Christmas

This Holiday is Interfering with My Reading!

Between all the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, and getting together with loved ones, there isn’t a lot of time left for reading.  The Christmas season has never been a big reading time for me.  Instead, I play Christmas movies as I work on all of my holiday preparations.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few books I turn to when the season turns festive.

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Michael Caine’s wonderful portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol

There couldn’t be a list of Christmas stories without Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.  There are plenty of good film adaptations out there (my favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol ) but none of them quite offer all the eerieness and pure joy that reading the book gives you.  So every couple of years I pick up my copy of the classic tale of redemption.

I have a soft spot for A Christmas Carol for sure, thanks to participating in a stage production in middle school, but my favorite Christmas read is The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum.

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The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum

That’s right the creator of The Wizard of Oz wrote a lovely little book about Santa Claus.  Unlike some Christmas tales, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus isn’t a hit-you-over-the-head, cloying story nor is it religious.  This is not a story of St. Nicholas.  Instead, it reads like a good fantasy story with fairies, helpful forest creatures, and the kind of magic that comes from nature.  It gets to the heart of the season without screaming a message at the reader.  I only wish I had discovered it as I child so I could have read this magical take on Santa Claus many more times.

Halloween

Spooky Reads

Happy Halloween!  In celebration of the holiday, I thought I share a few of my favorite Halloween reads.  As a rule, I do not read many horror or thriller novels.  I’m just too much of a wimp.  But during the month of October, I do enjoy a seasonal read.  One of my go-to books for Halloween is Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, which I discovered thanks to the animated version shown on television in the 1990s.  While I still enjoy watching that movie version, the book transports you to small town America on that most haunting of nights thanks to Bradbury’s powers of description.  My favorite phrase from the book is a perspiration of boys”.  How wonderful is that?

For a scarier read, I enjoy reading the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe.  “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a particular favorite of mine.  An audio version presented during class in middle school still haunts me with the palpable beating of the heart through the floorboards.

And Halloween isn’t just for fiction.  Though I scare easily, I do enjoy a good ghost story.  Especially if they occur in places I can recognize.  In high school, I read Ghosts Along the Bayou by Christine K. Word and particularly enjoyed the stories of places near my own hometown in South Louisiana.  It is the perfect read on a dark, stormy Louisiana Halloween night.