Three out, three in this week, so the TBR remains beautifully balanced on193…
Oh, by the way, in case you haven’t noticed it’s nearly Christmas…
Dickens at Christmas
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
As always, I’ll be spending the festive season in the company of my old friend, Charles Dickens. I was going to re-read The Mystery of Edwin Drood this year, but then Rose’s review of this one reminded me that it’s the only one of the novels I’ve never read. An unread Dickens! What a treat!
The Blurb says: One of Dickens’s most haunting and bizarre novels, The Old Curiosity Shop is the story of “Little Nell” and her persecution by the grotesque and lecherous Quilp. It is a shifting kaleidoscope of events and characters as the story reaches its tragic climax, an ending that famously devastated the novel’s earliest readers. Dickens blends naturalistic and allegorical styles to encompass both the actual blight of Victorian industrialization and textual echoes of Bunyan, the Romantic poets, Shakespeare, pantomine, and Jacobean tragedy. This edition uses the Clarendon text, the definitive edition of the novels of Charles Dickens, and includes the original illustrations.
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A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
Courtesy of Penguin Classics via NetGalley. I’ve only read Capote’s In Cold Blood before, and this couldn’t really sound any more different…
The Blurb says: Tender and bittersweet, these stories by Truman Capote, the author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, are a captivating tribute to the Christmas season.
Selected from across Capote’s writing life, they range from nostalgic portraits of childhood to more unsettling works that reveal the darkness beneath the festive glitter. In the Deep South of Capote’s youth, a young boy, Buddy, and his beloved maiden ‘aunt’ Sook forage for pecans and whiskey to bake into fruitcakes, make kites – too broke to buy gifts – and rise before dawn to prepare feasts for a ragged assembly of guests; it is Sook who teaches Buddy the true meaning of good will. In other stories, an unlikely festive miracle, of sorts, occurs at a local drugstore; a lonely woman has a troubling encounter in wintry New York. Brimming with feeling, these sparkling tales convey both the wonder and the chill of Christmas time.
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Christmas Horror Stories
Spirits of the Season edited by Tanya Kirk
This is from the BL’s excellent Tales of the Weird series, one that I missed when it came out a couple of years ago. Should complement my Dickens reading nicely, and keep the porpy occupied while I eat turkey sandwiches…
The Blurb says: Festive cheer turns to maddening fear in this new collection of seasonal hauntings, presenting the best Christmas ghost stories from the 1860s to the 1940s.
The traditional trappings of the holiday are turned upside down as restless spirits disrupt the merry games of the living, Christmas trees teem with spiteful pagan presences, and the Devil himself treads the boards at the village pantomime.
As the cold night of winter closes in and the glow of the hearth begins to flicker and fade, the uninvited visitors gather in the dark in this distinctive assortment of Yuletide chillers.
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Shardlake on Audio
Sovereign by CJ Sansom read by Steven Crossley
It would have been nice if I could have rounded the post off with another Christmassy one, but I’ve already started this one and they’re always so long I might well still be listening to it at Christmas! I’m still thoroughly enjoying Steven Crossley’s readings of this great series…
The Blurb says: Autumn, 1541. King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission by his rebellious subjects in York.
Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a secret mission for Archbishop Cranmer – to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator who is to be returned to London for interrogation.
But the murder of a York glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret documents which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead to Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age . . .
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NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads, Amazon UK or Audible UK.
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