Journey into Christmas and Other Stories by Bess Streeter Aldrich

>It’s never too late to read a Christmas story of love and good cheer.  At this time of year our complicated, harried world can be overwhelming.  Take a few minutes to relax with a book such as Journey Into Christmas and Other Stories by the beloved writer, Bess Streeter Aldrich.  Her uplifting, short vignettes of holiday memories during times of a less hurried generation are just what I needed.  I particularly enjoyed “Christmas on the Prairies” from her classic A Lantern in Her Hand.
The Christmas fiction and non-fiction display books have been flying off the shelves as though they were trying to jump into Santa’s sleigh. We still have a few available for check-out and the early December check-outs are beginning to come back in.  Stop by for a seasonal read and have a very Merry Christmas!

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

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Are you stressed out and overworked from all of your Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and other holiday activities? Bring the fun back into Christmas by checking out the hilarious Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book by Brian Miller, Adam Paulson, and Kevin Wool. It will have you laughing all the way through and by the end you will be much more relaxed and jolly. The book is purported to be a “how-to” book on throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party. There are a few short chapters with party suggestions such as games, music, food and drinks, and awarding prizes. The majority of the “how-to” section is very tongue in cheek, and not intended to be serious suggestions. For instance, there is a particularly humorous section on how to pick out that perfect Christmas sweater. If you want to win the prize for the ugliest sweater, the authors suggest that your sweater must not only be ugly, but also engage the five senses. Some ways to do this are by adding 3D effects, bells or chimes, edible items, and other interactive items such as pinecones or reindeer fur. You could even add some vanilla extract or rub yourself with pine scented air fresheners! The real star of the book, however, is the number of pages of over-the-top ugly Christmas sweaters with hilarious titles and descriptions. It’s a short book, so if you still haven’t gotten enough, check out the authors’ website UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com to peruse more ugly Christmas sweaters.

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig

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I’ve written about this series before, but this book was so sweet I just couldn’t resist revisiting. I also want to note that this book would be perfectly understandable even if you haven’t read any of the others. In the Pink Carnation series Willig has continued to provide hilarious, suspenseful, and romantic fare that will leave you clammoring for the next in the series.

In The Mischief of the Mistletoe we finally get to hear the story of Turnip Fitzhugh, the bumbling and lovable character that has accidently thwarted many an evil plot throughout the series. When visiting his mischevious sister at school to deliver her Christmas basket, he literally stumbles into Miss Arabella Dempsey, drawing the two of them into an intriguing plot involving suspicious Christmas puddings. Miss Dempsey was merely making starting a teaching position in an attempt to support herself after her aunt suddenly dashed her expectations. She wasn’t expecting to stumble into an evil plot or the man who guilelessly babbles his way into her heart.

With a cameo appearance by Jane Austen, this delightful romance will have you cheering for justice, true love, and the quest for a quality Christmas pudding.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

> Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is so much more than an exercise in witty dialogue and amusing secondary characters. It is a trip around New York City in the bustling period around Christmas and the New Year and a glimpse back in time (for adults) to what it was like to be a teenager embarking on an adventure that leads to self-discovery and romance.

For Dash, the adventure begins in his favorite bookstore when he finds a red moleskin notebook next to Franny and Zooey that contains a set of instructions he must follow in order to get in touch with Lily, the owner of the notebook. Dash is intrigued but decides two can play that game and leaves his own set of instructions for Lily. The pair embark on a dance composed of correspondences and trips around the city to typical tourist destinations (at the height of the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy) as well as to places mostly known only to residents.

The intriguing secondary characters, many plot twists and choice use of words keep this novel moving and make it a quick, fun and timely read as we head into the holidays.

Skipping Christmas

>The holiday season is upon us and what better way to get ready then to read a Christmas novel. One of my favorites is Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. The Krank’s have always been all about Christmas. They have the neighborhood Christmas Eve party every year at their house. They put frosty on top of their roof just like all the other neighbors. But when their daughter is spending Christmas out of the country, what better time to leave the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind and spend the holiday on tropical beaches catering to themselves. The one catch is that they can’t celebrate Christmas in any way. Nora finds it hard not to do the little Christmas things that have meant so much over years. On the other hand, Luther is loving being Mr. Scrooge. Neighbors think they are crazy, but they made a deal—No Christmas in exchange for the beaches. You’ll find other great Christmas novels on display at the Library this month.

Holiday Treats

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There’s nothing better for getting in the spirit of the season than to curl up in a comfy chair with a cup of spiced cider and a holiday book. We still have a cart full of festive treasures set up next to the information desk on the first floor. Here’s a sampling of what’s waiting for you:

A Family Christmas – introduced and selected by Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy has established a reputation as an excellent anthologist. In the past she has created collections of poems and patriotic works that are respected and well loved. Here Caroline focuses her own family traditions, presenting a charming collection of favorite Christmas tales to those who love to celebrate the spirit of the holidays.

Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt with illustrations by Loren Long
The author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Angela’s Ashes writes a story about Angela as a child, who feels sorry for the baby Jesus in the manger at her church and decides she must rescue him.

The Christmas Pig: A Fable by Kinky Friedman
Friedman tells the story of a king who decides his subjects need some cheering up and a nativity painting is just the thing to do it. Ten-year-old Benjamin, a mute boy with artistic genius is summoned for the job. Benjamin sets to work on the painting in the barn where he meets Valerie, the talking pig. Be prepared for tears in this sweet Christmas tale.

‘Tis the Season

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It is the season for holiday fiction, and The Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Milne is a heartwarming short novel about two brothers –Aaron and Molar– who are occupied with adding toys to their Christmas wish lists when they are recruited to volunteer at a hospital in the weeks before the holiday. Though they are initially not happy with volunteering, their experiences visiting sick children are amusing and touching and the boys eventually learn the true meaning of both friendship and of Christmas. This is a sweet story that I thoroughly enjoyed.