Christmas-themed reads

This has become something of a tradition: regular blogger Paul Grech shares his Christmas-themed TBR pile recommendations with us.

So, for some Christmas cheer and good old cozy reading, here’s Paul’s list this Christmas:

It seems that I say it on here every year but it is something of a tradition of mine to read A Christmas Carol each December. It reminds me of when I first read it as a child – indeed I still have the actual copy I read way back – and I still find it enjoyable.

Last year, I decided to expand on that and dedicated December to reading largely Christmas-themed books. It went well enough for me to try and repeat it this year as well. I’ve lined up five books that should keep me going till the end of the month and, in case there are others who want to do the same, wanted to share them.


A Highland Christmas by MC Beaton

Over recent months I’ve been enjoying MC Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth detective series. These are quite light reads – you’ll be done with them within a day or two – but I find that they are engaging and enjoyable enough even if not exactly highbrow literature. Indeed, entertaining enough that when I spotted a Christmas special at a book fair earlier on in the year, I felt I had to buy it. The mystery itself seems to be run-of-the-mill but the highland setting promises to be quite fascinating.

A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film by Jean Shepherd

A Christmas Story is definitely in my personal top five favourite Christmas movies (somewhere between Home Alone, Gremlins, Love Actually and Die Hard) but I never knew that it was based on a series of short stories by radio host Jean Shepherd. Now that I know that – and that they’ve been grouped together in this book – I couldn’t really pass it up.


Wasal il-Milied by Ernest Vella

There are a slew of Maltese language Christmas-themed books published each year but, from the 2021 batch, this is the one that intrigues me the most. It deals with a number of mysterious events that unfold in a very old crib. It seems like a nostalgia-laden read which always goes down well this time of year.

You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs

Last year I read David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice and it proved to be my favourite pick over the Christmas season. So this year I went looking for something similar and the search turned up this book. The blurb promises a “funny, nostalgic, poignant and moving collection.” Snippets that I’ve read from it are promising.


Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

This is intriguing on many levels. First of all the plot itself which sees a couple opt for a Caribbean cruise instead of celebrating Christmas but end up angering their neighbours by doing so. And then there’s the author, John Grisham, who is best known for his legal thrillers but who on this occasion is trying his hand at the comedic genre. It might be hilarious. Or it could be really bad. Either way, think it’ll be fun trying to find out.

Paul Grech is an avid reader particularly of sports, sci-fi, fantasy and non-fiction books. He is also a writer as well as the publisher of Paġna Mmarkata, a magazine (that is also a bookmark) of original Maltese writing.

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