Monday, December 19, 2016

Skipping Christmas novels

Last week my wife, the librarian for our condo association (I am her trusty sidekick), decided to put up a display of Christmas books. I found four novels for the table, including John Grisham's Skipping Christmas, David Baldacci's The Christmas Train and two by Mary Higgins Clark. Of these I have read only the Baldacci novel, and that only because it was sent to me for review when it was first published a number of years ago. This got me thinking about other Christmas-themed novels I have read over the years, and I almost drew a blank.

There was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, of course, if that can be called a novel, and a few years ago I read A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks, which although it may be set in December could just as easily have been set in June. Maybe there have been others, but none come to mind. Yet I could name any number of Christmas movies I have seen, many of them more than once. We watched Love Actually again just a few nights ago.

Do a web search and you can find countless Christmas novels, so somebody must read them. Or perhaps they buy them as Christmas presents. If so, they probably won't be opened until Christmas Day and even if started that day may not be finished until February. And who wants to read a Christmas novel in February?

I think that may partly explain why most of us don't view Christmas novels with the same fondness as Christmas movies. If we start watching a Christmas movie before Christmas, we will finish it before Christmas. Novels take longer. And, with the possible exceptions of A Christmas Carol or O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, we probably don't want to read the same Christmas story every year or every other year, the way we may experience It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story or Love Actually.

"I don't hate the holidays, but most holiday books leave me cold," Colette Bancroft, book editor for the Tampa Bay Times, wrote in Sunday's edition. I feel the same way. Some holiday books are sappy. Others just look sappy. Even if the stories are terrific, the books seem dated by the time the Christmas tree comes down.

No comments:

Post a Comment