When I was a child we always had books of art and stories at Christmastime. Part of it was the Norwegian tradition of the Christmas Annual, a compilation of art and music and stories for the season. And I was often given a book unique to Christmas. So, as an adult, I have bought a book for Advent and Christmas each year. I put the collection out in baskets by the tree, and it’s wonderful to just pick one up a read a story or a poem. There are many favorites, one being The Oxford Book of Christmas Poems, a lovely collection from a variety of sources. It doesn’t appear to still be in print, so it would be good to look for it at used bookstores.
Another out-of-print book that is an Advent favorite is The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. Gaarder is Norwegian teacher and author probably best known for his novel about the history of Western philosophy, Sophie’s World. The Christmas Mystery follows Joachim, who discovers a magic Advent Calendar in an old bookstore, a calendar that is the story of a little girl named Elisabet. It is a fascinating story through the days of Advent, helping you think about the world and the universe and all. A quick look at several sites shows it to be available, although it may not still be in print.
This year I bought a small collection of four stories by P.D. James. Often heralded the best mystery writer of the last century, she died in 2014. This little book is both a lovely set of Christmas crimes as well as a tribute to this wonderful writer.
Happy New Year and happy reading!