December Reads

Even though that looks like a big stack, I didn’t have much time to read in December, what with everyone but Jake getting super sick and the shop craziness and all. I started reading the Harry Potter series again while I was sick (because really, what makes you feel better more than Harry Potter?) and continued on because I have to be reading something and HP doesn’t require much brain power at the end of a long, hard day. And I figured that the kids shouldn’t get all of the fun with the holiday books, so I picked up a few to help me get into the Christmas spirit.

December Reads

Here are the books I read in December:

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)

I’ve always wanted to read A Christmas Carol, and was surprised to find that it is a novella. Everything I’ve ever read by Dickens has been at least 400 pages! It was a nice surprise to find that it was a manageable read during such a busy time. I already knew the story well, because The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the best holiday movies ever, and I found comfort in snuggling up with the classic with the Christmas lights aglow.

The Stories For Christmas Collection, which you can pick up for practically free used on Amazon, has several other Christmas stories, but I decided to save those for next season so I’ll have fresh Christmas Dickens for my bedside table. I also think I might read I Christmas Carol to Eliza next December; I’m certain she’ll love it.

Holidays on Ice

Holidays on Ice David Sedaris (1997, 2010)

Everything I’ve read by Sedaris has been hilarious, and this collection of holiday themed essays and short stories is no exception… though one of the stories has very questionable taste. And I don’t find many things questionable.

That aside, I love that Sedaris can make the mundane seem so weird and interesting. You wouldn’t think that there’d be much material in having to be a Macy’s elf for a holiday season, but you’d be dead wrong.

These aren’t all Christmas stories, either, but that’s the main focus of the majority of the stories (Halloween and Easter make appearances as well). Also, a few of these stories were in collections I already have, so I skipped them. I love re-reading things, but the stories were still fresh in my mind and I’ve got a big “to read” stack to power through.

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The Clash by the Clash (2008)

This book is a Clash fan’s dream. I’ve had it for a few years (thanks, Nick!) and have thumbed through it a lot, reading snippets here and there and looking at the amazing full-page pictures, but this is the first time I’ve read it all of the way through. And now I’m kicking myself, because I should have read it cover to cover the second I got my hands on it.

This is a different sort of music autobiography: the tale is told in the band members’ own words in interview format. It’s really amazing to see the side-by-side responses from the different members about the same thing. It’s funny how memory and perspective works.

This book has everything: the members’ backgrounds, how they became interested in music, how they met each other, how they started playing, how they decided what to wear, descriptions of each major early gig and each tour, stories from the recording of the albums and background information on how they wrote the songs. My 13-year-old self, pouring over lyrics, would have killed to know the context of the songs!

Now I’m going to listen to each album in their discography over and over with my newfound Clash wisdom.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (1998), and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(1999) by J. K. Rowling

Re-reading these again, I realized just how many times I’ve read them by now. Most of our Harry Potter books are originals from my childhood, first American editions (the first one is the exception, it had to be replaced). I love that the inside cover of PoA has “Megan Kiekel ’99″ on the inside. These books are relics from my adolescence.

Each year, before a new book came out, I’d read the rest in the series leading up to the new book. And since the final book came out, I’ve read them all every year, with the exception of 2011. I started reading the Harry Potter series to Eliza in 2011, so I still read a big chunk of them in ’11 (we’re on the 5th book right now). I also read 1-4 aloud in the car to Jake when we lived outside of the city and had long commutes. That means that I’ve read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a minimum of 15 times. When I think about my favorite book, I usually answer The Little Prince or Slaughterhouse-Five. It used to be Fight Club, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve outgrown that. Here’s the thing: I don’t read 7 Vonnegut books a year, do I? Maybe I need to start declaring Harry Potter as my favorite book(s), even if that does shadow the fact that I spent the majority of my reading hours in 2012 on Shakespeare.

I also started reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in December.

December Reads

You can see all of my other reads posts here.

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Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading lately?