A sense of the season
A shiny, sparkly pink book cover, with the words ‘Christmas Magic’ inscribed across, can only be designed to evoke a certain kind of holiday mushiness. Even a glance through the collection of 19 short stories that make up Cathy Kelly’s book confirms that she does not deviate from that pattern, with stories that bear names like ‘A Family Christmas’, ‘Christmas Post’ and ‘The Office Christmas Party’. Kelly’s skills as a writer serves her well though and the humanity and depth of feelings — especially in the story of the two unmarried sisters trying to escape their dead mother’s thrall — might make some of the stories linger in your mind beyond the holiday.
Greg Heffley, the wimpy boy-hero created by Jeff Kinney is back, in the sixth instalment of the Wimpy Kid series. Greg’s adventures first appeared on a website, was viewed 20 million times, and the book finally published in 2007. In Cabin Fever, Greg, addicted to a videogame called Net Kritterz that lets him rear a virtual chihuahua (and buy outfits and mansions for it), is stuck at home with his family during a blizzard even as he becomes the prime suspect for damaging school property. You don’t have to turn to the book to figure out that the holiday season brings good cheer. A charming rendition , nonetheless, of the heartbreaks and hopes that accompanies growing up.
Oft told tale
We might as well start treating ‘expat lit’ as a genre in itself, since Dave Prager’s account of the 18 months he spent in Delhi with wife Jenny Steeves in Delirious Delhi is surely not the last of the ‘foreign eye view’ account to come out of the press. Amid the deluge of online information, Prager and Steeves, packing their bags in New York, somehow assume that Delhi had “eleven months of unbroken heat and one month of unbroken rain”. What follows is a blow-by-blow account of their story of settling in a new city. Unfortunately for the reader, the tedium of the narrative is not relieved by the limp humour either.