Update: I had gotten the titles and editions for Moomin in English mixed up. It is now corrected.
It is my ambition to be one of those people who has a shelf of “Christmas books”. Not just Christmas cookbooks but novels and non-fiction about the holiday, to read during the holiday. That is not for everyone though. But still, reading a book that takes place during Christmas or is about it is a nice thing I think, getting in the mood and such. Here are a few suggestions.
- A Christmas carol by Charles Dickens. This is the first one I come to think of, and I have read it every year for many many years. This tradition did not start with me but I cherish it. It is easy to read, suitable for many ages and a great gift as there are so many beautiful editions around.
- Christmas comes to Moominland by Tove Jansson. Another one that is close to my heart actually. The moomins usually go into hibernation during winter but one winter Moomin wakes up in the middle and realizes that strange things are afoot. Christmas is coming!
- An almost perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe. A collection of short stories, memories and a few handy guides on how to survive Christmas. Stibbe brings humour to the whole thing and it can be a good antidote to the perfectionism that goes around like the flu this time of year.
- Winter by Ali Smith. A novel that is built on the structure and includes elements of A Christmas Carol but is also very much of the here and now. I have loved the two first books in this quartet and the fact that they are infused with a love of Dickens’ is part of their appeal in my eyes. Winter is also a good contemporary novel that happens to be a Christmas book.
- Christmas days: 12 stories and 12 feast for 12 days by Jeanette Winterson. I actually neither own nor have read this book but others speak highly of it and it is on my wish list. I do trust Winterson with this.
- Plum Pudding by Nancy Mitford. Another one that I haven’t read nor own. Probably one of the few Mitford novels that I haven’t read actually. I should amend that but I’m pretty sure that there is a bit of the Mitford sharpness in observation and the sarcasm that comes with it, all in a quintessentially English context for comfort. Actual plum pudding however should be avoided at all costs.
- The Christmas tree by H.C Andersen. I’m obsessed with Christmas trees this year for some reason and this bitter-sweet story by H.C Andersen came to mind. He has written several stories and fairy tales that suit the season in general and a few that center on the holiday itself, this one is this years pick I guess.