I’ve started putting together a collection of books to read this month with Christmas themes. I made my Christmas pudding last weekend to the sounds of Christmas carols & the Christmas cake was made on Cup Day (first Tuesday in November) & had its final feeding of brandy the other day. I’ve planned the contents of the hampers I’m putting together for Christmas presents. I’m buying a few things from the farmers market tomorrow morning & I’m going to make chocolate truffles & panforte a couple of days before Christmas. My Christmas cards (from Animal Aid this year because that’s where I adopted Lucky & Phoebe) have arrived & I hope to have them written in the next week or so. I’ll set up the Christmas tree tomorrow as well. I have a small pine tree in a pot that I’ll bring inside & decorate. Abby never went near the tree in previous years, I’m not so sure about Lucky & especially Phoebe so we’ll see how long the decorations last. I found Phoebe asleep on the top shelf of the pantry the other day. I have no idea how she got in there.
Anyway, back to books. Last year I enjoyed lots of 19th century stories as well as some romance. This year is looking more 20th century. I’m very excited about the Stella Gibbons reprints from Vintage. Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm is a volume of short stories. Although only the title story takes place at the famous Cold Comfort Farm, the reviews have been enthusiastic in the Guardian & the Independent & I’m looking forward to reading it.
Nancy Mitford is another author who’s had lots of attention this years with reprints of her non-fiction from Vintage & her fiction from Capuchin. I’m not sure how Christmassy Christmas Pudding is but I can’t resist the title at this time of year.
Romance is covered in Trisha Ashley’s new book, The Magic of Christmas. This is “loosely based on one of my earlier novels, Sweet Nothings, with the addition of a lot of new material.” according to a note at the beginning. I’ve read Sweet Nothings but it was a long time ago so I’ll think of this as a whole new story as the author intends.
Every year I read and/or listen to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have an audio book of Miriam Margolyes reading the book which I’ll be listening to on the way to work in a couple of weeks & Hesperus has just published a book by Miriam Margolyes & Sonia Fraser called Dickens’ Women. This is the text of the one woman show that Margolyes has toured around the world & there will be another tour next year to celebrate the Dickens Bicentenary. I’m looking forward to it very much. Margolyes is a Dickens devotee & presented an excellent series some years ago about Dickens’s trip to America. She also played Flora Finching in the 1988 TV production of Little Dorrit.
So, I’m all set for a month of reading, listening to far too many Christmas carols, watching my favourite Christmas movies again & wondering how long the angel on top of the Christmas tree is going to survive Phoebe’s attentions. I also have a new gardening enterprise to keep me busy. I’ll post some photos of that in a couple of days.