My goal for 2022 is to post a review of 1 book per month that I have read. As you can tell from my Goodreads feed… I always have several books going at once! Here is the link to my goodreads profile to see my reading archives https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20534143-j
I thoroughly enjoy children’s literature as my “fluff” reading and I read non-fiction consistently. I am teaching British Literature at a homeschool co-op this school year, so I am revisiting some classics I read in high school.
For this first post of January, I want to give my thoughts on 4 books I read over December. I enjoy seasonal stories, and every Christmas I seek out new titles. Starting sometime in middle school, I made a goal to read “A Christmas Carol” every December (I kept this goal for a long time!) I’m not sure why I never branched out to other Christmas-themed books!
The Christmas Pig: J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
Our local Wal-Mart rearranged everything (for the umpteenth time!) and now the book section is located at the back of the store by the layaway and back bathrooms. I found this book while perusing this section while waiting for my brother to get out of the bathroom during a November shopping trip. I was intrigued but didn’t want to pay full price for a newly published hardcover. I went home and got the full-cast audiobook version with a free credit! I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would! This delightful Christmas story reminded me of Toy Story/Velveteen Rabbit/Babes in Toyland/Winnie the Pooh. It was an entertaining adventure about a boy who loses his beloved toy pig and travels to the “land of the lost” to find him guided by other toys who magically come to life only on Christmas. (The land of lost things concept reminded me of the Winnie the pooh show about the hidden land under Christopher Robin’s bed where lost toys get eaten by the monster!) I was surprised that this story realistically engaged difficult themes like divorce, death, coping with the unknown, and children’s athletic performance pressure. Rowling also addresses themes like recycling, the disposable nature of modern products, moral principles, forgiveness, and loving sacrifice without being preachy. Children and adults alike can enjoy this story. There are some frightening elements of this story that might scare a very young child but are realistic and add to the adventure stakes. My ramblings do not do justice to this story, and I will be buying the hardcopy to reside in my personal library!
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding & Hercule Poirot’s Christmas: Agatha Christie
These are the first Hercule Poirot stories that I have read. My first experience reading Agatha Christie (forever ago) was The Secret Adversary. I love Agatha Christie, but mystery tends to be my least favorite genre to read. I prefer to watch them! I decided to read this only because it showed up on a list of Christmas-themed stories and I thought “why not?!” I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading these mysteries. When I went on Amazon prime later to watch these same stories played out on screen- I was disappointed because they cut so many characters due to time. Understandable, and it was my fault for thinking the movie would be comparable! Funny how I prefer to watch the mystery, but if I’ve already read it, I’ll often be disappointed! The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding was my favorite because it’s a full-length Poirot: an exciting whodunit with an old-fashioned English Christmas theme. I love that Poirot is hesitant at first to take the case because he would prefer the modern radiator that heats his apartment to a drafty old country estate! Poirot is an eccentric, fastidious Belgium, but I can identify with his hatred of cold winters! Poirot’s Christmas was an enjoyable compilation of short stories (and contains a Miss Marple mystery as well.)
A Thanksgiving Memory/A Christmas Visitor: Truman Capote
I enjoyed this collection of childhood memoirs from southern-born Truman Capote, author of the well-known Breakfast at Tiffany’s. After reading the stories I did a quick search about Capote’s life (I had never heard of him before-even though he’s a famous American author.) He had a rough childhood and quite a sad life despite his literary success. These holiday stories take place in the early 1930s; a snapshot into the simple, tragedy-stained life of a young boy in the rural south. I have a feeling his lifestyle was not unique to the culture or time.