by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Christmas is only a few days away. If you’re in the Christmas spirit and you have time to read a book (You have time to read a book at Christmastime? What's your secret??), the library has a number of this year’s new holiday books you could bring home to read during this coming week.
A new nonfiction book from Oxford University Press, Christmas in the Crosshairs: Two Thousand Years of Denouncing and Defending the World’s Most Celebrated Holiday, examines whether there is or ever has been a war on Christmas. Historian Gerry Bowler specializes in the intersection of religion and popular culture. He demonstrates that throughout history, beginning with the holiday’s controversial invention during the Roman Empire, Christmas has inspired debate and conflict. Involving Puritans, Bolsheviks, Hitler, and Charles Dickens, this book can give you some historical perspective on the issue.
You can’t tell from looking at the cover, but Mercedes Lackey’s newest novel, A Scandal in Battersea, is a Christmas story. This is the twelfth book in Lackey’s Elemental Masters series about Sherlock Holmes in an alternate, magical England. John and Mary Watson, both Elemental Masters, are celebrating Christmas when they are asked to investigate the reappearance of missing women, all of whom have been driven mad by whatever happened after they disappeared.
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers is a collection of eighteen holiday stories. The crime authors include Mick Herron, Timothy Hallinan, Peter Lovesey, and Lene Kaaberbol. Expect humor, murder, and international locations from Sweden to North Korea.
For something gentler, Melody Carlson’s The Christmas Blessing may fit the bill. Carlson is a bestselling author of Christian fiction, including many Christmas novels. In The Christmas Blessing, Amelia despairs when the father of her baby is shot down in the South Pacific in 1944. Without a job or money, she must decide whether to go to his high-class parents, who don’t know about her or the baby.
Debbie Macomber is another bestselling author known for her clean and gentle novels, including popular Christmas books. Merry and Bright is her newest. Merry Knight takes care of her mother who has multiple sclerosis and her brother who has Down syndrome, when she isn’t working overtime. But her family is concerned she doesn’t have a social life and they set up an online dating profile for her. She hits it off online with someone, only to be shocked when they meet in person.
Elin Hilderbrand’s Winter Trilogy has just gotten a fourth book, Winter Solstice. (Does that make it a quartet?) The Quinn family is gathered for the first time in a long time to celebrate the holidays at the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket Island. Many of their difficulties have been resolved, but their patriarch is dying of cancer. Hilderbrand is good at writing characters; those who enjoy bittersweet family stories are likely to enjoy this farewell to the series.
Other new Christmas books for adults include How the Finch Stole Christmas by Donna Andrews, Fatal Frost by Karen MacInerney, Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne, and The Amish Christmas Candle by Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand, and Lisa Jones Baker.
Pioneerland libraries will be open on Saturday, December 23, and closed on Christmas Day, which is Monday, December 25. We will be open normal hours the rest of that week. We will be closed on Monday, January 1, for New Year’s Day. Happy holidays from the Litchfield Library staff!