Time off over Christmas? Whether you’re waiting for the turkey to cook, or avoiding the in-laws, take the opportunity to catch up on some reading! Librarian Claire brings you her top five reads this month, with festive favourites for all the family to enjoy well into the New Year.
An Almost Perfect Christmas by Nina Stibbe
If, like me, you enjoyed reading about Nina’s experiences as a nanny in London in the 1980s, then you are sure to like An Almost Perfect Christmas. It’s good to know that every family has strange little quirks and customs and Nina’s writing style draws you in with humour, making this another great read.
“My mother is not a foodie. But for as long as I can remember, once a year, she becomes possessed of a profound and desperate need to serve up a perfect roast turkey. Faced with a walk into the village though, she might think ‘oh, f*** it’ and decide to get a frozen one from Bejams on the 23rd and leave it to defrost in the downstairs toilet for not quite 48 hours.” From perennially dry turkeys to Christmas pudding fires, from the round robin code of conduct to the risks and rewards of re-gifting, this book is an ode to the joy and insanity of the most wonderful time of the year.
Ghostly – A Collection Of Ghost Stories, edited by Audrey Niffenegger
Now that dark nights are upon us as winter closes in, why not curl up in the warm safety of your home with a good ghost story? If you’re finding it hard to decide where to begin, this collection – edited by Audrey Niffenegger – is a good place to start.
Audrey Niffenegger brings together her selection of the very creepiest, weirdest and wittiest ghost stories around. Scare yourself senseless with old favourites by Edgar Allan Poe and M.R. James. Entertain the unnerving with tales from Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link and Niffenegger herself. And as bedtime nears, allay your fears with funny new writing from Amy Giacalone and the classic wit of Saki. When the nights draw in and the fire burns low, enjoy the eeriness, the dread and the comedy of all things ghostly.
Top audio book:
La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
This is the first volume in a planned trilogy by Philip Pullman named ‘The Book of Dust’, which expands his ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. La Belle Sauvage is set around 12 years before the start of ‘Northern Lights’ and tells the story of how Lyra Belacqua comes to live at Jordan College in Oxford. This audio version of the story is beautifully narrated by the renowned actor, Michael Sheen. His voice is a pleasure to listen to and he brings all the characters to life with his rich and varied tones.
Malcolm Polstead’s Oxford life has been one of routine, ordinary even. He is happiest playing with his daemon, Asta, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage. But now, as the rain builds, the world around Malcolm and Asta is set to become increasingly far from ordinary. Finding himself linked to a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, Malcolm is forced to undertake the challenge of his life and to make a dangerous journey that will change him and Lyra forever.
Or, if you prefer to read:
Read the Ebook here
Top kids’ book:
The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
This is an intriguing story for older children that deals with themes of grief and self-discovery. The story had me hooked from the start.
Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays somewhere long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning. The only people Marinka meets are dead; they disappear when her grandmother, Baba Yaga, guides them through The Gate. Marinka wants to change her destiny, but her house has other ideas.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
When I read this book I felt like I was being sucked into a story unlike any I’d ever read before. Karen Joy Fowler paints vivid pictures with her words that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. The beginning of the book gives no hint to the intriguing tale that unfolds with sharp writing and humour.
Rosemary’s young, just at college, and she’s decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we’re not going to tell you too much either: you’ll have to find out for yourselves. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone – vanished from her life. There’s something unique about Rosemary’s sister, Fern. So now she’s telling her story…
Have you read any of the books featured this month? We’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed last month’s top five? Catch up on them here.
You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.