Happy New Year, fellow book readers and reviewers!
December took quite the unexpected turn for me. I ended up leaving the snowy northeast behind for a bit and heading to the sunny southwest to help take care of a family member who had an accident and needed unexpected surgery. Between traveling, work, and the chaos of the holidays, I’ve had little time for reading and blogging. But family comes first, the holidays were wonderful, and I plan to get back on track with reading in January.
I had planned on my next post being a list of bookish gift ideas for the holiday season, but now the holidays have come and gone. I do plan to share my list of gift ideas in an upcoming post. After all, bookish gift ideas can be useful year round for birthdays, anniversaries, or even to keep on reserve for the next holiday season. But for now, I’ll be sharing my 2018 wrap-up, my December book bucket list pick, and my reading plans for 2019.
December Book Bucket List Pick: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I can’t remember a Christmas that didn’t feature some version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The first version I remember watching was the Disney version of Mickey’s A Christmas Carol, featuring Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit and Donald Duck as Ebenezer Scrooge. Over the years, I’ve seen several different versions from animated films to live action films and even abbreviated versions for TV shows. Despite knowing the story, I had never read the book that made “Bah Humbug!” such a familiar phrase and helped associate Christmastime with good will and charitable donations.
I decided to focus my 2018 reading goals on tackling books from my Book Bucket List. My pick for December was to finally read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The book is a short and easy read. I was already very familiar with the story from all of the TV and movie versions I’ve seen over the years. I knew the characters and even a good part of the dialogue.
There was, however, one very big difference that stood out to me between the book and the TV and film versions I’ve seen. The book is indeed a ghost story. Yes, of course I’ve always known that three ghosts, or spirits, come to visit Ebenezer Scrooge after the ghost of Jacob Marley has appeared to warn Scrooge about changing his ways. But in the TV and film versions that I’ve seen, the ghosts were never really scary. In the book, however, the descriptions are quite graphic and rather creepy, especially of Jacob Marley when he initially appears to Scrooge. I can easily see why this book is called a Christmas ghost story! If you enjoy the story of Scrooge and how he finds his Christmas spirit and rights his wrongs, then I suggest reading A Christmas Carol.
I also suggest watching The Man Who Invented Christmas starring Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. It’s the story of how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. It is a very interesting glimpse into Dickens’ life and the events and people who influenced one of his most famous stories.
In addition to checking several books off of my Book Bucket List, I was fortunate enough to read several other books this year. Not all of them were hits, but there were a few that stood out to me. By far, my favorite read from 2018 was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This book was life-affirming. It is one I still think about and I’m sure I will re-read in the future. Other noteworthy reads include The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani. My favorite classic from the year is a toss-up between Rebecca and Little Women. My favorite thriller/ suspense from 2018 was The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. My favorite YA reads from this year were the first two Caraval novels: Caraval and Legendary by Stephanie Garber.
2019 Reading Plans:
My main goal for 2019 is to tackle my TBR pile. It’s gotten a bit out of control between books I want to read, books others have suggested I read, and books that were given to me, that it’s become an overwhelming stack of books that I’m always “meaning to get to” or “going to read next.” Yet, on the shelves they sit. So this year, I’ll be spending less time focusing on new and upcoming reads (though there will still be some!) and more time on books that I’ve already got waiting to be read. I also plan to re-read the entire Harry Potter series as it’s been years since I’ve read them and I’ve been wanting to re-read them for some time. I also have new bookish blog ideas that I’m excited to share in upcoming posts.
I am very grateful to all of you — the Kait’s Bookshelf readers, followers, and subscribers who have read along with me over the last two years, liked, shared, and commented on my posts. I hope you will join me in 2019 as we discover new books together and continue to share our love of reading, books, and all things creative.
Happy New Year!