Note To Christmastime

I apologize for not reading The Hobbit this year, even though I know full well it is one of the most Christmastimey books ever written. I am just skipping a year; and I feel my lapse has been made up for by re-reading “The Magician’s Nephew” last January. You see I cleverly banked those points. Furthermore, these past two months I have been reading the HECK out of some Jack Vance, Joseph Conrad, Cordwainer Smith, and P.G. Wodehouse…I hope that makes up for it.

Internet, what are YOUR traditional Christmas reads? And what are the books YOU have asked for/have gotten this year? Come on; tell me. What will be YOUR literary post-Christmas undercover delight?

I’m all out of beer. But at this time of year, that means nothing. I wish you a happy one, Universe: how the heck are YOU doing, and what can I do to help out?

You can reach me at this number:


10 responses to “Note To Christmastime

  1. Christmas reads: Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather.
    Connie Willis’s ‘Miracle’ and other Christmas stories.
    And watching the movie Love Actually.

    I asked for *a lot* of books this year. The ones I got are… Gaiman’s Fragile Things, Greg Keyes’ The Blood Knight, Arthur Ransome’s Pigeon Post (one of the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series… I’m two-thirds of the way to having them all!), Jacqueline Carey’s Godslayer (second half of one of the dashedest fantasy series I’ve ever struck), Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, and Baseball Between the Numbers from the good folks at Baseball Prospectus.

    Good times.

  2. Finally got a copy of Spook Country by William Gibson and the last two 100 Bullets trades. All of which I’ve been really hep to read.

    As to what I’m currently reading – all at once mind you, which means I’m barely halfway through any of them – Michael Palin’s Diaries, the second 4th World Omnibus, Norman Spinrad’s Bug Jack Barron, Thunderball by Ian Fleming, and Gravity’s Rainbow. And knowing me, I’ll read the new stuff first (GIBSON!), then start back at the Diaries. I’ll probably finish the Gibson book by the end of the week and the rest of it sometime in April…

  3. Oooooh, I got Volume 3 of the Fourth World stuff — WOW! Just looks GREAT! Ed tells me some people were a bit disappointed it wasn’t printed on glossy paper, personally I LOVE that it wasn’t.

    Also I’ve got Kavalier and Clay flying in next week, plus — GASP! — Black Dossier. Also got a couple Schultz things, and that new V For Vendetta TPB I’ve been coveting for a while.

    Plus: something called R.O.D. — gonna pop it in the DVD player right now.

    Shamefully behind on my William Gibson — such a smart guy, he lives down the street from me and sometimes it’s a physical strain not to go up to him and confess I haven’t gotten around to buying “Pattern Recognition” yet. “Gravity’s Rainbow” I started to read, and then got distracted…I feel I should put myself in mind of the time when I pick it up again, and contrive to defamiliarize myself with the literary history of the twentieth century that followed its publication. Can’t decide if I now think “Bug Jack Barron” was eerily prescient, or instead got it all wrong…have only ever heard of “Swallows And Amazons” in a distant way…is it as good as (apparently) people think?

    For me, Moonraker is just about the ultimate Bond book, and Man With The Golden Gun close to being the least impressive. An odd inversion: I love the Golden Gun movie, and of course thoroughly despise the Moonraker one. Let’s hope Daniel Craig’s “James Bond Begins” (well, that’s what people are calling it!) moves on to a faithful adaptation of “Moonraker” at some point…

    And, hah! Where Matthew watches “Love, Actually”, as I grow older I find myself more and more drawn to “Eyes Wide Shut” as a Christmas movie — God, I’m so weird! But there is no more profoundly alienated Yuletide than the one Tom Cruise lives through in this, and I contend there’s something for the modern movie-watcher to recognize of themselves in it.

    Of course I also like “The Bishop’s Wife” — in glorious black and white, thanks. That’s the Christmas movie that always gets me the most, slight as it is, and I could probably write five thousand words on it. Ten thousand if you throw in a comparison with “Meet John Doe”. I think I could also watch “Death Note” every Christmas. And I decided some years ago that watching the Fry/Laurie Jeeves & Woosters may be the best pre-Christmas ritual I’ve ever thought of.

    But in the end, it all comes back to “The Hobbit”, and “The Bishop’s Wife”. It’s nice to read/see something deliberately so it’ll pull weirdly at the traditionalist tide in my brain — “The Dead Lady Of Clown Town” is almost as good as “Eyes Wide Shut”, in that respect — but Christmas is still Christmas, and it still calls out for Harry Potter and The Sword In The Stone, and other stuff like that.

    Oh crap, I still have to mail my friend’s daughter “A Wizard Of Earthsea” and “The Tombs Of Atuan” in time for her to get it three Christmases ago…

    Must get on that soonest.

  4. This year’s Christmas day read was…’The Man who was Thursday’ by GK Chesterton.

    Mostly I think Christmas is a time for doing the most pointless, least literary things you can think of, which in my case is a 1500 piece jigsaw of Schloss Neuschwanstein. I sometimes read Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, if only because Scrooge has such fantastic lines, and Dodie Smith’s ‘101 Dalmatians’. I have no excuse for that one.

    The great thing about ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ is you can skip 400 pages and it still won’t make any sense. Fine sentences, though.

    For now, it’s either Orhan Pamuk’s ‘My Name is Red’ or tackle the blurry trees underneath the castle.

  5. have only ever heard of “Swallows And Amazons” in a distant way…is it as good as (apparently) people think?

    Yes! It’s awesome. I can’t believe I didn’t discover it until my mid-thirties; I can’t imagine how much I would have loved them as a kid. Nancy Blackett is one of the great characters of fiction.

  6. Y’know I’ve had Kavalier and Klay for like three years and i can’t get past the first chapter. I always gravitate to something more immediately interesting. But then I heard about the Yiddish Policeman’s Union and thats a story I want to read.

    As for Xmas films? Die Hard, Twelve Monkeys, Ronin, Brazil, Eyes Wide Shut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it’s an embarassment of riches… I think even the first Lethal Weapon is set at Xmas. But with the shopping? I keep coming back to Dawn of the Dead.

    And yeah I don’t know if I’ll ever finish Gravity’s Rainbow. My sister bought it for a book report and i inherited it because, y’know, Frank Miller cover.

  7. Pillock, is there a specific Wodehouse which is appropriate for Christmas or do you just enjoy the general goodness which is Wodehouse? I’m familiar with a few of the Jeeves and Psmith stories, but I don’t know of any which are about the holidays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s