Category Archives: Listicles

Holiday Reading Preview

books

In case you’ve been hiding in a hole somewhere (if it’s a Hobbit hole, let me know, ‘cause how awesome would that be), you know that the season of tinsel and peppermint EVERYTHING is almost upon us.

Here at Semperlibris, we’re not immune to the odd bit of holiday spirit. And if it’s attached to some top-notch literature, so much the better!

So in the Yuletide spirit, here’s a rough list of some of the festive books I’ll be reading throughout December.

Krampus: The Yule Lord (Brom)

-Twisted fairy tale featuring Krampus, the Scandinavian trickster demon and, of course, Santa Claus. Lovely illustrations really help create nuanced characters.

The Englishman’s Christmas: A Social History (J.A.R. Pimlott)

-Explores the origins (from the Middle Ages onward) of many facets of a traditional English Christmas, with an emphasis on the mixing of Christian and Pagan influences.

The Reader’s Digest Book of Christmas (various)

-A holiday favourite of mine, this book presents the story of the birth of Christ, the history of Christmas, selections of Christmas literature, and examples of Christmas traditions from around the world.

Hogfather (Terry Pratchett)

-Delightfully zany ode to all things Yuletide (especially Santa Claus). This will be my first Discworld novel!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear that carton of eggnog in the fridge calling my name.

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Oh, Headmaster!

Given my raging case of Anglophilia (I’m seeing a doctor about that next week, I swear), it’s really no surprise that I should be so enamoured of the British-boarding-school genre.

Is it the complete contrast to my Canadian-public-school upbringing? Or is it the way the school-year format lends itself so well to plot development? Either way, I love immersing myself in them. The uniforms with plaid skirts and blazers probably don’t help either.

So, in no particular order, here are my top three British-boarding-school books.

The Gemma Doyle trilogy (Libba Bray)

-Set in a Victorian-era finishing school for girls, these books feature a female protagonist who constantly defies what is expected of her. She battles evil supernatural forces, tames societal dragons, and masters the full curtsy, all while wearing a corset. LOVE LOVE LOVE the ending.

The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)

-Seriously, who DIDN’T want to attend Hogwarts?! While I might have my problems with the ending to this series, I really appreciate the world-building that the author has done. Also, part of me has always wanted a magic wand and my very own pet dragon.

Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

-The only intended-for-adults book on my list, this book takes the boarding school and plants it firmly in dystopian sci-fi territory. An unsettling entry, this novel charts the lives of students well into adulthood. This is definitely one that will stay with you.

I know that none of these are typical examples of the genre, but keep in mind that I can only blog about what I’ve already read. Also, to be completely honest, it’s so much easier to find contemporary books than the classics.

In closing, it was SO HARD to do this without spoilers. YOU’RE WELCOME.

 

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