Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wrapping Up Xmas Reading

I had a fun December reading a variety of holiday-themed books.

I finished up Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop, an anthology of stories set in the NYC bookshop, and edited by bookshop owner Otto Penzler. I ended up giving it 3 stars on GoodReads--anthologies are tough because they are usually a mixed bag, with some good stories, some so-so stories, and one that I found simply unreadable. Tastes vary, but overall I enjoyed the book.  Lots of the stories involved rare or unpublished manuscripts by popular authors, nefarious agents, and criminals disguised as Santa. The creepiest by far, but also the most creative, was "The 74th Tale" by Jonathan Santlofer--it involves a down-and-outer who reads Poe and takes the stories to heart.

I ended up not finishing A Very French Christmas - another anthology, and one I was sure I would love but the stories were fairly ho-hum. Not magical, not heart-warming, but rather dull. I gave up when I hit a patch of anti-Semitic authors (the bios of the authors at the back proved helpful) and their rants did nothing to put me in the Christmas spirit. I'm really hoping that these aren't actually considered the best and most beloved French Christmas stories.

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg was superb.

I'm enjoying listening to the Winter series by Elin Hilderbrand. I really liked Winter Street, the first book, and then went right into Winter Stroll, book 2. I'm picking up book 3, Winter Storms, from the library the afternoon. It's about the extended Quinn family who live on Nantucket and own a B&B on the island. Setting is marvelous and characters/plot are interesting. If Hallmark doesn't make this into a series, then I am seriously underestimating them!

'Tis the season for reading--hope you are enjoying the seasonal fare!


  1. Though it is unfortunate that it was a bit uneven, Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop sounds like it has some intriguing stories. I like odd stories and I love stories that involve books.

    Have a Happy New Years Jane!

  2. I can totally see the Winter books as a Hallmark series! Sure hope they make it :)

  3. I love books set on Nantucket, so I might look for that series.

  4. You are right that the political opinions and racism in the guise of nationalism of some of these authors in the French collection are deeply disappointing, to say the least, and detract from their literary legacy. I evaluated the stories as stories, and The Lost Child was my favorite, as it was less cynical than others.

    I will look into the Elin Hilderbrand Winter Street trilogy. I love these Hallmark movies! Thanks.

  5. I'm so sorry about the French Christmas anthology. How disapointing! I'm glad you had some other great reads, though! Happy New Year!

  6. A Very French Christmas would be a pass for me but, I did love Redbird Christmas. Hope you have a happy, healthy 2018 Jane and, lots of good books.

  7. Sounds like it was best to stick with authors with a great track record.

  8. I don't go for politics much but like that I would be disappointed. Happy new year xxx