First Read of 2022

I have a number of things I like to do to celebrate Christmas: listen to Christmas albums (Mariah Carey, The Carpenters, Leslie Odom Jr., Barbara Streisand), watch Christmas movies, read children’s books from my Christmas library–either to myself or with my daughter. This year, I found myself drawn to Christmas-themed novels. I was pretty disappointed by the writing. The dialogue wasn’t great, but after several chapters, I was interested in the stories, and I kept reading and finished them. Glad to have hung in there, and determined to find a good Christmas novel among the beach-read fluff I’d encountered.

I also celebrate Christmas in July by purchasing a copy of a Christmas novel for a long-distance friend and I to read together to bridge our distance. After what I’d read this December, I wasn’t sure I had the stomach for more Christmas in July or December reading. Then for Christmas, my mom and dad gave me a paperback copy of Mr. Dickens and his Carol by Samantha Silva, and my reading hope was reignited.

This is the fictional account of how Charles Dickens comes up with his famous story. Silva painted vivid pictures of Dickens’ London and the characters of the time. She grounded the novel with some factual elements from Dickens biography and then let her imagination fill in the rest. I loved how she employed names from his supposed “real life” to weave into the tale.

Between the not-so-great books I read before and this masterpiece, I’m inspired to try my hand at a Christmas story or two myself. Inspiration–that is art’s greatest gift to those who consume it.

Celery sticks: 5!

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