Did you ever write a letter to Santa? Did you receive an answer?
I know today many letters sent to post offices all over the world addressed to Santa Claus, North Pole are answered by volunteers who bring joy to children’s lives. I never received a personal letter but I knew he received them because at least some of the requested items were bound to be under the Christmas Tree. But I could never work out why Santa got it into his head that I wanted undies and socks!
These days my letter to Santa is a little less self-serving than in the past. I really do want a brilliant future for the young children in our families, health and happiness for their parents and of course the same for my own generation. And, in common with beauty queen contestants everywhere, world peace is always up there.
But lest you think me totally altruistic, I admit that discreetly hidden around the house, in other words, pinned to the fridge door, and in my Dear Santa letter, are the titles of the books I would not object to finding under my Christmas Tree.
At the top of this year’s list for me is Becoming, Michelle Obama’s autobiography. Mrs Obama impressed me not because she was FLOTUS, but because she is educated, articulate and a fierce advocate for education. I am looking forward to hearing about her life in her own words.
About as removed from Becoming as you can get is Heads you Win by Jeffrey Archer. There is little this author has written that I didn’t enjoy and in one of my favourite genres, short stories, he is a master. His new novel is about a boy forced to flee Russia allowing a toss of a coin to decide his future. Something I love about Archer’s books is the hugely anticipated but rarely foreseen twist that seems to always come at the end.
Already sitting in my reader is The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. Kate is another Australian author whose novels are the equal of what are found anywhere, a fact confirmed by the number of countries where she is a best-selling author. Kate is a thoroughly engaging author and I’m looking forward to her latest offering. On her author’s page is the comment “Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. My parents taught me how and, from the moment I discovered that wonderful other worlds lived within the black marks on white pages, I was hooked.” So many readers will relate to these words.
One of the surprise reads of the last few years for me was The Rosie Project, I loved it! Now Graeme Simsion and his equally talented wife, Annie Buist, have teamed up to write Two Steps Forward which the blurb says is “smart and funny, insightful and romantic … [and]reveals that the most important journeys we make aren’t measured in miles, but in the strength, wisdom, and love found along the way.” Having heard both authors speak at various times, I’m pretty sure this isn’t oversold.
I am not a cook, I love a fancy show-off dinner for six, but I’m not one of those women who thoroughly enjoys the challenge of putting nourishing, interesting food on the table each and every day for their families. Yet a glance at the shelves in my kitchen could lead to the myth that I’m quite the gourmet. Not so, I’m sorry. I just love cookbooks and am adding to my collection with Jamie Cooks Italy, by Jamie Oliver.
Of course, no Christmas would be complete without rereading for the umpteenth time, Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, the most reprinted editorial in any newspaper in the English language. That and the version Miracle on 34th Street starring Richard Attenborough and a ridiculously young Natalie Wood are Christmas staples in my home.
For the first time in many years I’m not working over Christmas, so I doubt this is enough reading for the month of January. It wouldn’t be if during the year I had read everything I purchased. But there are many hidden gems in the Tsundoku hiding in my e-readers and on my shelves.