Blog in France is a lady with llamas who left Ireland to live in France and has organised a Christmas BlogHop which I am delighted to participate in, including a give-away, just leave a comment to be in the draw to win Paul Durcan’s book and do visit the fabulous blogs participating in this festive foray linked at the end of this post.
I’m sharing favourite Christmas reads and the first book that came to mind that has been my favourite since I heard the author read an extract at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1997, is Paul Durcan’s Christmas Day.
Christmas Day is a 78 page prose poem that reminds us in a humorous way of those who won’t be sharing a traditional Christmas, whether by choice or because they find themselves far from family and friends, and of the traditions we partake in and even when we don’t, that seem to resonate within us anyway.
In cities across the world
I like sitting in churches doing nothing.
I like going to communion:
Standing in line and catching
Glimpses in night skies
Through x-rays of clouds
Of the thin white moon of the host.
The moment I took the decision
Not to go to Mass
I could feel life returning into my body,
My empty cistern filling up,
The Holy Spirit gurgling inside me.
It is a funny, subversive, somewhat melancholic conversation between two men – Paul and Frank who spend Christmas in Dublin trying to make it something, but not quite getting it right. It will have you laughing out loud, nodding your head in acknowledgement and realising the importance of reaching out to at least one person this Christmas. Not only it is a terrific read, but I was so enamoured with his performance, I bought audio versions as gifts for family, his delightful Irish voice, much a part of the experience for me.
He is unafraid, masterful and exactly what this world needs more of: wild abandon, wild love and sheer mad genius. Alice Sebold
My children’s favourite Christmas story and one that I was asked to read to the class in English comes from The Magic of Christmas storybook. All the stories are great, but their favourite, and a word they just loved to hear repeated is Ridiculous.
Ridiculous is a story about a young tortoise who doesn’t want to hibernate in winter, she decides to go outdoors after her parents have settled down to sleep and explore the snowy surrounds.
She meets a duck, a dog, a cat and a bird, all of whom exclaim and repeat the same thing:
“Whoever heard of a tortoise out in winter?”
Shelley the tortoise disagrees, but discovers she can’t break the ice to get food like a duck, keep warm by running around like a dog, crawl into a nice warm house like a cat, or fly off home like a bird.
My own favourite children’s Christmas story, doesn’t require reading at all, at least it has no words.
Raymond Brigg’s delightful The Snowman, is an all-time classic picture book and celebrates the power of the imagination and the wonder of childhood, as a boy builds a snowman and then goes on a night-time adventure with him into the world to places he has never seen.
Last year, I remember losing myself in Abraham Verghese’s wonderful Cutting for Stone and I’m hoping that The Night Circus will do the same for me this year. If not, it might even be a reread of The Snow Child, which was my favourite read of 2012.
So leave a comment if you wish to be in the give-away for a copy of Paul Durcan’s Christmas Day and have fun visiting all the Christmas Bloghop participants below, many of whom are also offering give-aways.