Fear in Writing: Holiday Books: Heap Your Plate or Passover?

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday Books: Heap Your Plate or Passover?

I love Christmas. I love the way my children's cheeks turn a little rosier, their smile burn a little brighter. I love dressing them incognito for the tree hunting expedition. (They go as puff balls, basically.) I love our traditions - an ornament for each year, egg nog for me, wine for my husband, Christmas music playing and our gas fire trying its best to look wintry-warm.

But when it comes to books about Christmas, I am a little mystified. They hold no appeal. The warmth of the season isn't there for me. If a genre book happens to take place around the holidays, and the festivities are, peripherally, part of the plot, I can handle it. But any more than that and I have moved on to the next shelf.

For people who love holiday books, go to Nely's 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge. Many holiday lovers are enthusiastically signed up and already reading their hot chocolate-warmed hearts out. Plus it's a beautifully designed site, worth checking out! But the idea of taking some known author (i.e. John Grisham) and pumping in candy canes and hearths, just doesn't do it for me.

But that's just me. How about you? Do you love the holidays but keep your reading habits the same, eclectic or not? Do you hate the holidays and this post as well? (you're not actually allowed to say yes to that one) Do you love the holidays and EVERYTHING associated with them?

PostScript: Charles Dickens, please remain still in your grave. Your book, of course, does not fall into this category.

PostPostScript: I forgot the most important holiday book of all- The Bible! This, of course, remains on my shelf and I do not shun. And (alternate opinions aside) I am speaking in this post only of contemporary fiction.


  1. Gosh, I agree with you, Michelle. I don't know why, I love holiday themed movies but the same (feel forced for some reason) holiday themed books leave me cold. Except for two. The obvious choice, Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol", and second, "Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote. What a wonderfully (unforced) genuine story of one boy's Christmas. I read it to my kids when they got a little older. I highly recommend this book, it's terrific.

  2. Oh, how can someone hate holidays??? :) Especially if you live in the USA or Britain. I've always thought that one of the best times in my life would be to visit some English speaking country in December to experience the warmth of the festive atmosphere, the magic of Christmas lights and all your wonderful family gatherings and food, and that feeling of being together ....
    You should appreciate that ... for many people around the world it's a faraway magic that they'll probably never experience.

    Michele, I hope you'll have the most magnificent holidays this year ;)

  3. Elizabeth- You are exactly right! Whereas I shy away from movies made from books (with some exceptions: Atonement, For Whom the Bell Tolls, etc.), I would much rather watch a Christmas movie than read a Christmas book! I mentioned Dickens as well, but I'm not familiar with Capote's tale. I will definitely check that one out! Thanks for the new addition to my wishlist.

    Dezmond- You did read the part where I said I LOVE the holidays, right? It's just the books of which I am not fond.
    But you are definitely right that we are more blessed here in the US than we realize. In fact, as I blogged before, my parents, sister, husband and I are forgoing the traditional gift-giving and using the money to sponsor Angel Tree families in need. The shopping was just as much fun as it would have been for each other, but we got to do it together! You remind me I need to blog an update on this.

    I hope YOUR holidays are magnificent, Dezmond. Thank you for sharing your 10 facts - you are quite fascinating!


  4. I do love holiday books during the holidays. They don't work for me any other time of the year. I'm participating in Nely's Holiday Reading Challenge and I'm having fun with it.

  5. Good for you Bermudaonion! I could tell there were many takers on the challenge. Are you reading books that revolve around the holidays, or where the holiday is more of a backdrop?
    Thank you for sharing!


  6. Love, love, LOVE Christmas :) I do enjoy A Christmas Carol and we have a worn out copy of Twas the Night. Polar Express is lovely, but I didn't see it until my kids were older. Otherwise it might have become a tradition too. Other than that...

  7. My family exchange books over the holidays. Everyone bring a pile of what they read and enjoy the year through and pass it on. We have been doing it seven or so years. Save us having to shop.
    You take care.

  8. I don't read holiday books either. If I stumble across a book with a Christmas theme, I'm usually reading it in the spring. But I do love Christmas! I get misty eyed thinking of snow and picking out a tree...In Australia it's summer and not the same. It's probably better I don't read holoday books anyway, gives me time to pay attention to the people around me and family, which is the point of it all.

  9. I did get that you love holidays, I was referring to those who don't because you know how there are always some "cranky Scrooges" :))