This is a rather strange effect of quarantine, and one that I was not anticipating: I am actually in a festive mood this holiday season. This almost never happens, but I suppose since we’re currently on second lockdown all that mental energy has to go somewhere, and any change is welcomed with open arms. I have literally bored my way into the Christmas spirit. This is……….really really sad, now that I think about it, but as long as it’s still going I’m gonna roll with it.
I’m ending Blogmas here in order to have a weekend without deadlines, because when I first decided to do Blogmas it somehow did not occur to me that continuing Blogmas after Christmas was somewhat pointless. It would also prevent me from using the weekend to do all the reading I’ve been putting off since mid-November, though at this point I’m going to have to start The Burning God all over again because #PROCRASTINATION.
1. A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?
Everybody says the Weasleys. I want to spend my Christmas dinner with the Todd family from the Todd Family series (Kate Atkinson). I’d like to see one Christmas dinner where Ursula gets to give Maurice a good kick when he starts going on about whatever the fuck Maurice goes on about (that could cover any number of topics) while Sylvie argues with Pamela about science and with Izzy about everything, Harold and Edwina fight about religion, Teddy talks about poetry and farming, Nancy and Hugh try to keep the peace, Bridget grumbles, Jimmy eats all the food, and Pamela’s kids try to figure out how to play with Maurice’s. Can you imagine being a fly on the wall?
2. A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?
Is a whole ass house in the middle of a fucking lake with built-in bookcases instead of walls and a pet dragon too much to ask for?
I mean, dream big, right? This is literally my dream house only I would make sure that lake had an artificial current (because mosquitos) and the dragon would snuggle up and read with me and occasionally incinerate rude people with clipboards trying to sell me lake-cleaning services.
3. A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?
Captain John Yossarian (Catch-22, Joseph Heller). idk, he’d be so deliberately incompetent it would almost be artistic. I kinda want a whole novella about him going through people’s Christmas books and censoring out all the prepositions, or opening up their IKEA packages and taking out all the screws.
4. Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.
Alice (Christina Henry) -> “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because they both spin around men who can’t take no for an answer. In Alice, this role is filled by a crime boss called the Rabbit. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” speaks for itself. Google the lyrics if you’re not sure.
5. Bah! Humbug! A book or fictional character you’re disappointed with and want to put on the naughty list?
I was very disappointed with The Priory of the Orange Tree (Samantha Shannon), which in addition to espousing gross bathing practices was about 600 pages of build-up and 200 pages of action. In case you were wondering, YES I AM STILL HUNG UP ON THE HOT SPRING THING.
The thing is, I really wanted to love this book, but the author was already on the cultural appropriation defensive before I even got to page one and there were a million things wrong with her version of Japan, and all in all it was not a pleasant experience. There were parts that I liked, but they were few, and they mostly related to Ead and Meg.
6. A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and should be put on the nice list?
I’m puzzled as to why The Map of Salt and Stars doesn’t have a higher rating on goodreads, because it’s wonderful and it is absolutely one of my favorite books of the year. While we’re on the subject, I think Huda needs some more love. Some truly shitty things happen to her (to be perfectly honest everything that could possibly happen seems to happen to her), and she doesn’t deserve even an ounce of badness.
7. Red, gold, and green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmasy feel to it.
Pass. I currently own more than 342 books, but none of them could really pass as Christmasy unless you count my NetGalley copy of Ming’s Christmas Wishes (Susan L. Gong). This would probably be a good place to mention that, as I do not own a physical copy of Ming, I do not count her.
8. A book or series you love so much that you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?
Oh my god how much time do you have 😀
Well, there’s Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir), which I read last month and actually have taken steps to put under a couple of somebodies’ Christmas trees. Then there’s my old favorites from high school, and – actually, you know what, I think we’re going to need a list.
Carolyn’s (Late) Impromptu Bookdragon Gift Guide for Holidays and Lesser Events
Books are listed in the order in which I read them. I managed to limit myself to 25 books and only one Atwood, which for me is pretty impressive. Asterisks denote books that I have previously given as gifts, and will probably continue to bestow upon the worthy.
- The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
- Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
- The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
- The Curse of Chalion* – Lois McMaster Bujold
- Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
- The Color of Magic – Terry Pratchett
- Book Love – Debbie Tung
- The Song of Achilles* – Madeline Miller
- Macbeth – Jo Nesbø
- Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
- Woman World* – Aminder Dhaliwal
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
- The Great Passage – Shion Miura
- Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- The Map of Salt and Stars – Zeyn Joukhadar
- The Book of Longings – Sue Monk Kidd
- The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Daré
- Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
- The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True – Sean Gibson
- Sharks in the Time of Saviors – Kawai Strong Washburn
- The Book of Night Women – Marlon James
- Fangs – Sarah Andersen
- How Much of These Hills Is Gold – C Pam Zhang
- Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead – Olga Tokarczuk
- Gideon the Ninth* – Tamsyn Muir