Michael Caine in A Muppets Christmas Carol (1992).
I should probably come right out and say that I did not grow up with A Christmas Carol. In my defense, I am neither British nor American; the story is not as culturally significant in the Netherlands as it is in other parts of the world. Until very recently, my only exposure to the story had been through snippets of the Muppets, Blackadder, and Scrooged. I had some vague idea of the plot and its characters, but I had never seen a full movie adaptation, let alone read the book. Every year I told myself that I would finally pick it up and read it for myself, and every year I either forgot or decided to read other holiday books instead (last year’s pick: Hogfather).
I think I knew that this book would be almost impossible to review. It is the quintessential Christmas read, has been adapted a billion times into other media, and has an iron-clad place in Anglo-American culture. It’s like trying to come up with a fresh perspective on Hamlet; everything has already been said – and probably much better by people much cleverer than you.
So… No pressure.
Still from the 2006 TV movie.
I still very much consider myself to be a newbie to Terry Pratchett’s work; I read my first Discworld book eight months ago (Mort – review here), have stuck to only one subseries (Death), and until very recently, I had never heard of Hogswatch. And yet, after only a few books, I find myself wondering how I’ve managed to do without the Discworld in my life for so long.
I finished reading Hogfather on christmas eve, fully intending to write down my thoughts on the spot and post a review on christmas day, but spent the next day or so pondering how on earth I was going to review it instead. Pointing out where a writer went wrong is one thing, but what do you say about a book that instantly feels like a classic and has managed to capture the holiday spirit in a way that is all too rare?
Image Credit: CardAid.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to spend the winter holidays than curling up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a good book? Here is a list of works to get you in the christmas spirit, ranging from familiar classics to more recent publications.