The Twelve Books of Christmas

Unknown   Despite the song, the real twelve days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and continue through the eve of the Epiphany (Twelfth Night). But the countdown to Christmas may start as early as December 1st if you have an Advent Calendar and sometimes right after Halloween in shopping malls.

With twelve days left, here is a short list of Christmas themed books you might have missed.

  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan

What would you do if you found a notebook in the stacks of a New York City bookstore with a mysterious note, challenging you to solve a mystery?  In this young adult book, the authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist create a quirky and delightful story combining a love of books with teenage first love.

Lily, an avid reader and dog walker, has written a set of clues and challenges in a red notebook and left it on her favorite bookstore shelf hoping for the right guy to find it.  Dash (short for Dashiell), a lover of books and yogurt, finds the notebook and they begin passing it between them with clues, sometimes literary, leading each to new places and experiences around the city during Christmas.

  • Agatha Christie Christmas Mysteries

A Christmas family get-together abruptly ends in a murder with Hercule Poirot called in to investigate in Hercules Poirot’s Christmas, and in The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (a wonderful BBC audiobook), Poirot finds a scrawled note on his pillow: “DON’T EAT NONE OF THE PLUM PUDDING. ONE WHO WISHES YOU WELL”.  A fun alternative to listening to The Night Before Christmas.

9781509848195  Pablo Picasso’s Noel by Carol Ann Duffy follows the famous painter as he moves through a small town in the south of France on Christmas Eve, drawing the residents and the festive scenes he encounters, accompanied by his small dog.

  • The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus by Dr. Hannah Fry provides mathematical proof of Santa with puzzles and games.
  • Christmas: A Biography by Judith Sanders gives a social historian’s examination of the origins, myths, legends and history of the season.
  • Christmas with the Savages by Mary Clive, a funny children’s story based on real events and people, is seen through the eyes of a prim eight-year old girl in a large Edwardian country house.
  •  Christmas Remembered (audiobook) by children’s author Tommy dePaola shares his love for Christmas in fifteen vivid memories, spanning six decades – as a teenager in Connecticut, an art student in Brooklyn, a novice monk in Vermont, and an artist in New Hampshire.

To get to twelve, try some Charles Dickens:  The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, A Christmas Tree, and The Holly Tree – all available on line at Dickens on Line.






Christmas Stories

candy-cane-ribbon-hollyMerry Christmas, Everyone.

I recently read an article about first lines from books about Christmas; I recognized many familiar favorites:

from Little Women: “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents…

from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…”

from The Greatest Gift (better know as It’s A Wonderful Life): The little town straggling on the hill was bright with coloured Christmas lights, but George Pratt did not see them…”

Among the titles was one I had not thought about in awhile and plan to reread this Christmas.  Maybe you’d enjoy it too –

free from Project Gutenberg – my Christmas gift to you:

The Gift of the Magi  819241-M


The Book Santa Brought

9780553459272_p0_v3_s192x300My favorite Christmas gift is always a book, and this year a good friend sent me Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein.  A picture book with “true tales and lost moments from buyers, booksellers, and book lovers.” This book will always have a special place on my shelf.  Rizolli’s of New York City is in there – one of my favorites.  The store closed in 2014 after fifty years in midtown Manhattan, but happily it has relocated and reopened.

I plan to make a list of all the bookstores I have yet to visit – from all over the world – an itinerary for the future.

I Found This Post from 2011 – Merry Christmas!

9780971461222_p0_v1_s192x300When organizing categories for Christmas gifts – to help her calm the day’s frenzy – a friend with four children always included a game, a craft, something warm and fuzzy, and – of course – a book.  I remember finding a quiet corner to eat cookies and read my new book(s) on Christmas day.

In an article for USA Today, Darr Brieser asked authors to remember a Christmas book gift.  Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden and more recently The Night Strangers, remembers his favorite Christmas book gift – The Joyous Season by Patrick Dennis, the author of Auntie Mame.

Michiko Kakutani for the New York Times offers some suggestions for Christmas gift giving that include The Art of Fielding and Moonwalking with Einstein – two of my favorite reads this year.


What books do you remember getting from Santa?

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