Monday, December 7, 2009

Recommended Christmas Reads

I suspect a lot of romance readers stray outside the genre from time to time. I know I do. A good story is a good story, whatever the genre. I'd like to share a couple of my favorite Christmas books, even though they aren't romance titles.

The first is THE STORY OF THE OTHER WISE MAN by Henry Van Dyke.

Here's the blurb:

"You know the story of the Three Wise Men of the East, and how they traveled from far away to offer their gifts at the manger-cradle in Bethlehem. But have you ever heard the story of the Other Wise Man, who also saw the star in its rising, and set out to follow it, yet did not arrive with his brethren in the presence of the young child Jesus? Of the great desire of this fourth pilgrim, and how it was denied, yet
accomplished in the denial; of his many wanderings and the probations of his soul; of the long way of his seeking, and the strange way of his finding, the One whom he sought--I would tell the tale as I have heard fragments of it in the Hall of Dreams, in the palace of the Heart of Man."

I adore this story. It sweeps me away to an ancient time with beautiful language and haunting images. I weep like a child every year when I read it.

This wonderful story is apparently in public domain, so it is legal to download from Project Gutenberg. (You know what a stickler I am about piracy, so I checked this pretty closely. First copyrighted in 1896, apparently the copyright was not passed to Mr. Van Dyke's heirs.) However, if you, like me love a book to hold in your hands with beautiful illustrations and binding, THE STORY OF THE OTHER WISE MAN is available at Amazon.

Now from the sublime, to the delightfully ridiculous, let me recommend THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER by Barbara Robinson.

The story starts with "The Herdman's were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world."

Then it goes on in Grade 3-6 level vocabulary to tell the story of how one church realized, through the Herdman's participation in their annual pageant, that we're all the worst kids and Christmas happened for that very reason.

It's hysterically funny, poignant and definitely a book to be shared. I read this classic aloud with my kids, to my class when I was teaching, basically to any child who'd sit still long enough. And that's easy to find because the Herdman's highjacking of the Christmas pageant is wonderfully well-written and engaging. Snuggle up with your favorite little person and read a chapter a night this December. Memories will be made, I promise you.

Your favorite bookseller probably has it in stock, but if not, you can find it at Amazon. Happy Reading!

Your turn to share. What are your favorite Christmas books?

PS. If you want the inside scoop on a Regency style Christmas, pop over to I've posted 6 pages of bonus material about Christmas in 1822 on my website, but since you read my blog, you won't have to hunt for them. Just click the Christmas ball on the home page and it will take you to the first Regency Christmas page. Keep clicking on the Christmas ball image and you'll be directed to the next one and so forth. Enjoy!


Lynn Spencer said...

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - oh, I LOVE this book. It always makes me laugh and get teary all at the same time.

EmilyBryan said...

Me2, Lynn. It's why I recommend it. I figure if a book is worth reading at 10, it's wort reading at any age. (Why I also still enjoy Winnie the Pooh! Guess I'll never grow up!)

Nynke said...

I don't really have a favourite Christmas book, but I really, really love one animated movie: The Snowman ( )
It's about a little boy who makes a snowman in the garden and it comes to life and takes him out flying - it's a really wonderful, dreamy story with beautiful pictures and even more beautiful music. I first saw it when I was about four years old and it still moves me to tears :).

Tessa McDermid said...

Oh, my favorites are listed! I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with my older students and when my boys were old enough, started reading it at home, one chapter a night. One night we couldn't find the book - it was on their dad's nightstand, where he was reading ahead!!

I read The Snowman with my kindergarten students and we watched the movie. I have a soft Snowman doll that went with the book.

We didn't put presents under the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve. Until then, we had holiday books of all kinds under there to read - The Littlest Angel, A Christmas Carol, etc.

Thanks for good memories, Emily!

EmilyBryan said...

Nynke--I think the things we see and read as children stay with us, become part of us as things that happen later never do. Sounds like your Snowman story was lovely.

EmilyBryan said...

Tessa, you're brilliant! Books under the tree! What a concept.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

I haven't read too many Christmas books, and I may be a tad partial (LOL), but Mistletoe Rules by Stacey Joy Netzel is definitely my favorite. :-)

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for sharing, Donna!

For everyone else, if you're not familiar with Stacey's book, please scroll down on my blog to read more about MISTLETOE RULES!

Nynke said...

Tessa, the toddler in me wants that Snowman doll :). Emily, I think you're roght. Something that deeply impresses you when you're very young, really does make a very deep impession!