For the most beautiful time of the year, two days of celebrations is simply not enough.
Christmas is not just the parties and big dinners, on the contrary, it’s all about the preparations. When the tree is up and decorations, the presents bought and a good advent calendar sourced, we can finally begin to relax.
Of course, time is short and must be spent well. For this reason, reading a good book in your time off can only help make Christmas better. Below are my top 5 ranking of those books that, for me, are the most beautiful books to read at Christmas time.
Christmas is a moment in which the classics are read more than willingly. They have something magical, perfect for the atmosphere. Dostoevsky’s White Nights is anything but the heavy novel that he usually writes, it’s a quick book with incredible magic. The title refers to the period of the year known as the white nights, in which in northern Russia when the sun sets after 10 pm. The dream is at the centre of the whole story. The protagonist is a dreamer, alienated from any type of social life. Indeed, the only conversations he keeps during his days are with neighbourhood houses.
Everything that the protagonist lives, he lives dreaming with open eyes, that is until he meets Nasten’ka who brings him back, just for a while, to reality.
“I am a dreamer, I have lived so little real life that moments like these I have to repeat them in dreams”
In fourth place is another classic, however much more Christmas-related. This is, of course, A Christmas Carol, by Dickens.
It is one of his most famous novels, revisited countless times over the years in all manner of television, theatre and narrative styles. Here, the famous spirits of the Past, Present, and Future Christmas appear. They lead and help the rich and miserly protagonist, Scrooge.
Recommendation: Watch Dickens – the man who invented Christmas, the film by Bharat Nalluri.
A Christmas Carol is one of Dickens’ most moving works. The Dickensian Scrooge (or uncle Scrooge McDuck, depending on your viewing!) is accompanied on a magical journey through his conscience and history, leading to a radical change – a conversion that makes it one of the greatest literary characters of all time.
Many will know the film, The Polar Express – a must for the Christmas holidays for all children – and not know that it comes from an illustrated book for kids. Surely any child on Christmas Eve would like to take a trip like that of the protagonist with an express train directly to the North Pole! The book shows how magic, like that of Christmas, is visible only to the eyes of a child.
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as the years went by, it became silent for each of them. Even Sarah, a Christmas, found that she could no longer hear her sweet sound. bell still rings for me, as it does for all those who truly believe”
The Hobbit. A Tolkien classic, showing in all its glory the much-discussed character of Bilbo Baggins. What’s better at Christmas than to take a literary trip to Middle-earth? I’m sure most will know “Lord of the Rings”, but some may not be aware that this is its prequel.
Admittedly, this work is not quite as impressive as the one that follows – less philosophical, less geographical – but it is equally impactful, and above all a magical process to read all in sequence. The protagonist, disturbed while smoking his beloved pipe-pot, must take part in the greatest adventure of all time and recover a treasure from the Lonely Mountain. All this – facing challenges of all kinds: riddles, magical creatures, and even a dragon, Smaug – makes The Hobbit a Christmas must-read.
On the top of the podium is the most magical novel, or rather the saga of novels, of them all – Harry Potter. Who doesn’t remember the handmade sweaters by Mrs. Wesley, the chess of the magicians during the holidays, the grand banquets? All the magic of the novel goes perfectly with everything that is Christmas. With a new edition illustrated by JK herself, the magic is tripled. Reading the novel, being transported by images as well as words, in this Christmas period is a moral duty.
For more book reviews and recommendations, click here.
This blog was originally posted in 2017, but we reposted it because we think it’s great!