Christmas Reading

What a strange Christmas this has been for us. Dec 13th I came down with some random virus (not the flu, not covid) and am just now starting to feel like myself again. I was contagious so everyone had to stay away and I missed all the usual gatherings and celebrations. When I look back at it now, it's a just blur of shivering under a pile of quilts, coughing and sneezing, eating popscicles that all tasted like cough drops, and basically just trying to breathe. I wasn't able to read much because one of this particular virus' gifts was conjuctivitis in both eyes, but I did listen to a few audio books to pass time and stay relatively sane. Unfortunately I was in such a fog when I listened to them that I remember little about them now, but they served their purpose in helping me get through a trying time. 

A Town Divided by Christmas by Orson Scott Card
A small town in North Carolina has been chosen for a genetic study searching for a "homebody" gene to explain why people move back to their hometowns after trying to start a life elsewhere. The two scientists sent to conduct the study get involved in the lives of the locals and of course romance ensues. The division referred to in the title is within the town's Episcopalian congregation, a break that happened 87 years ago over a disagreement about which newborn would play the part of baby Jesus. Because of the title you'd think that was meant to be the main story line but I found it overshadowed by the genetic study and the romances. It's a great title, just not particularly apt in this case.  

It was a cute story - I cringe to say that because to me 'cute' feels like a derogatory term - but it's the only word I can think of that works in this case. I do think I might have liked it better if I'd read it; I found the narration came across as a little too wry at times.  

Christmas At Fairacre by Miss Read
This truly lovely book I did read and thoroughly enjoyed. I read it every few years and never tire of it. My original review is here.

Bethlehem, the Year Jesus was Born by Scott Douglas
A short book that is exactly what the title says it is. It looks at various aspects of life at the time of Jesus' birth and gives us an idea what it would have been like for the different characters in the story.  

The Garden House by Marcia Willett
Not a Christmas book but I needed a story to fall into and this served the purpose. Again, I more or less followed it while I was listening but it's a little foggy when I think back now. The main character is El, a young woman just out of university and grieving the recent loss of her father. She moves into his house, gets reacquainted with her childhood friend, Will, and together they begin to see that El's father had a life they'd known nothing about. I like Marcia Willet's writing and the narration by Emma Powell was perfect.   


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