Monday, December 13, 2010

Four Christmas Reads

Christmas books are a tricky thing. Sometimes the setting is only secondary to the plot which makes them not truly a Christmas read. Other times the author goes too overboard with Christmas and it winds up being overwrought. Typically my favorite holidays literary passages are one chapter in a children's book such as A Year Down Yonder or the Four Story Mistake. However, I have found a few Christmas books that are quite fun to read.

Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson. Yes, this is technically a cookbook, but Lawson's style is heavy on the narrative, and it is well written entertaining narrative at that. I don't know how many recipes I will make from this book considering I don't have ready access to goose fat and have no desire to eat a steamed pudding. It is a delightful read though.

Immoveable Feast by John Baxter. This is another food related book, but it is not a cookbook. It is a memoir of one Christmas where the author prepares the Christmas feast for his wife's French family. Each chapter focuses on the journey to obtain ingredients for a specific course along with related stories from Christmases past. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it, unless you have food issues in which case you might want to pass it by. It will make you hungry.

Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. I've blathered on about how much I enjoy this book in an earlier post ages ago, but it deserves another plug. It is a sort of Christmas Story for the literary set. (Yes, yes I know, that's actually a book too! But Schwartz goes on to die in the book and who wants to endure that?) Only with zombies, profanity and lots of sex. Delightfully wicked. The extra bit in the 2.0 edition doesn't really add anything, but it is nice to spend more time with the characters.

The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike and Edward Gorey. At a scant 32 pages, and predominantly illustrations this book is a delightful little truffle of naughtiness. Many things at Christmas are cloying, and the expectations to do so many things and do them perfectly can leave folks overwhelmed to say the least. This book skewers many of those traditions in Gorey's well known macabre way.