One of my favourite memories at Christmastime has always been curling up underneath the tree, fairy lights twinkling and cup of tea in hand, with a good book.
I am a self-confessed bookworm, and despite the blistering forty degree heat that encapsulates Australia during December I have always thoroughly enjoyed a good winters tale at this time of year. Stories with snow, Ice Queens, sleighs, bells, and cities softly snoring as a sprinkling of snow and mischief descends. The following books are some of my favourite Christmas/Winter-themed reads. They are perfect to enjoy throughout December or to wrap up and place under the tree with care, for your favourite bookworm who will soon be there.
1. Terry Pratchett's Hogfather:
This might be one of my all-time favourite books. If one were to recreate A Christmas Carol, use modernity as the character of 'Scrooge', add in a world that is partial to constantly and inconsistently recreating itself, and a group of half-mad wizards who cannot for the life of them figure out why strange imaginary creatures such as the Verucca Gnome and Sock-Eater are appearing out of thin air, this is probably not the story one would write - it's better, because Terry Pratchett wrote it and Death's Granddaughter needs to save Christmas.
2. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S Lewis:
Ice-Queens, talking beavers, Wolf guards and Aslan the lion. One Christmas as a child I received an omnibus edition of the entire Chronicles of Narnia and curled up on the couch under the tree reading all about the strange world C.S Lewis (J.R.R Tolkien's best friend!) created. I love that this particular story starts during World War Two. I also love that the children enter Narnia through a wardrobe door, and the ways doors can appear anywhere in the fantasy genre.
3. Harry Potter (the entire thing. All of it. Everything) J.K Rowling:
A great hall filled with twelve trees, Mrs Weasley's homemade mince pies and hand-knitted sweaters, visits from Dobby the House Elf and a contingent of friendly ghosts: The December chapters at Hogwarts were always my favourite parts of each book.
4. Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch:
I started reading this book/series a few years ago and loved it. It's often described as, 'if Harry Potter were to grow up and join the Fuzz' and describes the adventures of PC Peter Grant, and his attempts, as part of the Metropolitan Police Force's wizarding unit (yup) to catch a magical serial killer known as the Faceless Man while chasing him down through snowy London town.
5. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens:
A Christmas story that focuses on poor misers, making amends for past wrongs and the season being one of giving? Gimme, gimme. When Dickens wrote 'A Christmas Carol' it was to relaunch his waning career. He told the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the need to examine our traditions at Christmas-time, and ensure we are keeping a balance regarding the Holiday.