On the post Christmas Propelling, I mentioned my Christmas books reading list, and then Becky and Betsy both asked about the other books on that list, so here they are:
The only one that is important to me that I read every year (i.e., I look forward to it as a significant part of Christmas, and will rearrange things to make sure there's time to read it) is Maeve Binchy's This Year It Will Be Different. I love it so much, and the stories are so familiar to me now that I start getting weepy and sentimental just OPENING THE BOOK, and I just really love it.
I don't know whether to recommend it to others, though. You know how people are like, "Oh, I read Anna Karenina every year and I just LOVE it so MUCH!," and then you read it and you think "OMG this is so incredibly awful and depressing and there are so many Russian names to keep track of I can't STAND it, I want to DIE"? You know how that is? Well, I love Maeve Binchy, but when I have recommended her in the past, it has sometimes happened that the recipient of the recommendation has referred to her books as "so depressing." Whereas I find them uplifting and satisfying and if anything a little overly undepressing ("Hey, everything works out right! Again!")---but that is how some people feel about dark Russian novels that have words such as "doomed" and "tragedy" in the descriptions, so clearly there is a certain element of crapshootage to the book-recommendations thing. And it would be hard for me to say that stories involving hideous and unspeakably-rude stepdaughters, sad affairs with married men, and canceled weddings were not A BIT on the doomed/tragedy side, if someone were to read This Year It Will Be Different and then call me out on that. And I don't know if I loved it quite so much the first time I read it. And so forth.
ANYWAY. It's my favorite Christmas book. And in fact I will buy a copy for someone. Leave a comment that specifically mentions it if you want to be included in the drawing; I think you ought to be able to comment on a post without being entered into a contest. My goal will be to get you a hardcover edition, because I think it's much nicer, but this means a gamble with a used copy from an Amazon Marketplace seller---speaking of crapshoots. They're always like, "NEW condition! BRAND-NEW!!" and then it arrives all dinged and scuffed. Which I wouldn't have MINDED if it had been LISTED that way.
So, as I was saying, This Year It Will Be Different is the one that's every year. Then I have Augusten Burroughs's You Better Not Cry (Amazon search results lead me to a $21.99 hardcover, but I see there is also an $8.80 bargain-priced hardcover so I linked to that), which I discussed in the Christmas Propelling post linked to above. This year I also have a new one in the pile: David Sedaris's Holidays on Ice. It has other holidays in it besides just the winter ones.
Two others on the pile are Miss Read books. They're a little hard to find, but I see there's a single volume that has both that can be bought used starting at about $4.00 (they say starting at a penny or two, but that doesn't take into account the four dollars shipping). There are in the "pleasant little tales of a quiet village" category, very nice for reading in a room with Christmas lights and maybe a fireplace.
And the last is Christmas Stories. This one includes stories by famous English-class authors: Dickens and Chekov and Updike. I shouldn't really have it in the pile, because it is the one I leaf through a little bit if I've read all the others. But it has such a pretty binding and I love seeing it with the other books.
All right, so that is the Christmas Book pile. And remember to mention in a comment if you want to try the Maeve Binchy book. I'll pick a name soon, in the hopes of getting the book there before Christmas (although there's no hope of it if it's a book-rate option, which can take weeks). How about...Monday. I'll pick someone sometime on Monday. (U.S. mailing addresses only, as usual---I have Amazon ship it directly.)
(Also see: Christmas Books Follow-Up.)
Edited to add: The winner is Sarah Filchak. I'll email you, Sarah!
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