Every year, we debate when to release the tidal wave of Christmas books that lurk on our behind the scenes shelves for much of the year. Do they come out after Halloween or Bonfire night, 8 or 6 weeks before Christmas? Do we bring them out in waves: nonfiction books first, especially crafts as if you’re making presents, you need to get started early, or all in one? Does the tree go up too? So many questions and things to consider!
For me, it’s never too early for Christmas books, especially novels. This year at Leamington, we put some out in June as an “only 6 months until Christmas” experiment. Some issued so there are other people out there who love a cosy winter read, even in the middle of summer. And as with all our stock, the catalogue is always searchable so any Christmas book can be requested throughout the year (and they are – every now and again, we’ll send the odd one to another Warwickshire library).
As a reader who loves Christmas books, I have a bunch of favourites:
• Debbie Macomber: any of her Christmas books go down a treat on a cold winter’s night but the ‘Angels Everywhere’ series is one I hugely enjoyed. It all kicks off with A Season of Angels.
• ‘Boyfriend by Christmas’ by Jenny Stallard – a very funny novel about the race to find love by Christmas
• Tracey Bloom’s ‘I will marry George Clooney by Christmas’ has the kind of title that instantly makes me want to read it
This year, I’m most looking forward to Heidi Swain’s Sleigh rides and silver bells at the Christmas Fair as well as revisiting the classic A Christmas Carol (this edition illustrated by P J Lynch is just beautiful).
If those seem too lovey-dovey and romantic, there are a few cracking Christmas crime novels to solve also. PD James’ latest collection The Mistletoe Murder and other stories recently arrived in paperback in our libraries. Agatha Christie’s Poirot has a Christmas mystery to solve and for lovers of ‘cosy crime’, MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye just can’t be beaten. If it’s something a little more gruesome you prefer, try The Body in the Ice by AJ McKenzie or for an action packed read, James Patterson’s Merry Christmas Alex Cross. With so many to choose from, all I need now is a cosy blanket, a big cup of tea and a comfortable chair to sit in and my winter reading is sorted.
So while I can sometimes be a bit of a Grinch, catch me at the right time and I’ll be humming “All I want for Christmas is you”, scoffing a mince pie (icing topped are my current favourite) and curling up with a Christmas novel, getting lost in a festive story full of snow, romance and jingle bells, with the odd murder thrown in for good measure.
P.S. Let’s not forget the huge amount of children’s Christmas books. I’ve mentioned the awesome Dr Seuss but Tom Fletcher’s The Christmasaurus is a more recent addition that will entertain your little ones. You can see my review of it here.
Do let me know what your Christmas favourites are or what you’re planning to read during the festive season.