Published on December 22nd, 2009 | by Ronan0
Broken Spine #21 – Christmas Reading
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without book vouchers! But if you plan on buying a book this week to read while you’re waiting for the turkey and spouts to cook on December 25th, Broken Spine is here to help you get in the festive mood. At least between the sheets… Of paper that is.
Recommended Reading #20 – Terry Pratchett, Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, Doctor Seuss
First up is Terry Pratchett’s excellent Hogfather. The title character is the fantasy land Discworld’s take on Santa Claus, and visits children to deliver presents on December 32nd. Yes, it’s a fantasy novel, so suspend belief! You don’t have to have read Pratchett’s other Discworld novels to enjoy this one, as shown by the fact Sky One created a TV movie version which is suitable for everyone, fans and non-fans alike.
It’s like a beautiful alternative Christmas fable. Definitely for fans of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. The story centres on the fact that the jollhy fat man has gone missing, and the grim reaper himself must step up and fill his shoes until he’s found. Who could argue with a book that has a supporting character like Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers. Genius.
Another of my recommended Christmas reads is the classic A Christmas Carol. There has been a million and one film and television adaptations of this, but Dickens’ original cannot be matched (except by the Muppets, of course!)
It’s the novella that introduced the world to Ebeneezer Scrooge (and thus the expression to be like a Scrooge), as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and the poorly Tiny Tim. It’s a lovely warm-hearted tale that turns the villain into a hero after he realises the error of his ways. A must-read, and it’s pretty short too, so you can get it read in an hour or two.
Nicholas Was… is a short story by the fantasy author Neil Gaiman in his compilation Smoke and Mirrors. It’s not just a short story though, it’s an incredibly short story. Only a hundred words in length, but it’s a fantastically clever piece.
Darker than most Christmas stories, it won’t cheer you up like It’s a Wonderful Life or Love Actually, but it will make you smirk and maybe even think. (I can’t give away any plot, it is only one hundred words in length). Have a read of the full thing here.
Last up is Doctor Suess’s fantastic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Like Dickens’ tale, this is the story about how a “bah-humbug” sort learns to love Christmas. The Grinch is jealous of those who celebrate Christmas in Whoville and sets out to take it for himself. However, with all Christmas tales, you can guess what happens in the end. Forget about the ridiculous Jim Carrey film. Read the original book instead.
Oh, and don’t pull your head out of any of these until there’s Mistletoe. That’s the only excuse. Unless Home Alone is on, of course!