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In Which I Play Catch Up: Christmas Reads

January 6, 2011

I hadn’t planned on doing any special reading for Christmastime, but the Wednesday before the big day I was suddenly hit by an overwhelming need to read Christmas-filled Christmassy books. So, after a bit of frantic research, I stopped by the library on my way home from work and stocked up on more than enough books to see me through the break between Christmas and New Years. I didn’t read all the books I checked out (and borrowed from my mom), but I did manage to make my way through a few of them.

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts
From the author’s website:

Christmas is fast approaching and many of the women in the town of Holly are bracing themselves for stress, overwork, and very little understanding or appreciation from the men in their lives. But then inspiration hits. Joy Robertson, Laura Fredericks, and their knitting buddies decide to “go on strike” and give the men an opportunity to see firsthand what it takes to make the holidays merry and bright. Soon other women are joining in and husbands all over town are getting a crash course in decorating, shopping, and what to wear to see Santa, and are searching frantically for an interpreter to translate the mysteries of holiday recipes. The men may just come to appreciate the holidays after walking a mall in their wives’ high heels. But maybe the women will learn something, too.

I started On Strike for Christmas a couple days before Christmas, and it was kind of weird reading about all these people with bah humbug attitudes while I was trying to get into the Christmas spirit. In hindsight, it might not have been the best one of the bunch to start with. But it was the easiest for me to get to while on the train after my library stop, so the first it became.

On Strike for Christmas was a mostly entertaining read, with funny bits and some heart thrown into fray of the striking wives. However, part of me kept wondering, is this what I have to look forward to? Driving myself crazy over Christmas details for a husband who either doesn’t appreciate it or doesn’t want it? I certainly hope not.

I would recommend On Strike for Christmas if you’re planning to gather a whole bunch of Christmassy books to make your way through next December. However, if you’re only going to read one or two, I’d say pass on this one.

My rating: 7/10

Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
From the author’s website:

It’s four days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for fugitive apprehension agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn’t got a tree. She hasn’t bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There’s not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment.
And there’s a strange man in her kitchen.

I was half way through To The Nines in November when I realized had missed something between that and Hard Eight. That something was Visions of Sugar Plums, the first novella in the Stephanie Plum series.

Visions of Sugar Plums is full of the ridiculousness I’ve come to expect and love about this series, but this time with a Christmas twist. It was a fun, fast read full of elves, frantic shopping, and exploding Christmas Trees. If you’re a fan of the series, I definitely recommend picking this up for the next holiday season.

My rating: 7.5/10

When Christmas Comes by Debbie Macomber
From the author’s website:

Emily Springer widowed mother of one, decides to leave her hometown of Leavenworth, Washington, to spend Christmas with her daughter in Boston.  Charles Brewster, history professor, seasoned curmudgeon and resident of Boston, wants to avoid Christmas altogether.  Through an Internet site, they arrange to swap houses for the holiday. So Emily goes to Boston—and discovers that her daughter has gone to Florida. And Charles arrives in Leavenworth to discover a town that looks like Santa’s village, full of Christmas trees, Christmas music and elves.

Now this is what I was looking for in a Christmas read. It was sweet, funny, and although predictable, full of fuzzy holiday warmth.

The premise of the book is almost identical to that of the movie The Holiday. The two main characters which houses for Christmas and neither gets quite what they expected. I loved reading about Charles’ reactions to Leavenworth. Just perfect. Actually, one of the reasons I picked it up was that part of it is based in Leavenworth, WA, a place I’ve been wanting to visit. Now I want to visit even more! Especially sometime during December. It sounds like magical winter wonderland.

If you’re looking for a comfort read to curl up with on a snowy day with a large mug of hot chocolate, this book is for you.

My rating: 7.75/10

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
From the author’s website:

If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?

Now this one… I just… I don’t know what to say about it. How about let’s try talking about the writing first.

The only other book I’ve read by Ahern was P.S. I Love You, which I wasn’t a big fan of. But when I started The Gift I could hardly believe it was by the same author. The writing and storytelling, in my opinion, are miles better in The Gift. It really felt like she has grown as an author.

As for the story. It was good, I could tell why a lot of people have really liked this book. It’s just the end, the end did the whole thing in for me. But what it taught me is that this kind of ending is not necessarily bad, it’s just not for me. There will be a more detailed posted coming about this in the future – it’s already been started.

Anyway, the story very much felt like a made-for-TV Christmas special, with everyone, especially the busy business man scrooge learning a BIG LESSON. If it’s one you’ve been wanting to read, I would still say go for it, you may love it.

My rating: 6.5/10

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2011 7:06 am

    Fun to read about your Christmas reads. I think most books that focus on the season such like these do try to give some sort of bah humbug type of mood…learning experience…something. Also, I find that they usually are not very deep, but do have a storyline that entertains. I really liked the movie The Holiday, it was fun..glad you liked When Christmas Comes. Look forward to reading more of your thoughts regarding The Gift.

  2. January 7, 2011 10:54 am

    Oooooo DM that’s similar to the Holiday? I MUST get this! Great minis :)

  3. January 7, 2011 12:21 pm

    I don’t usually read Christmas themed books but the Debbie Macomber one sounds fun.

  4. January 7, 2011 2:49 pm

    Great list of reads to think about for 2011 Christmas which is only 11 months away!! LOL! :D

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  1. The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern (thoughts) « alita.reads.

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