Monday, 4 January 2010

Christmas Reading

Have to admit I've spent quite a lot of time reading these Christmas holidays. That's the result of too little on the telly that I fancied watching. Once I'd seen the two new episodes of Cranford, The final Doctor Who episodes and the last Gavin and Stacey, I was looking for other forms of entertainment.

I had stocked up on books from the library before Christmas as I knew there wasn't exactly a blisteringly good TV schedule ahead. I managed to get about six Anne Perry books from the William Monk series about crime in Victorian England. I read a couple of them, then realised I had one missing so had to order it before I read the rest. I hate reading books out of chronological order. So while I was waiting for the next book to arrive I branched out into some other authors who had written books about Christmas.

Skipping Christmas - John Grisham

I feel a bit of a cheat writing about this book. Up front I’ll admit, I didn't get right to the end of it. I was interested in this story about a couple who try to skip the commercialism of Christmas and go on a cruise. However it wasn’t because of any sense of sadness that the true spirit of Christmas has been lost. No! It was mainly because of the cost and the fact that their daughter is away from home for the first time in Peru!

The book cover described it as hilarious. Well it certainly isn't what I'd call hilarious. I’m not sure whether it shows the difference between the American and British sense of humour or the fact that it's just inaccurate hype.

I managed to get through the first part of the book and words I hadn't a clue about like:

- layaway
- crunchy
- satellite lot
- fire lane
- sackers

I eventually got about three-quarters of the way through and was beginning to admire the tenacity of the Kranks, in not giving in to neighbours, friends and colleagues who were critical of them giving up a so called traditional Christmas. (Have to say I'd emigrate if my Christmas was remotely like theirs!) However once their daughter rang on Christmas Eve saying she was coming home for Christmas and they abandoned their cruise and started to rush about like raving lunatics, I just gave up. It was ridiculous. Anyone with a single brain cell in their head would have already told their daughter they were going away on a cruise and if they hadn’t, then they certainly would have told her there and then. Once I start to read something, I usually see it through. Not this time! It was just too stupid to waste my time reading it any longer.

I found it difficult to believe that this was written by the same person who wrote The Pelican Brief!

My other Christmas book was:

This Year it Will be Different - Maeve Binchy

Now I do like a bit of Maeve Binchy. I’ve read a few of her novels, generally on holiday and they’ve been light with interesting and likeable characters.

What I hadn’t realised was that this was a collection of short stories, so I was a little disappointed when I discovered that there were twenty two stories in this book. However it was a blessing today as I was looking after my granddaughter who doesn’t start school until tomorrow. So once I started to read it was quite useful to only have to concentrate for short periods at a time. Anyone who looks after a five year old girl will understand. You have to break off anything that you’re doing every ten minutes or so to help with spelling, singing, drawing, dancing, making drinks, straightening the tights after toilet visits, answering a million questions such as “Why haven’t you taken down your tree and Christmas lights?” and so forth!

I loved Maeve Binchy's assortment of stories, some humorous, other heartrending, but all interesting and thought provoking. Her myriad characters were interesting, not always likeable but many were delightful and I found I was disappointed that some of the stories were so short.. I wanted more! Always the sign of a good storyteller.

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  1. Interesting to follow yur reading Winnifred.

    I too like Maeve Binchy and was also disappointed to find this one was short stories. Although they were good short stories I like a full length book as I like to get into the characters and think like I am there in the book.

    I followed it by reading Whitehorn Woods which was not actually short stories but each chapter was like a short story which she attempted to bring together at the end. Much prefer her long Sagas.

    I imagine from the forecasts that you are having a lot of snow at the moment. Hope you get your swim.

    Having swam every week for as long as I can remember I stopped last spring because I changed my schedule and our new pool has little time when either schools or children are not in. Must get back into it too.

  2. Omgosh - Anne Perry - Inspector Monk - ME TOO! I'd read a few of these years ago and remember liking them so I am now reading them all in consecutive order. You really get attached to these characters.
    I just finished Defend and Betray - LOVED that courtroom drama.

  3. I know what you mean I thank John Grisham has lost his touch. I stop reading his books some time ago. When I went to family reunion in Oct of my grandfathers sisters family. I found out John Grisham is related to that family. I knew she married a Grisham but not those Grishams.

  4. Grishom wrote a few bad ones. That was one of them. I think it was made into a movie and I couldn't figure out just wasn't that good. I would like to read some of Maeve Binchy but haven't yet. I am always interested in what everyone reads because I am always looking out for something different.
    This bone chilling weather makes me want to stay in bed until Spring and read read read....

  5. My sister gave us all SKIPPING CHRISTMAS the year it came out and we each loved it. The movie was horrible. Now that you analyze the book I have to wonder what we all loved about it.

  6. I never gave in and read Grisham's book, and now I guess I'll save myself a trip to the library. Thanks for the review. It does sound trite.

  7. Dear Winifred ~~ I just dropped by to wish you a very Happy Birthday.
    It is the 5th Jan so it is nearly over. I hope you are having a lovely day and that the weather is not too depressing for you. Great that you enjoy reading so much, when it is better to be indoors. Happy New Year as well my friend. Love, Merle.

  8. I love Maeve Binchy. Have never read a Grisham book (shock, horror :)) Hope you had a good Christmas

  9. I like a full length book as I like to get into the characters and think like I am there in the book.

    Work from home India

  10. Hi Winifred. Happy New Year. Me, I just seen movies on Grisham books. Sorry about that. The Pelican Brief must be great judging by the movie.

  11. Maybe it is just one of those bad times authors have.

  12. Sounds as though you have been busy reading. I read the Christmas Jars and now I am reading the Christmas Jars Reunion. Both are novels. Hope you had a nice holiday and a wonderful, fantastic New Year.

  13. Judging by the unusually cold weather England is experiencing, not to mention the oil crisis. I sure hope you have several good books to curl up with.

    In front of a fireplace... I hope. Stay warm Winifred.

  14. Hi again Winifred ~~ Thanks for your comments and I am glad you get a laugh at my blog. The Senility
    Prayer is a good one. Take care, my friend, Love, Merle. Keep warm/

  15. Well I'm not getting my swimming done. Not because I can't get there, because I'm babysitting. My granddaughter just doesn't like the water!

    I have another book to pick up from the library in Anne Perry's William Monk series. I have six more in the house but was missing one. I hate to read them out of order. However I don't fancy dragging these two along so I'm knitting at the moment.

    Not quite sure about the "oil crisis" Marjorie mentioned. Didn't think we had one at the moment. Well no worse than it's been for a long time.

  16. Happy New Year to you Winnifred! I dearly love to read...there are books everywhere through our home.

  17. I left this answer on my blog under your question about the snow blower...

    Reply to Winifred...

    The snow comes up and out the chute. You can turn the chute to one side or the other or aim it so that it is off to the side of the drive way or sidewalk. If you do this going down the drive way and then turn around, you would blow it off to the same side going in the other direction by turning the chute.


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