"Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo. And with that opening line, Little Women became the obvious go-to book for festive cheer.
This is the last Christmas seven-year-old Buddy spends with his very distant sixty-something-year-old childlike cousin Sook, who is also his best friend. They bake fruitcakes, go into the woods looking for a Christmas tree, save pennies, make kites for each other and on Christmas Day, fly them together.
In short, it is our favourite Christmas story of all time. Most of us discovered it tucked in our copies of
Breakfast at Tiffany’s - A Short Novel and Three Stories
. And it’s one we revisit over and over again.
Lines to quote this Christmas:
“Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!”
The one book that belongs on your bookshelf
Letters From Father Christmas
In 1920, when his firstborn was three years old, Tolkien began a Christmas tradition. For 23 years, he wrote letters to his four children, from Father Christmas. Some are short, some are long – they’re all written in a shaky handwriting. For some years, there are several letters written across the winter months.
These are the adventures at the North Pole. There’s Father Christmas, his elvish secretary, crafty goblins and many other creatures. There are accompanying illustrations (which Tolkien drew himself). There are references to the Second World War too (
The number of children who keep up with me seems to be getting smaller. I expect it is because of this horrible war...).
You must buy a copy of the book if you love
The Lord of The Rings
, have children or if you ever wrote a letter to Santa.
A new book for the season
The Last Of The Spirits
This is a fantasy book for young adults, really. But full-grown adults like us also enjoyed it because it is a wonderful retelling of A Christmas Carol. We use the word, ‘retelling’ a little loosely here. Because although you know the story, this has its surprises.
Two freezing, hungry children Sam and Lizzie follow a rich man (Scrooge, that is) on the street and ask him for money. When they are rudely refused (Bah! Humbug!), Sam vows to kill him.
And so, from the very beginning, you move back and forth between the familiar territory of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future from Dickens’ original and the strange story of Sam and Lizzie. Read it because as the last line of the book states, For what would Christmas be without a ghost story?
Also read:Quick-fix recipes for the perfect Christmas pudding and punch
Also read:Stocks for your Christmas stockings
From HT Brunch, December 21
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