This blog post is all about BOOKS! Seriously! It’s about the best books to read over Christmas. If you haven’t tried some of these… you may want to crack open the mince pies and give them a chance. Forget the turkey, the wrapping and the last-minute shopping… just indulge in some of the best Christmas storytelling… you won’t regret it!
The Snow Queen by Hans Christen Anderson
This mysterious tale unfolds in a dream-like sequence and focuses on the struggle between good and evil by two children, Gerda and Kay. When the boy’s grandmother tells the children about the Snow Queen who rules over snowflakes, known as ‘snow bees’, they begin to see the supernatural being in places where the white specs cluster the most. Alongside wicked goblins, magic mirrors and mischievous demons, the story of the endurance of childhood friendship is embodied in Gerda’s search for her friend Kay, who has been abducted by the icy fairy and brought back to her frozen palace. Can anything be more Christmassy than that?
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Reading ‘The Polar Express’ before Christmas continues to be a magical festive experience… even as an adult! Yet alongside the beautifully illustrated pictures and the relaxed narrative style, the story carries a delicate poignancy and deeper meaning that similarly applies to adults. The story follows a young boy, who on a snowy Christmas Eve, boards an enchanted train headed for the North Pole. Upon arrival, he meets Santa himself, who offers him any gift he desires. Receiving a bell from a reindeer that only true believers can hear. This book offers a magical gleam to any Christmas.
The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann
First published in 1816, the story’s adaptations have fascinated audiences, inspired numerous ballet choreographers and appealed to composers, most notably the Russian musician Tchaikovsky. The tale centers on a young girl and her favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker comes alive, defeats the menacing Mouse King and takes her away to a magical kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The delights of the Christmas season are beautifully illuminated and the book is a pleasure to read. If you’ve read the book… why don’t you give the movie a chance?
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Perhaps one of the greatest epic novels of all time. This is a magnificent love story set against the back drop of the 1917 Russian Revolution and its aftermath. The themes of loneliness, individuality and corruption lie at the heart of the tale and powerfully explore the political and social structures surrounding the Soviet state. Set to a backdrop of a snow-encrusted Russian landscape and comprising of a cheery festive party at the Sventitsky’s. One of the greatest things about this one is that you get to learn about Russian Christmas traditions… What a treat!
Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol
The ‘Night Before Christmas’ is a macabre novel filled with vice and vengeance, taking the form of a grotesque fairy tale in which the Devil steals away the moon in order to take his revenge. During the ensuing snowstorm, wandering men get lost in the darkness and all accidentally end up precariously taking refuge in the home of a respectable local girl. As devilry and mischief pervades on the night before Christmas, this tale of confusion and torment is far from the traditional Christmas tale, but offers so much… and never… ever disappoints!