Posted by: Natalie | December 24, 2010

Holiday Choices

Being away from home for the Christmas holidays means I have to pre-select my reading materials. I am hoping that tomorrow morning when I awake to find Santa has been (assuming I am not on the naughty list this year), that he will have delivered to me a whole new selection of reads to choose from. But I cannot count on this, I cannot expect to find pretty new books to dazzle and delight. No, like any good traveller when the weather is treacherous and the distance long, I must prepare. So I have selected two books that could not be further apart on the genre list, just to cover my bases without bringing my entire to-read-library!

Firstly, Emma by Jane Austen. Why not?! I absolutely adore the ITV adaptation of Emma staring a young Kate Beckinsale, I also have a guilty secret in that I am a huge fan of Alicia Silverstone’s 90’s variation, Clueless. Yet I have still to read it. I think Austen is a perfect Christmas choice mainly because her wit and sensibilities are ideal for a family christmas. There is something warm and welcoming about her stories, fun and frivolous as she mocks the well-to-do and celebrates all the wondrous intricacies of each flawed personality. It is like being home, wrapped and warm with a cup of tea with my family surrounding me in all its boisterous colour and fascination. Perfect for being in such a place. Plus its a gorgeous hardback and everyone should have a hardback to read at Christmas. One day I will also have the read leather wing-back chair and open log fire to go with it!

Secondly, a new book, not out until next month; Rhiannon Lassiter’s Ghost of a Chance. I was lucky enough to be in her presence at the book launch of Finding Sky by Joss Stirling, and get to hear her selected chapter from the above book. Rhiannon’s editor, in her introduction, described the evil within this book as the most terrifying protagonist she has ever encountered. And for someone who edits teenage dark fiction for a living, that is saying something. I decided that due to the light-heartedness of Austen’s words, I needed something vastly different to slice through the happy glow; I needed something dark and sinister.  The following detail I have taken from

Ghost of a Chance

by Rhiannon Lassiter

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 6 January 2011
Number of pages: 384
Publisher’s price: £6.99


Last Chance …’You know that girl, the one in my class? The one that died. She lived here.’ Lost Chance …’You’re dead, Eva Chance. You died and nobody noticed. You died and nobody cared.’ No more Chances left …They said it was suicide, but Eva knows she was murdered. Now she inhabits a sinister spirit world along with the tortured and malevolent ghosts of her ancestral home. Solving the crime could end her existence – but if the killer isn’t found how many more will die? ‘Lassiter …is a young writer to look out for’ The Times.

Happy book!

So, while I am indulging in mince pies and mulled wine, watching my brother explode with Christmas excitement and wallowing in the festive spirit, these are the books I shall be reading. I think it is only fair that Austen has the first outing, while I reserve the dark fiction for the after Christmas slump and seasonal hangover. Yes, I believe Miss Lassiter’s book will indeed be best suited to indulging the melancholy teenager within me which sulks each time Christmas day is done.

I hope Santa brings you all the books you desire and all the fairytales that come to life at this time of year. Have a very merry Christmas one and all.



  1. Hey Mrs, Clueless need not be a guilty pleasure! It’s one of my favourite films and I can tell you as a revered scholar of film (erm, I have a degree in film studies) that it is a very witty and thoughtful modern update of Emma. It’s a good film, far better than other more run of the mill teen films. Be proud!

    I’m at home in NI but away from my bookshelves so I had to do the same thing. My holiday reading is mostly non-fiction – Family Britain by David Kynaston, chosen because I enjoyed Austerity Britain so much and also it’s a big read and I’m here for two weeks! My mum has been saving a biography of Jackie Kennedy for me since September so I feel sort of duty bound to read that but I think I will find it interesting. She was an important female figure in the 60s, and having watched all of Mad Men recently I’m sure I’ll find all of the historical detail interesting. Also, having watched the first two episodes of Any Human Heart on 4OD a few days ago, I picked up the paperback in Tesco last night and am well stuck into it now. I’m too snobby to read TV tie-ins normally, but I’m in the snowy wilderness of County Tyrone and there is no-one to judge me.

    Happy Christmas my lovely! xx

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