The festive season is without doubt my favourite time of year and though there are a few Christmas themed book tags out there, I thought it would be fun to create my own one for the first time. I came up with some questions associated with a few of our favourite Christmas staples and thought it would be really fun to see lots of others getting involved, but of course I have to kick things off by answering them myself. So, let’s get right into the questions!
Father Christmas: Name a book you received as a child that you treasure to this day.
I was given a book called Woozle the Wizard and Other Scary Stories by my grandparents one year. It’s a beautifully illustrated collection of fun, magical kids’ stories that I have a flick through every now and then when I’m feeling particularly nostalgic.
The ghost of Christmas past: Is there a book or series you like to revisit each year at Christmas time?
I’m not a massive re-reader simply because my TBR is always stuffed full of new books but I have revisited Harry Potter a couple of times during the festive season. There’s something about fantasy – particularly when it’s very whimsical – that I think is perfect for this time of year, and Hogwarts is like a big comfort blanket on a cold winter’s night.
Christmas tree: Name a series that reaches new heights with every entry.
The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness builds in tension and excitement from chapter to chapter let alone book to book. It has brilliant characters, very relevant themes and a pulse-pounding plot.
Friends and family: Name a book with fantastic characters.
There’s lots I could pick for this but I’m going to go with a recent read and say Northern Lights from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. Lyra is a great young protagonist – smart, brave and resourceful – and there is an eclectic cast of weird and wonderful characters and creatures, not least of all Iorek, the talking, armoured polar bear.
Decorations: Name a book with a gorgeous cover you would proudly display on your shelves.
I’m definitely a sucker for a beautiful cover and this is another one I could pick lots of books for. Here are a few of my current favourites:
Christmas cards: Name a book that carries a great message.
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher follows the perspective of a young boy following his sister’s death in a terrorist attack. It chronicles the breakdown of his family dynamic, particularly his mother’s abandonment and his father’s new-found racism towards all Muslims. There are messages about tolerance, dealing with grief, friendship and love, so despite its darker moments, there’s a lot of light at the end of the tunnel.
Ice and snow: Name a book that you were hoping to love but which ultimately left you feeling cold.
I’ve got a controversial answer coming here, but I wasn’t overly enamoured by Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. My issue was more with the publisher than the book itself, as it was wrongly marketed as a sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird when it was in fact an early draft which later developed into Mockingbird. It therefore contradicts major plot points, and that’s not to mention the controversy over whether or not a now elderly Lee even wanted it to be released. Interesting perhaps for study purposes but far less impactful than its predecessor in my opinion.
Christmas lunch: Name a book that was big and intimidating but oh so worth it in the end.
Both A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings (the first two books in the Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R. R. Martin are pretty beastly but have a rich fantasy setting, interesting characters and an intricate plot that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m still working up the momentum to read the rest of the series though; I think it’s definitely one I’ll be spacing out so as not to feel too overwhelmed by the mammoth size of each book.
Mince pies: Name a book you found sweet and satisfying.
There’s a graphic novel series by Kazu Kibuishi called Amulet. It’s a fantastical, ridiculous, action-packed thrill ride with absolutely beautiful, vibrant artwork and a story suitable for all ages that’s just tons of fun. I’ve read the first three books and can’t wait to carry on with the series.
Presents: What book do you wish you could give everyone to read?
B is a poem written and performed by Sarah Kay in a wonderful TED Talk that led to it being released as a little illustrated book. It’s about the timeless, unbreakable bond between parent and child, and since everyone has experienced being at least one half of that relationship, I think it’s pretty much universally relatable. Its simple yet beautiful language makes it easily accessible no matter how new or well versed you may be when it comes to poetry.
Spreading the festive cheer: Tag some friends to help spread the festive bookish love.
Since this is an original tag, it would be so exciting to see as many people as possible getting involved, so please feel free to do it – and let me know if you do so I can check out your answers. I’ll get the ball rolling (if they wish to take part) by tagging Melissa Barker-Simpson, S.R. Carrillo, driftinglexi, The Bookie Monsters, Vivliohora and Dreamer Documents.
Happy reading and Merry Christmas!