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Book Talk: Bringing back the holiday spirit!


Not ready to face the winter blahs? Still “need a little Christmas” to tide you over ‘till the arrival of spring? Here are a few recommended reads to help extend the spirit of the Yuletide season and return you to a jolly holiday mood.
No, Mary Kay Andrews’ novel, “The Santa Suit” (St. Martin’s Press) isn’t a primer on instituting a class action against Jolly Old Saint Nick. When recently-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is looking for a major change in her life. Restoring the farmhouse to its former glory is a labor of love, but Ivy underestimated how much labor.
Ivy discovers a note in the pocket of a decades old Santa suit that the previous owners left behind, written to Santa by a little girl who has but one Christmas wish, for her father to return home from the war. The discovery sets Ivy off on a quest that connects her to the community at a time when all she wants is to be left alone. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible; a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
Next up is “A Literary Christmas: An Anthology” (British Library Publishing), a seasonal potpourri of poems, short stories, and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language.
Like Charles Dickens’s ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they touch on times old and new; from John Donne’s Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Benjamin Zephaniah’s “Talking Turkeys,” from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to a wry P.G. Wodehouse story about Christmas on a diet. And entertain the young ones with seasonal tales by Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Grahame, Oscar Wilde and many more.

If “A Literary Christmas” leaves you wanting more, turn to “American Christmas Stories” (Library of America), a compendium of diverse, ingenious, and uniquely American Christmas stories. Christmas took on its modern meaning in America over the last 150 years, and Library of America presents a curated collection of American stories about Christmas, literary gems that showcase how the holiday became one of the signature aspects of our culture.
From ghost stories to the genres of crime, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, humor, and horror, stories of Christmas morning, gifts, wise men, nativities, family, commercialism, and dinners from New York to Texas to outer space, “A Literary Christmas” traces the evolution of Christmas in America, as well as the surprising ways in which it has remained the same.
And if this trio of selections fails to fill you with good cheer, consider perusing the pages of “Holiday Cocktails: Over 100 Simple Cocktails to Celebrate the Season” (Cider Mill Press). Whether you’re expecting company or simply looking for a libation to enjoy, you’ll find a drink that’s effortless to prepare. Selections range from decadent classics like Egg Nog to joyful sips like the Christmas Martini.
Special thanks to the Doylestown Bookshop ( in Doylestown for their assistance in preparing this edition of Book Talk! Stay safe, and remember that “It’s always better with a book!”