Saturday, December 25, 2010

Can't Get Enough Holidays? What to Read This Holiday Season...and Beyond

For those of us who are “book people,” books are the perfect Christmas or Hanukkah gifts to give and receive. Brick-and-mortar and virtual book stores both offer a dazzling array of choices, from nonfiction on the recipient’s favorite subject to best-sellers, beautiful coffee table volumes to poetry to charming children’s books.

It can also be fun to give books about the holidays themselves, especially if you can support some independent authors and publishers. Here are some choices so intriguing, you may want to keep them for yourself!

The Origins of Christmas Songs and Traditions by Rhetta Akamatsu (2008). Christmas has some curious, colorful traditions with a long history. Learn some of origins of these, as well as the hidden meanings behind the Christmas carols we all know and sing, but don’t necessarily understand.

If you enjoy this book, go to and download “Silver Bells” by Anthony “T-Swang” Gullens. This all-new, original R+B arrangement of the Christmas carol favorite makes it more danceable than ever.

ChristmaSin’ by Ed Williams (2009). Ed Williams calls himself a “Southern outlaw author,” and his fiction shows it! With his trademark humor, Ed weaves a (mostly true) tale of his small, rural town of Juliette, Georgia back in the 1970s. Don’t expect a tranquil white Christmas there!

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
by Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown (2007). Okay, Lemony Snicket isn’t an independent author, but you’ve got to love this children’s book in which a potato pancake leaps out of the frying pan. The latke is meant to be a Hanukkah treat, and he finds himself explaining this to a variety of Christmas decorations who think Hanukkah is simply “The Jewish Christmas.” The latke may be irate, but readers will be delighted.

Lemony Snicket also wrote The Lump of Coal (2008), a Christmas tale in which a grumpy, tuxedoed coal lump searches for his place in the world, and finds it with a drugstore Santa.

Finally, for the grown-ups to stuff in their own metaphorical stockings, there’s "Spicy, Earthy, Sweet" (2008) by Erin O’Riordan. Caught up in the magic of the Festival of Lights, Gabriella wants everything to be perfect for her holiday with Jared. Jared has very specific tastes--and a slight obsession with teasing the individual flavors out of the aromas of fine wines. Even the kosher wine he chooses for the first night of Hanukkah is subjected to his beloved wine aroma wheel. But wine is not the only thing that can be tasted, analyzed, and savored. Gabriella and Jared discover new uses for Jared's favorite toy as the Hanukkah candles burn down...

1 comment:


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