Best of all, I got an early present yesterday: after reading my requested synopsis, the agent I dream of representing my work asked to see the first fifty pages of my manuscript. Opening that email was better than opening a stocking filled with Godiva chocolates--and it wasn't fattening.
Yep, it's finally beginning to feel like Christmas.
To help keep myself in the proper frame of mind, I am squeezing in a few minutes every day to do some seasonal reading. Every year, I try add a book or two to our holiday collection; back when my children were small, I chose books to read aloud to them. Some of our favorites were Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer; The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett or Tasha Tudor; The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg; The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Wojciechowski; The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson; and Christmas with Ida Early by Robert Burch. During that time, I personally made an annual event of reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, and Miss Read's Christmas Tales. Since then, I have discovered another Christmas novel by Miss Read, No Holly for Miss Quinn; last year, I also read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (Christmas with the Kranks was based on Skipping Christmas, but as is often the case, the book is much better than the movie). This year, I am reading Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs, a recommendation from the blog Petit Fours and Hot Tamales, whose family I will join in January. I have only finished the first chapter but so far, so good.
Like playing holiday music on the piano, reading these special stories helps me to escape from the hustle and bustle that threatens to consume both my spirit and my soul this time of year and to get out of my head and into a better place. What books have been a part of your family's holiday tradition? What are some of your grown-up recommendations?