Wednesday 17 November 2010

Seasonal Reading

It's November, and past Bonfire Night, so pretty much all the retailers are now thinking about Christmas. We have trees twinkling in windows, mince pies on display - and, for the first time that I can remember, an absolute glut of Christmas themed women's literature. I have never seen anything like it!

Here are a few of the books on offer:

1) Twelve Days of Christmas - Trisha Ashley

2) Falling for Christmas - Debbie Macomber

3) The Christmas Cookie Club - Ann Pearlman

At the moment these three novels are riding high in the bestseller lists, and are being pushed through many different outlets (including the big supermarket chains).

Personally, the idea of reading wonderfully Christmas themed novels sounds wonderful as the nights draw in, the Christmas pudding gets made and I start lighting candles to warm my room with the rich scent of cinnamon. Perfect literature!

But how very seasonal! Imagine reading these same books lying on a sun lounger in the summer, sipping cocktails. Impossible, non? Snow and mince pies and Christmas trees are just not what you want to read, right?

The trouble with this new trend is that the books are simply not relevant at any other time of year, so their shelf life is impossibly short. Summer novels dealing with sunny islands and cool drinks and hot men are still relevant in the winter - in fact, I love reading them during the dark nights to remind myself that I will soon see the sun again.

What do you think of this trend? Foolish? Fun? Would you consider reading a Christmas book in the summer? I would love to hear your opinions on seasonal reading!


  1. I have some fond memories of the Christmas books I read as a child. So for children I'm all for Christmas books.

    But for adults, I don't get it at all. Limiting yourself to a few months a year as a sales window seems strange.

    And for both children and adult Christmas themed books, I'd say they are very seasonal.

  2. I'm not sure where I stand. It depends how good the book is really, would you read and re-read over the years. With Christmas films I eat them up starting from... well around now really and will watch my favourites over and over and over again. (Any and all variations on Scrooge in particular but my favourites being the Alastair Sim version and Scrooged with Bill Murray... and The Muppet Christmas Carol of course) So if it was a really good book that I would read and read year on year - then I can see why they would do it... have to say the ones pictured are probably not the sort that I would read more than once.

  3. I have The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder and I read it every year and treat it like an advent calendar reading a chapter a day (each chapter details the boy opening a door on the special calender and are marked First of December etc.).

  4. I read a Christmas book in the middle of June. On purpose as well! I have never given it much thought, and just laugh at myself when I pick them up and read.

    I think as a treat this year I will read the new Debbie Macomber (does not require much concentration) this Christmas and enjoy the moment.

  5. I never got on with The Christmas Mystery (mentioned by Sean above): I tried to do it as an advent calendar, but something about it didn't work for me. That's not to say that it's a bad book, or a bad idea, but I just couldn't get along with it.

    I do, however, have a couple of Christmas reads: every year, at some point in December, I'll pick up A Christmas Carol, and The Hogfather. The latter certainly stands up to reading at any time of year, because Pratchett is always fun, but it's somehow (and I don't even know how) become a tradition. Another wonderful Christmas story is Gawain & the Green Knight. It's so rich as a text, whether it's in Middle English or in translation, and as it's set at Christmas, it's perfect.

  6. I caught some of the audio of David Morrell's The Spy Who Came for Christmas on Sirius Book Radio last year and I'd really like to read the whole book.
    It's a modern day Spy thriller but the spy tells of a theory that the wise men from the birth of Jesus really being spies.

  7. I don't really have standard holiday reads, but I do get their appeal. I mean we have standard holiday film and I do watch The Holiday and Love Actually in the summer!