Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas reading 2016

Anyone who is an avid reader has one --- a tbr (to be read) pile.  In my case, that usually means two tbr piles.  One is the noticeable pile, the physical books -- usually checked out from the library-- stacked up on a shelf in the great room.  The other pile, hidden away from view, is the electronic pile -- the books downloaded on my nook, many free or almost free, deals too good to pass up and certainly good reads for the future.  An avid reader must always have back up reads for those emergencies when a library is not nearby. 

This early morning is close to being one of those emergencies.  I finished a book last night right before bed.  I actually do NOT have any more library books checked out at the moment, although I do have a Christmas novella in print version I need to start reading, but I am saving that for later this weekend.  So now that it's been an hour and half since I awoke at 4:00 am and a return to sleep seems unlikely, I can either start a sewing project or start one of almost 200 books on my Nook.  But before I do that I think I should confess that I've been taking time in this busy season to read  Christmas stories.  Most are stories I downloaded last season but never found time to read then. Many Christmas books are classified as novellas because they are shorter; often between 150 and 200 pages, they fit an evening's reading perfectly (okay more like an evening and a bit more, unless I stay up late).

Here's my record of what I've read so far this season ---

From A CHRISTMAS TREASURY OF YULETIDE STORIES AND POEMS, edited by James Charlton and Barbara Gilson, I read "Is there a Santa Claus," the full letter that appeared in the New York Sun in 1897.  Next in the book was a British tale called "The Water Bus" and then my favorite was "Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus" excerpted from a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. On a more serious note was a description of Washington's troops and their frigid Christmas at Valley Forge.  My daughter gave me a used, but almost pristine copy of this treasury last year knowing that I always try to find time for holiday reading.  Perhaps I will find a few moments for more reading from this volume before it returns to the family room bookshelves.  The variety of stories and authors in the anthology is wide, so something appealing is likely.

But on to the Nook titles -- First is Vanetta Chapman's CHRISTMAS AT PEBBLE CREEK. This follows the Pebble Creek Amish novels and is really a sweet, simple short story.  Then came my favorite, THE CHRISTMAS CAT by Melody Carlson.  As stated by a fellow blogger, all Melody Carlson books would make good Hallmark movies, and this one definitely fits.  Garrison, 30ish and single, receives news right before Christmas that his grandmother who had helped raise him has died. Since Garrison had been overseas engineering wells in Africa for a decade, he really had not seen her in quite awhile.  But one thing he knew for certain; in his absence, she had befriended a few cats and they now needed new homes.  Being highly allergic to the furry bundles, he dreaded even traveling to the home to meet with the lawyer.  When he finds out that his grandmother wanted him to personally find a home for each cat, and then do "home visits" to assure that the new owners are really worthy cat people, Garrison begins to wonder whether his grandmother loved the four footed children better than her only grandchild. Sneezing aside, this is a delightful quick read, complete with the expected bit of romantic comedy.

I recently downloaded a lengthy compilation of Christmas stories called ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS which was put together as a diabetes research fund raiser.  It includes stories by Debbie Macomber and more than 10 other authors.  While I am sure there are some good stories in here, the ones I've read so far have not been great.  For one thing, some of these authors are predominately romance authors -- heavy on the "romance", if you get my thought. Guess I needed to do more research before I hit that "buy" button.  I have not read Macomber's story yet and I am sure I will enjoy that one at least, but I am not sure how many other stories in this collection will get read.  This time of year, I especially need stories with an evident message and the spirit of Christ's love, and I which stories here will deliver.

More to my taste was Melissa Tagg's light-hearted tale ONE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS about a first time author who believes she has fallen in love with the model who posed for the cover of her book.  In her mind she equates Colin Renwycke with the heroic leading man of her debut novel and a year after meeting Colin (and sharing a romantic sleigh ride), she still holds hope that she will hear from him again. 

A member of a Facebook group I recently joined who is a widely read Christian book review blogger asked others what their Christmas readings were this year.  I pose the same question,
"What are you reading right now?  Anything seasonal?"

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