Christmas reading

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.

13 thoughts on “Christmas reading

  1. I've asked for the first two for Christmas from Mother In Law. I'll pick up the Trisha Ashley one from the library – last year I got her then most recent one out in about February!


  2. The Trisha Ashley one is lovely, a good easy Christmas Read.

    We had a cat that used to get in some very strange places and we never knew how they did it – cats are amazingly crafty characters.


  3. I have Christmas Pudding on the list for this month as well! It's been on the TBR pile for far too long. I just read an article on a “Dickens summer camp” here in the States, which Miriam Margolyes attends every year. The author of the article (Jill Lepore) is writing a book about Dickens in America, coming out next year – I'd bet there will be quite a few new publications.


  4. Verity, I hope you get hold of the Ashley before Christmas, I don't think I'd be in the mood for it in January! Jo, I always enjoy Trisha Ashley's books so I expect I'll like this one. Phoebe is good at surprising me but the pantry was very odd. Simon, I'm looking to the Gibbons, how lovely that you have a copy too. Ann, I don't have a choice about making the pudding, my family won't eat a shop bought one anymore! Lisa May, there will be thousands of new Dickens books next year & I expect to be completely Dickensed out by about April. I think I'll have to be very selective or I'll be swamped. I believe Michael Slater has a new book coming soon about Dickens's relationship with Ellen Ternan & I would love to read that. I'm reading the Miriam Margolyes book now & it's very good.


  5. Just recently read The Magic of Christmas – Love Trisha Ashley's novels – it's more than just romance though, there's a nice little “murder?” mystery tucked in there too! – enjoyed the orginal Cold Comfort Farm, such a classic – so i must track down the Christmas one. Love indulging in a little Chrissy lit this time of year. Always enjoy your book selections, so similar to my own tastes.


  6. Thanks Susan, since starting the blog I've been surprised to find that other people share my reading tastes. It makes for a lovely conversation. I'm glad the Trisha Ashley is good, I always feel like baking after reading one of her books, must be the cosy atmosphere.


  7. Is this a coincidence or what? Lyn? Two copies of the Stella Gibbons were floating around at our recent 'Christmas party' and MM's Dickens women is making its way to me. Great minds. That's all I can say. Happy run-up to the Big Day, Lyn xx


  8. Barbara, I've just read the Margolyes & want to get to the Gibbons soon. FleurFisher, I don't know G B Stern, must investigate. I read ACC every year, one of my favourite books.


  9. I'm trying to catch up with my favourite blogs and am so glad I've read this post! I've just been blogging about Christmas books, too, and Trisha Ashley's Twelve Days of Christmas is one of the books I've featured! I must get hold of your recommendation!

    I love your choices and must also look for Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm! And the Dickens one… It's good to have lots of Christmassy reading, isn't it? I couldn't read them at any other time of year. It just wouldn't feel right!


  10. Penny, I agree with you about Christmas reading, it's now or never. I've been singing carols around the house for a couple of weeks now, I never think of them the rest of the year. I read Trisha Ashley's Magic of Christmas on Sunday & enjoyed it. It's a rejigging of an earlier book, Sweet Nothings. Now I'm reading the Gibbons stories & a biography of the Marquess of Montrose.


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