Chief librarian Aaron Francis is away this week, so longtime Creston Valley Public LIbrary staff member Pat Tomasic is here to share some great holiday reads:
It’s hard to believe, but another Christmas season is upon us. While many of us are busy with festive duties, don’t forget to unwind with a great book between batches of cookies, present wrapping and decorating.
If the darkness and cold are getting to you and you need a feel good book, try one of these. Monsieur Perdu, the “literary apothecary” from The Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George), can heal any reader by subscribing just the right book — everyone, that is, except himself. If you are a Dave and Morley fan, check out how they are doing as empty nesters in Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe Turns the Page. Or lose yourself in Isabel Allende’s Japanese Lover, about a woman at the end of her life reminiscing about her life and love during the Second World War. And the crotchety but endearing Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly from Ballybucklebo is back again, remembering an old love from his past as he moves forward with someone new, in Patrick Taylor’s An Irish Doctor in Love and War.
If you are feeling a bit Scrooge-y, maybe you want to indulge in some mayhem and murder with the following mysteries. Agatha Raisin is back as the main suspect in M.C. Beaton’s latest, Dishing the Dirt. Despite being recently retired, detective inspector John Rebus reluctantly returns in Ian Rankin’s Even Dogs in the Wild. Dead in the Water by Ann Granger sees the approaching Christmas festivities disrupted by the discovery of a young girl’s body floating in the river. And Ruth Rendell’s final novel, Dark Corner, is a psychological suspense full of mistaken identity, kidnapping, blackmail and a cast of flawed characters.
If non-fiction is your thing, you may want to indulge in Our Finest Hour by David Bercuson, which looks at Canada’s valiant efforts to contribute forces to the Second World War. In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, particle physicist Lisa Randall examines the connections between the furthest reaches of space and life here on Earth. Authors John Geiger and Alanna Mitchell’s illustrated Franklin’s Lost Ship is a fascinating way to spend a snowy afternoon: A century and a half after the disappearance of John Franklin and his crew on their quest for the Northwest Passage, a new chapter to their story was added with the discovery of the submerged Erebus in 2014. We also have a large array of new (auto)biographies on Mickey Rooney, Elvis Costello, Chrissie Hynde, Rosemary Kennedy, Drew Barrymore or Tom Jones, to name but a few. Finally, after building up an appetite with all that page turning, try your hand at a fresh recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food — how about Happiness Pasta? — and start a new holiday tradition.
Last but not least, we cannot disregard our recent holiday fiction releases. Carole Matthews’ Chocolate Lovers Christmas scrutinizes the lives of four very different women in Britain, while Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini uses the 1863 Longfellow poem of the same name and weaves past and present to tell multiple painful but enlightening stories. The season finds one treasured relationship about to be torn apart while another is just beginning in Together for Christmas, the latest in Thomas Kinkade’s Cape Light series by Katherine Spencer. Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series continues with Marry Me at Christmas: Will a famous movie star be able to fit in and find love in a small town? And what’s Christmas without a new Debbie Macomber release? Dashing Through the Snow takes the reader through the unexpected romance of two very reluctant travellers thrown together. Finally, if constant cheerfulness is eluding you during these hectic few weeks, then Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat, based on the blogs of Jen Mann, may just be your remedy. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the entire month of December, here is your chance to live vicariously through Mann and all the things so many people think but don’t say about topics such as cookie exchanges, excessive decorating, determined carollers and the annual Christmas letter!
Pat Tomasic is the collections development manager at Creston Valley Public Library. She is currently reading Chocolate Lovers Christmas by Carole Matthews.