Before I tell you what’s been on my festive list (so far), I finished November with the beauties below – all of which were 4 or 5 stars from me.
I listened to Just One Thing (which inspired me so much that I’ll be telling you more about it in a blog series next year) and Date With Deceit (which I would have enjoyed even more had I read). Murder in Williamstown was my choice for my recent flight to Wellington for a 1920s themed party, and Northanger Abbey was read with book club.
The Festival of Festive Reads
During December I read only seasonally themed books – and this year is no different. Here’s what’s been on my Christmas bookshelf… so far…this month.
Merrily Ever After, by Cathy Bramley
I love those novels where we catch up with what comes after the happy ever after in a previous novel – and that’s exactly what this is. Merrily and Cole are planning a Christmas Eve wedding…what could possibly complicate that? Exactly what it says on the cover and a perfect Christmas escape.
A Christmas Celebration, by Heidi Swain
This is the 9th novel set in fictional Wynbridge and (I think) the 5th set at Christmas and it really is like catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Speaking of which, I really must get around to writing my next Brookford instalment…
The Christmas Invitation, by Trisha Ashley
I’m fairly new to the Tricia Ashley party but really like her style. An eclectic bunch of characters, a snowy setting and an unconventional Christmas – what’s not to like?
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, by Agatha Christie
Confession time: this is the very first Agatha Christie novel I’ve read. #truestory It also won’t be the last. Quintessentially English and a ripping mystery. I literally couldn’t put it down.
Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham
It’s been years since I read anything by John Grisham but Grant brought this one home from the Op shop. One of his colleagues had purchased it, but I was permitted to read it first on the strict instruction that I didn’t read it by the pool (or in the pool) where it could get splashed or fold corners. Yes, I am that person.
Anyways, this was a rather hilarious surprise. Scrooge but without London and the ghosts and in suburban America with a giant snowman. As an extra coincidence, Christmas With The Kranks – the movie based on this book which I’d never heard of before either – came up top on my Netflix holiday movie list tonight. So I watched it and it was a faithful adaptation.
Christmas in Paris, by Tilly Tennant
My least favourite of this year’s haul, but still enjoyable. After all, it’s set in Paris…
The Secret History of Christmas, by Bill Bryson
If you love Christmas, this is essential listening. Bryson covers it all – from the history of Christmas, the religious and pagan origins, to carols, shopping, Santa Claus and food. I loved it so much that I listened twice – in case I missed something the first time around. My head is now full of so much Christmas-based trivia it rivals my Midsomer Murders – The Tom Barnaby years trivia.
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
I listened to this for the first time last Christmas and have done so again this year. In fact, I think it could just be part of my annual Christmas ritual. And read by Hugh Grant? Well, that’s just the icing on the Christmas cake as far as I’m concerned – I could listen to him all day long.
The perfect accompaniment to a present-wrapping or festive baking session, there are passages in this where your heart breaks and where it leaps for joy and others where you can’t help but laugh out loud. I loved every single word.
You’re Dead To Me
Not strictly a book, but this episode of the BBC/Radio 4 comedy/history series about Christmas with Charles Dickens is well worth a listen. You’ll find it here.
I love Christmas, cookbooks and baking, so it stands to reason that I’ll love Christmas baking and Christmas cookbooks. You’ll find my regular list here, but these are two I’ve read in full this season – one old fave and one new discovery.
Advent, by Anja Dunk
New to my Christmas cookbook library is this one. It is what it says on the cover – festive German bakes. I have a number of recipes bookmarked and have just tried the first of these – vanilla and chocolate shortbread.
The Christmas Chronicles, by Nigel Slater
Slater writes about traditions, Christmas markets, Christmas windows, smells, feels, tastes, and memories from the first sign of winter all the way through to February. It’s gorgeously, evocatively, sumptuously written – and I’m absolutely in love with it. I read it from cover to cover every Christmas.
You’ll find a list of my other fave Christmas cookbooks here.
The books I’d like to see under my tree on Christmas Day…
As for the books that are on my drool list? I’m glad you asked. Let’s just say that if Santa drops any of these down the proverbial chimney, I’ll be a happy woman. As an aside, I have it on good authority that Kali aka Adventure Spaniel has already purchased and wrapped a couple of these… She’s a smart little cocker spaniel.
- Cooking, by Jeremy Lee
- Ottolenghi Test Kitchen – Extra Good Things
- Bake, by Paul Hollywood
- Tonight’s Dinner 2, by Adam Liaw
- Paon, by Tjok Maya Kerthyasa
- The British Cookbook, by Ben Mervis
- Potato, by James Martin
- Sea & Shore, by Emily Scott
- Real Life Recipes, by Tom Kerridge
- Tomato by Claire Thomson
Deb, Donna, Sue and I would love you to share what you’ve been reading. The linky is below – and it’s open until Monday evening (AEST).
This is the last WOYBS for 2022, but we’ll be back next year on the third Friday (southern hemisphere) of each month. Hope to see you there.