Today’s top 5 is all about Christmas – how could it be any different? From the all time favourite A Christmas Carol by Dickens to Tolkien’s Letters to Father Christmas. This time I’ve only included books that I haven’t read yet, so it’s a Christmas TBR at the same time!
For my seasonal winter TBR, check this blog post. I could have filled this top 5 with all of the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, but I decided to shake things up a little and explore the best Christmas classics that still have to read. That being said, the first on the list might not be a big surprise …
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The classic of Christmas classics is definitely A Christmas Carol by Dickens. I’ve seen a few movie adaptations (Scrooged from 1988 and the 2001 animation with Kate Winslet), but I’ve never read the actual story. My boyfriend gave me the beautiful clothbound edition last year, but back then I couldn’t find the time to read it (at least not before Christmas). I had intended to read it the week before Christmas this year, but I’m still working my way through Great Expectations by the same gentlemen. I might decide to put that one down for the time being and read A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings instead. That’s probably the right thing to do.
Letters From Father Christmas by Tolkien
Last year I’ve ploughed through The Lord of the Rings and this year I’ve reread The Hobbit. Although Tolkien has written a lot more about Middle Earth (think Silmarillion and Children of Hurin), I’m more interested in Letters From Father Christmas and Mr Bliss. There is something delightfully comforting in reading personal texts. On the book’s back flap it reads: ‘Every December J.R.R. Tolkien’s children would receive letters from Father Christmas. From the first note to his eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant correspondence to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.’ Great stuff, I tell you!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Probably one of the most loved American classics: Alcott’s masterpiece about four sisters in a time of war. Or so it says on the back flap: ‘Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another.’ According to Wikipedia the novel addresses three major and interdependent themes: domesticity, work and true love. Apparently there is also a sequel (for those who just can’t get enough), Little Men and a sequel of the sequel, Jo’s Boys.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by dr. Seuss
I think I sense a theme here, because according to goodreads, ‘Dr. Seuss’s small-hearted Grinch ranks right up there with Scrooge when it comes to the crankiest, scowling holiday grumps of all time.’ Maybe I like to read about unhappy, greedy people? ‘For 53 years, the Grinch has lived in a cave on the side of a mountain, looming above the Whos in Whoville. The noisy holiday preparations and infernal singing of the happy little citizens below annoy him to no end. The Grinch decides this frivolous merriment must stop. His ‘wonderful, awful’ idea is to don a Santa outfit, strap heavy antlers on his poor, quivering dog Max, construct a makeshift sleigh, head down to Whoville, and strip the chafingly cheerful Whos of their Yuletide glee once and for all.’
The Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ like a good murder, right? Just to add a little extra to the festivities? Of course there’s Hercule Poirot’s Christmas but I think I’ll read The Murder on the Links next. I’ve read The Mysterious Affair at Styles in a beautiful facsimile edition and I want to continue collecting these and reading Christie’s Poirot novels along the way. The story: ‘An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies in a shallow grave on a golf course. Then another body is found, and Poirot has an intriguing case to solve.’