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A Christmas Classic
Start with the most classic of all classic Christmas stories: A Christmas Carol. After you've spent 100 pages in Dickens' holiday wonderland, learning the true meaning of Christmas with Mr. Scrooge, pick up Mr. Dickens and His Carol for a great imagined look at how this masterpiece of a story came to be.
We've probably all seen the ballet at some time or another; maybe it's even a beloved family tradition for you (my best friend always danced in our home town's production!), but have you read the text it's based on? Pick it up and get acquainted with the original short story before you move to Maguire's retelling. Maguire is, of course, famous for his fairytale retellings, and reframes the story of the nutcracker by focusing on Drosselmayer, the godfather who gives Clara the nutcracker. This is on our own TBR this month, but we've heard great things from readers we trust!
A touch of holiday weirdness
I paired these two because they're both a little odd, in the best way. Gogol is a really popular Russian author, and his story of the Devil and the blacksmith in love with the same girl is a pretty famous one. The two lovers compete for her affections on Christmas Eve, and the story is a little dark and a little humorous and a lot different. Capote's short story A Christmas Memory is much warmer and realistic, but still has that very offbeat, quirky tone to it that all his writing does, especially compared to most Christmas tales. I think if you're looking for something other than the standard fare this year, these two will do it for you.
The real santa claus
Both of these focus on Santa Claus himself, rather than Christmas as a tradition or a feeling. Baum tells the story of Santa Claus, starting with his childhood, and details how he became the Jolly Old Elf sneaking down your chimney each December 25th, while Tolkien compiled his own letters to his children "from Santa" wherein Santa regales them with tales of the year he had, including wars between magical creatures, disaster-prone polar bears, and reindeer on the loose. Both of them are just utterly inventive, charming little books.
- Hercule Poirot's Christmas | Agatha Christie
- Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle | Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
If you just need a trusty cozy mystery, give Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle a chance with their most famous detectives solving mysteries at Christmastime. A simple and satisfying way to get some holiday cheer into your reading life!
What holiday books would you pair? We'd love to hear!