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Five Favorite Christmas Books

December 21, 2011

Before I started reviewing books for the Star-Ledger, I was much more skeptical of Christmas books as a genre. Too much potential for sickly sweet or outright improbable stories, the kind of thing that makes you feel like a Grinch just reading the jacket copy. (And don’t get me started on Christmas music. We’ll be here for hours!)

Although I’m skeptical of the genre, there are a few Christmas books I genuinely like.

The Mischief and the Mistletoe– Lauren Willig. I love so many things about this. Smart, funny romance in a Regency setting, a goofy spin on pies, and of course, Turnip.

Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis is another case of an author I really like, using a Christmas setting to terrific effect. I particularly like her spin on a Christmas newsletter.

The Handmaid and the Carpenter- Elizabeth Berg. A simply told tale of Mary and Joseph. It captures their humanness as people and characters, while staying respectful of the sacred elements of the story.

Having grumbled about overly sentimental Christmas stories, above, I’m a little sheepish about how much I enjoyed The Christmas Cookie Club, by Ann Pearlman. What can I say, I’m a sucker for books about food, friendship and cooking. And, although this book explores Marnie’s friendships with her close girlfriends, the emotions strike a good balance.

The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits– Les Stanford. I’ll be honest about this one… reading it was a little dry. But the biographical information, and cultural history of Christmas did get me hooked.

And if you want even more good Christmas books, check out Sassymonkey Reads. She’s posting all kinds of holiday book reviews!


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