Christmas reading


I know, I know. We think we are too busy to read during the holiday season. After all, there are cookies to bake, which we will eat, and then complain we gained weight. We’ll spend hours looking for the perfect gift, spend too much money for it, and learn later the giftee returned it for something they liked better. We have to get those outside decorations up so the neighbors won’t think we are a Scrooge. At the end of each day, we bemoan that we didn’t get this or that done. Then, the next day we get up and do it all over again, becoming more and more stressed and tired as the Christmas and the New Year get closer with each passing sunset.

I do love Christmas and generally enjoy all the hustle and bustle. But, there are times when I just need to put it all aside and read about how others deal with Christmas stresses and dilemmas.

You may have Christmas favorites you read every year. These classics have stood the test of time and found their way into our souls. Other stories are not so “immortal,” but they are a light read for a tired mind. It seems as though all the popular authors, no matter the genre they are known for, write at least one Christmas book. Believe me, some are better than others and for the most part they aren’t going to become modern day classics. So, here are my not-so-great but mildly engaging selections for your reading pleasure.

John Grisham departs from his usual legal thrillers with “Skipping Christmas.” That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. But it simply isn’t that easy and Grisham’s tale offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our lives around the holidays.

“The Christmas Angel Project,” by Melody Carlson, is the tale of five women from different walks of life who are close friends through their book club. When the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. This poignant but sugary sweet story is about friends and honoring a friend’s memory.

Suzanne Woods Fisher sticks close to the roots of her writing with “A Lancaster County Christmas.” Can two couples from the Amish and English worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas? Fisher’s characters are always believable, if sometimes overly naive.

Mystery and Agatha Christie fans will enjoy the 1990 “Murder for Christmas and Three Other Great Mysteries.” Featuring Hercule Poirot, the puzzles are ingenious, the characters eccentric and Poirot masterfully deductive.

William Johnstone is an icon for western lovers and has written several Christmas sagas of the Old West. Maybe you’d like to try “An Arizona Christmas.” Sandstorms, an Apache ambush and a ruthless gang of stage robbers aren’t interested in Christmas at all.

Even Jan Karon of Mitford fame, gets into the spirits with “Esther’s Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story.” I’m sorry, you will just have to read this one for yourself. There are Mitford fans out there, I’m just not one of them.

I’ve probably not included your favorite author, but chances are they have a Christmas book. The books in this column are all adult authors, and frankly, in my opinion, children’s authors do Christmas so much better!


Molly S. Kinney is the library director at the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading a Christmas book from one of her favorite series, “The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle” by Susan Wittig Albert.