Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Books for the Holiday Season

    Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza or you don't want to hear one more thing about "getting ready for the holidays," I have a reading list that will help you wind down each evening. Other than the two lists (since I can't know all the best books), I've read all of these. A couple I've written.

    Many versions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol populate Amazon and other sites, some illustrated. It's darker than the kind of tales you'll see today, but the story is timeless. If you've only seen the movies, try the book. Most libraries have multiple copies.

    After promising a list of books, I have to add my favorite Christmas story, a movie,
It's a Wonderful Life. I saw the move for the first time as an adult, when I was sad about something. I can truly say it affected my outlook on life, then and now. Right now it's also free on Amazon Prime (that's not the link I cited here).

    The first story I remember as an adult (okay, high school) was O. Henry's
The Gift of the Magi. A young couple has no money to give each other a gift, but each makes a meaningful sacrifice to secure one. Many copies are free on retail sites.

Parent Magazine's eclectic mix of books for children is delightful. (I might add many are for children of all ages.) It covers the three major celebrations, and most are secular, though there is also a beautiful tale of how the animals in the stable welcome Baby Jesus and his family. While most deal with Christmas, others deal with Hanukkah and Kwanza.

    The Mission offers a list of the
thirty best Christmas books. I found several I'll read this year.

    Publisher Annie Acorn LLC does a book of Christmas stories each year. My favorite is
Snowbound for Christmas, which is a good introduction to the group. Click on that one (currently a 99 cent bargain) and you'll gain access to the other years' books. (Okay, I'm biased, Annie publishes my River's Edge Series!)

Mildred Mistletoe Fixes Christmas is my take on how families can help each other when their teenagers figure out one of them needs a boost. One reviewer says, " This is a story about human problems that are lessened by human kindness--and just a tiny nudge from a wise cat."

A Few Mysteries with Christmas Spirit...

     There are good reasons why Karen Musser Nortman's
A Campy Christmas has 159 reviews and some readers think it should be a Hallmark Christmas movie. It's part of the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mystery series, but you don't need to have read the earlier books. The crew gets stuck in a Christmas blizzard, and finds a gift in helping others.

Murder in Christmas River is the first of a series by Meg Muldoon. I've read many of them, and like them a lot. Protagonist Cinnamon Peters is a baker who cooks up more than her trademark entry to the annual gingerbread competition.

   Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, by Agatha Christie. Enough said.

   Holidays in Ocean Alley, the ninth Jolie Gentil mystery, finds Aunt Madge solving a murder in Silver Times Senior Living. But she also realizes injured people need more than a lift to the hospital, and organizes a giving opportunity. Enjoy the humor.

Final Cycle is my second book in the Logland Mystery. Chief Elizabeth Friedman works with the eclectic Logland residents to solve a murder that takes place during the Christmas season. Doesn't sound very "holidayish" but be assured the warmth of the season comes through. You can preorder through December 23rd, when you'll receive the book. Final Cycle -- a police procedural with a cozy feel.  

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