Category Archives: book recommendations
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
‘Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through the tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into the holiday spirit.
But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he’s not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn’t run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.
But hold on! There’s an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It’s none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel’s not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say “Kris Kringle,” he’s botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.
It’s funny and silly and has some cursing, be warned.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
Every child knows about Santa Claus, the jolly man who brings gifts to all on Christmas. There are many stories that tell of his life, but the delightful version relayed in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is by far the most charming and original of all. Relates Santa’s life, from childhood to old age and immortality, mentioning such adventures as those with the friendly Wood-nymphs and the wicked Awgwas. A human foundling child, adopted by a wood-nymph and raised by the creatures who inhabit a magical forest, grows up to be the immortal Santa Claus. Only L. Frank Baum, the man who created the wonderful land of Oz, could have told Santa’s tale in such rich and imaginative detail.
This is a pretty old book but my library had a couple copies of more recent printings.
A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens
Dickens’ story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by a series of ghostly visitors, has proved one of his most well-loved works. Ever since it was published in 1843 it has had an enduring influence on the way we think about the traditions of Christmas. Dickens’ other Christmas writings collected here include ‘The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton’, the short story from The Pickwick Papers on which A Christmas Carol was based; The Haunted Man, a tale of a man tormented by painful memories; along with shorter pieces, some drawn from the ‘Christmas Stories’ that Dickens wrote annually for his weekly journals. In all of them Dickens celebrates the season as one of geniality, charity and remembrance.
It would be hard to not have seen A Christmas Carol in some form. There are cartoons, TV shows, and movies galore. But the written version is the best, in my opinion, and Dickens wrote many other Christmas stories, all of them with the Victorian regard for spookiness. Telling ghost stories is an old Christmas tradition that has sort of fallen out of favor in modern times. This particular book is just one of many collections you could choose to read to get into the holiday spirit.
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Various Authors
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
This anthology has stories from some of my favorite authors, most notably Holly Black and Rainbow Rowell. Like all anthologies, I liked some stories more than others but I enjoyed the book as a whole. There are a lot of genres, not just contemporary but also paranormal and historical. It’s a great mix.
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Susan had never hung up a stocking . She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.
There are those who believe and those who don’t. Through the ages, superstition has had its uses. Nowhere more so than in the Discworld where it’s helped to maintain the status quo. Anything that undermines superstition has to be viewed with some caution. There may be consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. When those consequences turn out to be the end of the world, you need to be prepared. You might even want more standing between you and oblivion than a mere slip of a girl – even if she has looked Death in the face on numerous occasions…
This is a book about the nature of belief. I adore Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series and this is one of the best in the Death series. I know. How Christmasy could it be if it involves Death? But it’s funny and quirky and great tongue-in-cheek observations about humanity.
Some other stories I could recommend to get you in the Christmasy or wintery mood. (Look at me, just making up words all over the place.)
Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
Winter Prey by John Sandford
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfiled
The Immortal Nicholas by Glenn Beck
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past by Samantha Silva