Discussion Thread: Holiday Reading

Christmas tree books

Every week, I tell you all about what I am reading and watching, but this week, it’s your turn to tell me what you’re reading and watching!

Tis the time of year to be jolly and–hopefully–read some books and give and receive books as gifts (not that I’m hinting).

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Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

For those looking for a prolific writer whose works are always in season, Agatha Christie should be on the top of your list. You won’t run out of books to read quickly — they are fun to revisit even if you have read them some time ago, and she even has a holiday tale. . . .

Known by several titles since its original publication in 1938, Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder (aka Hercule Poirot’s Christmas or Murder for Christmas) has been delighting fans of classic murder mysteries for decades.

Simeon Lee is an unpleasant old man. He is also a very rich old man, which might explain why his timid son Alfred and Alfred’s long-suffering wife Lydia tolerate his meanness. They’ve lived with Simeon for years, despite his cruelty and the savage way he treated his late wife.

The rest of the family long ago figured out their own escape, whether it was fleeing to London for a political career like stingy George, becoming an artist and renouncing all family ties like the sensitive David, running away to Spain to get married like free-spirited Jennifer, or just absconding to parts unknown like the family’s wild child Harry.

But for Christmas, Simeon has summoned all of his sons (and their wives) back home, as well as the late Jennifer’s daughter Pilar. Also popping in is the son of his former business partner back in South Africa. It almost looks like the old man wants to make amends for the holidays, but anyone who assumes that just doesn’t know Simeon very well. . . .

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Oddly Specific Genres: The More, The Merrier

Some writers spend years working painstakingly on one book. Other authors, meanwhile, seem to effortlessly churn out several a year.

For readers, waiting years for the next book can be agonizing, but it can also be frustrating to read something that seems hastily thrown together. For that reason, every reader (and writer, for that matter) definitely has their preference, with some militantly spurning series and others who think that, well, the more, the merrier. (Personally, I’m in the middle. I enjoy a good series, but I’m also not much of one for the seemingly never-ending ones, with a couple of notable exceptions, because I quickly lose interest.)

This month at the library, we’re celebrating those merrier writers, those with long-running series, by highlighting their holiday entries.  The good news . . . if you like what you read, there’s plenty more!

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book Set During Christmas


In my life, some have accused me of being a grinch.

But I think that’s less a reflection of my own thoughts on the holidays and more a reflection of other people’s enthusiasm for them.

I can’t even think about the holidays until December rolls around, so anytime I see Christmas decorations and advertising or hear Christmas songs in October and November, I have to restrain myself from reacting with more than a grimace or an eyeroll.

Oh I suppose I should just be happy people are enjoying themselves, but I can’t help but think, “Wait your turn, Christmas! Let pumpkins and turkeys get some attention first!”

But since we’re into December now, I think it’s safe to venture into holiday reading territory now, and I thought it would be fun to share Christmas reading traditions.

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