept it because she'd written inside, 'a favourite book'. Will it turn out to be one of mine?

I always re-read some children's books. Little Grey Rabbit's Christmas is a favourite, as is the Christmas chapter in The Country Child. Susan Pulls the Strings is a Christmassy book for me. The title of The Week Before Christmas by Freda C Bond, speaks for itself. My all-time, read every year Christmas favourite is Christmas at Nettleford by Malcolm Saville.

Below, a Christmas card showing some books from the Bodleian. I'd love people's recommendations for more Christmas reading.


Ooh! Miss Read! I have been meaning to read those again for so long now.

glitterboy1 bought me a Folio edition of The Country Child last Christmas, which was one of the loveliest presents imaginable. My mother wasn't the designated reader-out-loud in our house, but she always read that at Christmas, and The Snow Queen.
Ooh, I didn't know there was a Folio edition; what a lovely present. I have a hardback copy with illustrations by Tunnicliffe but I'm far more likeoy to read my old Puffin copy.
I loved The Snow Queen as a child, in spite of finding it frightening.


So many years since I read A Country Child, but seem to recall a marvellous marchpane house?
Doesn't ring any bells. I obviously need to read it again.
Antonia Forest's End of Term is my Christmas must-read - the Christmas play is just magical.
Is that the one with all the snow? The descriptions are beautiful.
I don't remember much snow, but there's a bit whilst they're wandering round the cathedral trying to work out who's going to do what in the play.

I just love the way it all comes together at the end, and the mistresses' reactions. And Peter and Rowan watching from the gallery, with the changes in perspective we get from their comments.
Me too! I was going to wait until Christmas week, but needed some comfort reading last week. I finished it last night and it is brilliant.

Miss Read

I always re-read Country Christmas at Christmas Time, and am especially fond of 'No Holly for Miss Quinn'. I love Pepys, Parson Woodeville and other diarists Christmas entries as well. Oh! and always 'the Children of Green Knowe' and the first book of 'The Dark is Rising Sequence'.
Best wishes

Re: Miss Read

Isn't it strange how everyone goes for a snowy, country Christmas? When the snow was lying I couldn't wait for it to go away again!


I just love those Bodleian cards. I looked up Malcolm S. - wow, he wrote a lot of books. I adore A Redbird Christmas and bought my own copy this year after having read it twice. I hope to write about some children's Christmas books this year. If you want to see some titles I've already written about there's a list in the 'book reports' tab. I am especially fond of A Rumpole Christmas.
I took a rotten photo of that card, which is actually a three-folder, with even more books.
Malcolm Saville was a childhood favourite and that particular book describes so perfectly the atmosphere of those days. Looking forward to A Redbird Christmas. I'll check out your list!
Apologies - it's the old penguin anthology 'Fairacre Christmas' I re-read, not the newer 'Country Christmas', just been to look for it.
My favorite Christmas book is an anthology of Victorian and vintage supernatural tales, Ghosts for Christmas (Richard Dalby, editor), and my favorite story therein is A.M. Burrage's "Smee," first published in 1931.
A new one! Thank you.
I also regularly re-read A Christmas Carol, although strangely enough I have never read it in English. Maybe this time.

In November I read Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant from the library, in Dutch, and I loved it so much that I immediately ran out and bought a copy in English, which I'm currently reading. It is not a real Christmas story, but it does take place in the weeks around Christmas.

In the children's book department Paul Biegel is always a great December favourite. For many years I re-read De tuinen van Dorr (The Gardens of Dorr) for Christmas. After a hiatus of several years I re-read it last year, and as I received a beautiful, newly illustrated edition recently I'll probably read it again this Christmas. And last week I read Het sleutelkruid (The King of the Copper Mountains).

I'll probably also re-read Schaap met laarsjes (Sheep with Boots) by Maritgen Matter, a lovely and funny little tale about a hungry wolf who comes across a lonely sheep in a barn. Naive Sheep is very happy to have found a friend at last, but of course Wolf's plans for him are anything but friendly!

Edited at 2010-12-12 04:26 pm (UTC)
They sound lovely. Off to look up the tortoise one.


Always like the Christmas opening of Little Women. Been meaning to read A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas after reading an extract.
That famous opening line!
The Dylan Thomas is worth reading and is a very slim book.
Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery. It's done as an Advent calendar with a chapter for every day in December. I always means to read it a chapter a day through December but forget to start in time.

The Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, always.
I don't know The Christmas Mystery. Thanks for the recommendation.


Christmas books

I always look at - because it's a book without words, only paintings - John Goodall's book An Edwardian Christmas. It is a delight from beginning to end as are all John Goodall's books, which are suitable for adults as well as for children.
I also enjoy reading Sir Roy Strong's A Country Life, which is a collection of essays originally published in Country Life magazine and which have been collated into seasonal sections. The winter section which includes Christmas, is what I enjoy most of all.
Margaret P

Re: Christmas books

I do like Goodall's illustrations and I lurve Roy Strong.


Re: Christmas books

I love A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote - best fruit cake in a short story, ever!