Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas reading?


I don't know about you, but I'm always a little nonplussed when people talk about the perfect book to read on the beach, or in autumn, or when it's cold, etc. etc. I tend simply to read the book I want or need to read next, with little consideration for the temperature, season, or day of the week.

But this year, I'm embracing it - I've lined up a couple of books which I think are perfect for long winter evenings. Why does winter suit long books in my head? I baulk at the idea of fluffy fiction on beaches - surely uninterrupted time on the beach is perfect for long, complex novels? - but chunky novels for winter seem to work. And I've got a couple lined up - Great Expectations by one Mr. C. Dickens, and Sarah Waters' The Night Watch. You know my feelings about long books, but I'm going to put the winter evenings to good use.

I'm about 50 pages into Great Expectations and loving it. How have I not read any Dickens since 2004? I've read Hard Times, David Copperfield, and Our Mutual Friend and either loved or very much liked them all. And I'm loving this one - Dickens' way with dialogue is unparalleled.

But I'll write about it properly when I'm finished - this post is just to ask whether or not you have any Christmas/winter reading planned, and whether or not you plan your reading by season etc.? Let me know!

21 comments:

  1. I haven't chosen my stack for holiday reading yet (I may wait and see what Santa brings me), but one I am planning on reading is Agatha Christie's The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding.

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  2. My reading changes a little with the year but not much. I mostly read nonfiction but I read more fiction in summer. I like to read at least one Christmas book near Christmas and I read at least one scarier book near Halloween.

    If I have a book that fits the season, I'll read it but I don't always go out of my way to find one. Last Valentine's Day I had a book that fit so I read it and it happened to fit into a special blog event. But I wouldn't have bought or borrowed one on purpose.

    I read one Christmas review book I have but I have another one that's not review that I got at library book sale and I probably won't get to it.

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  3. I tend to alternate between serious and less serious books. I have never seen it as a seasonal thing.

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  4. A holiday of Dickens sounds just right. I hope you have a lovely time reading and just relaxing over the break.

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  5. I do not choose by season (don't have seasons as such in Sri Lanka anyway!!) but somehow nearing Christmas I seem to gravitate to family sagas, happier old fashioned stories!!! Some analyst will have a field day with that.

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  6. I do not plan my reading by season, but by my current interests. This Christmas season I am reading Octavio Paz, Dennis Lehane, some African American history, and Irene Nemirovsky. There is no rhyme or reason, but I follow various lines of inquiry to books new to me, if old hat to many others. Then there is the ever-growing list of books I meant to read but haven't gotten around to yet. One day I will.

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  7. Absolutely! i've got a stack of books that I've bene saving for the break, but also want to fit in some Christmassy themed reads - I wrote a post about it a little while ago.

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  8. You'll be "amazed" to hear that my answers are no and no!

    I've never considered seasons or anything else as influencing my choice of reading; that is of course not to say that they don't but if so then I am not aware of it.

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  9. Usually I'm drawn towards the Victorian classics in the winter, as there's just something about them that feels, well, wintery. At the moment though the winter is driving me towards short, light children's classics (I'm reading my way through the Narnia books and some E. Nesbit at the moment) because the cold weather has sent me into hibernation mode and I keep falling asleep on the train and if my book is particularly complicated or involved I can't work out where I was when I wake up. So yes, I am reading seasonally, but by necessity rather than design.

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  10. I am hoping to read Lady Audley's Secret and something by Georgette Heyer.

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  11. When the days grow short (but starting to get longer after today!), I like to read about other people's lives. Right now, I'm halfway through Edmund Morris's exceptional biography of Theodore Roosevelt's last decade: Colonel Roosevelt.
    TR may have little attraction for non-Americans, but Morris's writing is exceptional and worthwhile. He's also written two other Roosevelt biographies, a fictionalized bio of Ronald Reagan, and, most recently, a biography of Beethoven.

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  12. I'm glad you're enjoying Great Expectaions. Possibly my favourite book of all (and it has stiff competition!) I'm thinking of having a go at Our Mutual Friend next.
    But I must admit, I like the season to fit my reading, if possible. For example, I don't want to read about blazing sunshine when it's snow and fog outside.

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  13. I tend to go for longer books in the winter, also Victorian classics but at the moment I seem to be reading a lot of thrillers and my latest is all about a serial killer. Not exactly Christmassy is it?

    But will be reading A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve as I do each year. Simply love it. It is a tradition I have kept up since livingon my own and I find it a time of peace and contemplation.

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  14. I shall be reading this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Books-Pocket-Classics/dp/095626686X/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1292924113&sr=8-33
    My final Project 24 book and my FIRST Dickens...

    Lge

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  15. G.E. was the first CD I ever read - loved it. Of course is was severely abridged as it was 5th grade but later read it in its entirety. Fabulous. Thinking about Bleak House for this winter.

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  16. I've found the themed readings of other bloggers to be quite infectious and now do the same when I can. There is a copy of A Christmas Carol by my bed and I'm really hoping to read a short story or two from that compilation.

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Night Watch. A book I really want to read but it's further down the tbr pile!

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  17. Great Expectations is also one of my all-time favourites (like Penny above) & I have recently reread it, loving it all the more. I aim to reread A Christmas Carol on alternate Christmases.

    This year I am going to read The Box of Delights, never having read it before.

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  18. I cannot decide if I want to read a massive classic or a modern epic, its a bit of a Christmas conundrum for me to be honest!

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  19. I have a few times of the year when I read around a theme, mostly Christmas & Remembrance Day. Other than that, Simon, I'm like you. I read what I want when I want, apart from my online bookgroup reads & library books that have a reservation queue!

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  20. I don't plan my reading: whatever I'm in the mood for at the moment is my "plan". However, I do find that long winter evenings make me want to curl up with 19th cent Brit classics. This year, it's The Eustace Diamonds (to start with, anyway). And someone (was it you, Simon?) last year recommended A Proper Family Christmas; which I promptly acquired through paperbackswap.com and saved to read this year. It was a perfect diversion!

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  21. I like reading Victorian novels in the winter--for just the reasons you mention--long, dark nights when you can snuggle up with a good book. I'm trying to finish books on my night table and have Wilkie Collins's No Name, which is perfect, but I have a few others on the go as well!

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