Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Reading


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic: is Books you love reading during the holiday season. Here are some Christmas themed books I’ve read in the past and one I want to read this year.

  1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I often re-read this around Christmas time. This was the first Dickens I read. My Great Aunt gave me this for Christmas one year when I was a child and I’ve loved it ever since.
  2. The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries:The Most Complete Collection of Yuletide Whodunits Ever Assembled edited by Otto Penzler is a big book of 647 pages – so I have an e-book version and dip into into it each Christmas.
  3. A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon –  the Inspector receives two unexpected visitors on Christmas Day.
  4. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie – Christmas Eve with the Lee family and Poirot.
  5. The Christmas Train by David Baldacci – part detective story, part disaster movie, part romance.
  6. The Santa Klaus Murder  by Gladys Mitchell, a classic locked room murder mystery.
  7. The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder is a good book to read during Advent.
  8. A Feast for Advent Delia offers help in escaping for a few minutes each day to contemplate the meaning of Christmas, providing a journey through Advent, illustrated with photographs.
  9. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. This is not the usual Grisham legal thriller, but a very funny little book about the horrors, commercialisation and expense of Christmas.
  10. Snow on the Cobbles by Maggie Sullivan – to read. Christmas on Coronation Street at the end of  the Second World War.


Christmas Reading

I didn’t read very much during Christmas week as we spent a very happy Christmas in Scotland with our son and his family, lots of presents, food and fun, a walk on Boxing Day and a trip to Edinburgh’s Winter Wonderland on Saturday. Set in in Princes Street Gardens overlooked on one side by the huge Scott Monument and on the other by Edinburgh Castle and surrounded by trees full of twinkling silvery lights there were two outdoor ice rinks and fairground rides. The grandchildren loved the skating, even the three-year old once she had got used to the doublebladed skates strapped to her boots! As it got dark the lights came on making the scene just magical – a winter wonderland.

It was a lovely break but now we’re back to normal and have picked up Lucy from the cattery. She was very pleased to be let out of prison and won’t leave us alone, following us around, inspecting everything and sitting on my lap.

As for reading, I read one of the books I had for Christmas – a nice boxful – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  The past few years just before Christmas I’ve looked unsuccessfully for my copy that I had as a child to read it again; I’ve no idea where it went. So this year D bought me a new copy, with the same illustrations by John Leech as in the book I’ve lost. I’d forgotten just how good this book is!

And that was it apart from listening in the car on the way home to The End of Summer by Rosamunde Pilcher, read by Geraldine James. I wish I could read in a car but it makes me feel sick, so listening is the next best thing. Entertaining, if a bit predictable, it filled in three hours of the journey.

Also in my box of books are three books by Martin Edwards, Lake District mysteries – The Coffin Trail, The Cipher Garden and The Arsenic Labyrinth. (The last one I’ve already read when I borrowed a copy from the library, but I enjoyed it so much I wanted my own copy to read again after I’ve read the first two in the series.) 

The other books are a mixed bunch. There is Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, the most autobiographical of his masterpieces, according to the back cover. And then, The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella, “gourmet” fiction about the coffee trade set in 1895. Followed by Susan Hill’s The Vows of Silence, the latest of the Simon Serrailler crime novels. Then, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, which I’ve been wanting to read for ages. Last and by no means least, I was given The Literary Pocket Companion by Emma Jones – full of fascinating things, perfect!

The only thing now is where do I start – one of these new books or maybe one from my ever growing to-be-read piles?

A Christmas Meme

I was tagged by Sam for this Christmas meme.

What is your most enduring Christmas memory? I don’t think I could single out one particular moment, maybe remembering back to my childhood when Christmas was a magical time, later enjoying it through my son’s excitement and these days through my grandchildren’s eyes.


Do you have a favourite piece of Christmas music? Silent Night, but don’t ask me to sing it solo.

Do you stick to the old family traditions? Apart from giving present and celebrating with lots of food, no. My grandmother used to stand to attention during the Queen’s speech but no one else did, much to her disapproval.

What makes your mouth water at Christmas time!? I love all Christmas food.

How soon do you put the Christmas tree up and when do you take it down? It varies – we haven’t put one up yet. It has to be taken down and all Christmas decorations put away before Twelfth Night.

I would like to tag Nan, Kay, Cornflower and Geranium Cat for this meme.