So, it’s that time of year again, in which bloggers either do a post on their favourite novels/short stories of the past year or spend some time looking at seasonally topical reads. The season being Christmas, I’ve been mulling over some suggestions for you this past week. Unfortunately, mulling isn’t writing, and I’ve found myself feeling like Clark Kent must every time Lois Lane scoops him.
In my case, the character of Lois Lane is played by one Michaela Gray, a.k.a. “The Bookaneer” over at GeekPlanetOnline . Hop on over and check out her article before I give you my list of Christmas themed reads. I’ll wait.
And…we’re back. At the risk of being redundant, here’s my list of Christmas tales you should check out.
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The obvious choice on any Christmas themed list, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his one night journey to redemption after a little rough handling by the spirits of Past, Present and Future. Universally loved and a book that hasn’t really left the collective consciousness since its publication back in 1843. Now that’s a story with legs.
Beyond the cheery message that no one is beyond redemption, what I find kind of neat about Dickens’ work is that it’s totally a horror novel. Think about it for a second. Some poor (well, rich) old geezer tormented by a host of spirits in the dead of night in a drafty old English mansion. That’s practically a Richard Matheson novel!. A Christmas Carol is truly a classic and deserves top billing on any Christmas themed list.
2. I Am Scrooge (A Zombie Story for Christmas) by Adam Roberts
It’s to my eternal shame (okay, maybe not eternal–how about transitory?) that Adam Roberts’ re-imagining of Dickens tale has sat on my shelf low this past year without being read. It’s especially puzzling considering my continued interest in funny zombie novels. The idea of the three ghosts teaming up with old Ebenezer to combat a hungry horde of shambling zombies and by happenstance save the world is definitely appealing to anyone with an interest in the walking dead. I’m not sure it will have as happy an ending as the original, but I am sure there’ll be a meal somewhere along the way. Although I doubt there’s a lot of meat on Tiny Tim, or Scrooge for that matter.
3. Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime by Steve Hockensmith
Steven Hockensmith is a wonderful mystery writer who’s turned his attention to Christmas themed mysteries on several (at least nine) occasions. If you’re a fan of the genre and looking for something with a Christmas(y) feel to it, then Naughty is the book for you. My favourite tale involves the kidnapping of a certain man in a red suit by members of the KGB and Mrs. Klaus efforts to effect his rescue. Poisoned fruitcake, devious secret santas, and an introduction to Hannah Fox, a character I hope to meet some day in her own novel, all make this a novel that any mystery lover should invest in. Do yourself a favour and pick it up as either an ebook or print version. Steve is a master of both mystery and witty dialogue and I’ve had a long history of not being disappointed with his writing.
Speaking of short stories, Arthur Conan Doyle was known for writing a Christmas tale or two involving everyone’s favorite Victorian detective, Sherlock Holmes. Honourable mention goes to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle in which Sherlock shows considerable restraint with regards to a criminal whom he encounters at Christmas. George Mann has also made an effort to write a series of Christmas themed stories with regards to his wonderful Newbury and Hobbes series of Steampunk detective novels, all of which can be obtained if you pick up a copy of The Casebook of Newbury and Hobbes. Try reading Christmas Spirits if you’d like a unique take on A Christmas Carol involving a detective on an opium bender during the holidays.
I’m sure there are many more Christmas themed tales that I’m omitting in the course of this holiday post. If you’ve got a tale or novel to add to the mix, please feel free to enlighten me in the comments, and in the meantime, enjoy yourself a merry little Christmas.