History in the Making

Christmas Eve Reading Plans

I think that all of us have seen those Pinterest and Facebook posts about how in Iceland you exchange books on Christmas Eve and then spend the evening reading them. (Although, I’ve seen a lot of pushback from people living in Iceland on whether or not everyone actually does it…) Now, I don’t exchange books with anyone, but I always make sure that I have a book I’ve been waiting for reading to go to enjoy on Christmas Eve! Once you’ve got your wrapping done and everyone is settled in bed, there is nothing to do but read. So, these are my Christmas Eve reading contenders…

Christmas Eve Reading Plans

Although I would say I read more non-fiction than fiction throughout the year (thank you, dear history books!), I always read fiction on Christmas Eve. It is lovely to get lost in another world and story for a few hours, especially with the hectic-ness of holiday parties, cooking, shopping, wrapping, and whatever else needs to be done! This year, I’m in the mood for light and fluffy. These are my three choices below; once you’ve read about each, I am going to ask for your help in choosing which to read. There is a poll at the end, and whichever wins the poll (it will also be up on my Facebook page) will be my book of choice for Christmas Eve!

Sarah McCoy's Marilla of Green Gables

Marilla of Green Gables, Sarah McCoy 

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

If you don’t know me personally, you might not know that Lucy Maud Montgomery is one of my favourite authors and that Anne of Green Gables is one of my favourites books! (Technically my favourite is Anne of the Island, but I won’t split hairs.) Marilla is Anne’s adopted guardian, and they go on quite the emotional adventure. I wouldn’t say she is my favourite character in the series but she is intriguing. I saw earlier this year that a prequel of sorts was being released about Marilla, I was quite interested but unsure if I wanted to read a children’s book currently. However, after reading countless reviews, I don’t think it is specifically for children, and I think I am reading to dive back into the world of Green Gables again!

Matt Haig's How to Stop Time

How to Stop Time, Matt Haig 

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'”

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few weeks, you will know that I’m planning my ninth trip back to the UK. I have more than enough planned, and I am just thrilled to be back in London, my favourite city! When I saw this book in a sale a few weeks ago, I was intrigued by both London and history (and the secret society, if I’m being honest). As a historian, being stuck in the past does appeal to me haha. In any case, I think I will read this over the break but should I read this tomorrow evening?

Mhairi McFarlane's It's Not me, It's You

It’s Not Me, It’s You, Mhairi McFarlane

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong.

When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault.

When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault.

And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…

From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

Oh, chick lit. If I am ever stressed or worried or anxious or tired (or even really happy or content), I can read chick lit. It balances out the history and non-fiction that makes up the majority of my reading nicely, and there is something pleasant about not having to do mental gymnastics with every page you read sometimes. I actually grabbed three of Mhairi McFarlane’s books on sale earlier this week, which was a stroke of luck! I’ve been looking at her books for well over a year, and I took my opportunity when I found it. As someone who still really has no idea who they are or what their life will be, this really appeals to me.

So, what should I read on Christmas Eve??

Do you have any Christmas Eve reading plans of your own? 

Cheers,
The Historian
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6 thoughts on “Christmas Eve Reading Plans”

  • With regards to “Marilla” I haven’t read it yet but a customer came in and bought copies as gifts and said it was really good (she’s already read it). Also we have it in listed in the Fiction section, not the Children’s section (guessing if we did based on the description it would be YA but somehow I doubt we would’ve put it there). If you read it before I do (which is probably likely considering my stack of books by my bed, let me know how it is). Also, the “How to Stop Time” sounds really good and the one you wrote about the other day (Mrs. Queen on the train, not remember the exact title) sounds fun.
    Too many books, so little time *sigh*

    • It does look quite interesting, and I’m thinking it will be my first book of 2019! It is *really* hard to tell, because I’ve heard people say that they have seen it in kids, tween, YA, and adult sections haha. It isn’t the end of the world if isn’t adult fiction, though! And I’m thinking of reading How to Stop Time next 🙂 I’m currently maintaining my book-a-day pace, so I need something to start tonight! And Mrs. Queen Takes the Train is quite wonderful 🙂

  • Go with chick lit for Christmas Eve. The Haig book sounds really intriguing but like it could be pretty sad/depressing with that whole “don’t fall in love” schtick. Don’t need that for Christmas. And with Marilla–I love me some Anne of Green Gables, but with Victorian childhood times taking center stage, there’s bound to be some emotional parting in there somewhere. So skip that one for Christmas Eve, too. 😁 Chick lit is usually a safe and fun bet! 😁 Merry Christmas, lovely!!! xoxo

    • I did go with the chick lit haha, finished it before supper!! And then read two more pieces of chick-lit in the time since haha. I am planning on starting How to Stop Time tonight, but Marilla will be my first book 2019! 2019 is going to be a year of history for me, so starting it with historical fiction seems pretty fitting. And chick is always a fun bet! People always look down on it, but sometimes you just want an escape from furrowed brows and excessive worrying!

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