Monday, December 15, 2008

Annual Reading

Vicki here. Now that we’ve all been out buying books for gifts, I certainly have, it’s time to pull out the old favourites. I very very rarely, like almost never, re-read books. I have a fairly good-sized library, and often think I’d like to read much-loved such-and-such one more time. But I never seem to get around to it; there are just too many new books that I’m looking forward to, and too little time.

An exception is this time of the year, when even the coldest-hearted of us get a bit nostalgic. Every year I pull out my tattered old copy of my seasonal favourite and settle by the roaring fire, under the glow of lights from the Christmas tree in the corner, and read. The book is Holmes for the Holidays, a collection of short stories, all with a Christmas theme, and all featuring Sherlock Holmes, written by an assortment of modern writers, many of whom you will have heard of. A couple of years ago, I was in Don Longmuir’s late, and much-lamented, bookstore Scene of the Crime, when I happened upon More Holmes for the Holidays. So I now have two books for my annual reading.

As I was travelling last year, I didn’t have the books with me, and am really looking forward to re-discovering my favourite stories.

When my children were young and living at home, for many years over several nights leading up to Christmas Eve I would read to them from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I believe it’s the shortest of Dickens’ books, but still we rarely got further than the visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past. But that didn’t matter because they knew the story from the various movie versions. What mattered, I believe, was that I read it to them, in the original voice of the author, and we created Christmas memories.

I’d love to hear what book-related holiday customs you have.


Donis Casey said...

I can read books over and over. I find new depths every time. Same with certain movies. For the last couple of years, I've enjoyed reading Louise Penny's Fatal Grace for the lovely Quebecois Christmas customs.
I'll think of others later.

Scott Parker said...

Like you, Holmes for the Holidays is a book I crack open every year. I reviewed it last week on my blog as part of Patti Abbott's Friday Forgotten Books project. I also have read A Christmas Carol numerous times and once, I read it aloud to some family and friends over a few days. That was very special. I may have to do that again. There's a new book, The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford that focuses on how Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. And I have a collection--A Treasury of Christmas Classics--I read almost every year. And, finally, Washington Irving's Christmas sketches.