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Christmas Reading: Part 5

Written by Chris Routledge, 23rd December 2008

Kate McDonnell, Project Manager, Get Into Reading

I'm going to be reading Home by Marilynn Robinson on Jane's super-enthusiastic recommendation (and despite having seen it described as 'luminous' - an adjective that always puts me off - by one reviewer). I've deliberately saved it for Christmas because it seems to suit the season... a cold walk with the dog in the morning and settling down with Home and a bucket of tea in the afternoon.

I'm going to be giving one of those dinky copies of classics out at the moment - Thackeray's Vanity Fair. It's destined for my teenage daughter who I think will hugely enjoy Becky Sharp, and will fit nicely into her Christmas stocking along with the lip-gloss.

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 Julie Barkway, Librarian and Project Worker, Get Into Reading

As a Librarian and Get Into Reading facilitator I am always on the look out for good short stories that I can share with my reading groups. I know I am not alone in this so the gift I will be giving this Christmas is A World of Difference: An anthology of Short Stories from Five Continents edited by Linda Prescott.  A key theme of this anthology is 'difference'. Many of the stories involve characters who have journeyed from their homeland to another place and each has something to say about cultural encounters. There are fifteen beautifully written stories from fantastic writers like Raymond Carver, Nadime Gordimer, Bernard Malamud, William Trevor, V.S. Naipaul - to name but a few. This is a book you can dip into at any time - there is something for everyone.

There is something about Christmas and ghost stories that I cannot resist and again I am not alone, so continuing the short story theme, a book I will be hoping to receive as a gift over this period is The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories edited by Michael Cox and R.A.Gilbert. This collection of ghost stories is the first to present the full range of classic English ghost fiction and includes some of the very best and most terrifying ever written. From old well loved favourites like 'The Monkey's Paw' by W.W.Jacobs (1902) to more recent chillers like 'Bad Company' by Walter De La Mare (1955) all are guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine. I shall enjoy reading this evocative collection over the long winter evenings by the firelight with a small glass or two of something festive to steady my nerves!!

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