Saturday, December 20, 2014

A beloved bookish Christmas memory...

Being a book maniac I have tons of book related holiday memories. There were the years, many in a row, actually, where I got the new Bloom County book for Christmas. I still have them all. Still love them. And yes, Opus the penguin is still my hero.

My mother was smart. She knew that the only thing that occupied me more than my love of all things TV was my addiction to books. So usually on Christmas Eve, once I had done her bidding (I’m kidding, I was always eager to help), she’d give me my Christmas Eve present. One present on
Christmas Eve just to whet the appetite.

To my recollection it was always a book in some form or other.

Despite how much I loved those yearly books with tales of Bill the Cat and Milo, my favorite
Christmas book-related memory is the year I was 16. I received Misery from my folks for Christmas. I was dying to read it, I devoured everything from Stephen King instantly, and this being the age before the internet existed to suck up my time and take it away from books (more often than I’d like), I practically ate his books whole.

Needless to say, the moment we were done with gifts, in those open hours between opening gifts in the morning and visiting family in the evening, I was camped out on my bed with Misery. Learning just how crazy Annie Wilkes was and how screwed poor Paul Sheldon happened to be.

Of course, I couldn’t take the book with me that night. One socializes and visits at parties. One does not read. And honestly, I did love those parties growing up. There were a ton of cousins in a wide age range and the adults were fun to be around as well. So, I willingly put my book aside until we could be reunited.

It was late when we finally returned home. I want to say ten…eleven? I made a beeline for the book. I remember it was a snowy Christmas. The ground was white, it was cold, and I’d just changed into pajamas and opened my lovely book when…the lights went out.

We’d lost power.

I wandered downstairs, clutching Misery, to find my mom lighting one of those old oil lamps and my father checking out the window to see if it was everyone or just us. It was everyone.

So, I read. Sitting at the dining room table while my parents talked and laughed around me. I read by the light of an old oil lamp while wrapped in a blanket eating Hershey kisses out of the bowl on the table. Picking at Baklava (my mother's yearly tradition) and no doubt drinking Coke by the bucket. The world was dark. The moon shining off the snow as I read and read and read.

Talk about ‘mood lighting’ from the Universe.

Eventually, the power came back on. And I believe I finished the tale of Paul and Annie before I finally slept. Hey, I didn’t have to get up early the next day—I was on Christmas break.

I have no idea why that memory is so dear to me. Maybe because living in the world I do now, I remember the power went out and no one was yelling about losing their internet connection. Or maybe it was the fact that I was huddled there reading by a soft glow on a cold winter night. Or maybe it was just that the world around me was so very peaceful and pretty as I got lost in a book.

But that Christmas, 1987, and that book and that memory is my most beloved book related holiday memory. I can close my eyes and remember it with perfect clarity. How flawless the day had been, how exciting the book was, and how very happy I was at that particular moment in time.

Now you. If you have a favorite book related memory, please share! You can post it in the comments or post it on your own blog and slap a linky-doo down in the comment section and I’ll go read it.

Happy five days (eek!) ‘til Christmas, y’all.

p.s. I may have blogged about this before. And if I apologies. I'm senile now. Like those old men who say "did I ever tell you the time..." and you say "Yes" and then they proceed to tell you anyway? Just call me Grandpaw...


  1. I don't have a sappy Christmas book story, I do have an emotionally traumatizing one. Every year for Christmas if we hadn't asked for a specific book my mom would get us one from the Newbery Medal list that was age/grade appropriate. I must have been in 3rd grade when I got a book called "The Girl in the Box." It's all about this girl who get's kidnapped and shoved into a box. She has this typewriter and the story is her in a box writing her story until she runs out of paper. The story ends in this big cliffhanger she has no more food, no water, and no more paper to write on. I don't know if I had ever read a cliffhanger before, but I remember going to my mom like the grandson in Princess Bride, "What did you get me this book for." After I read it I was afraid to leave the house, I thought someone was going to grab me and shove me in a box, and to this day I still want to know what happened to that girl, and why she was kidnapped.

  2. Oh. My. Gosh! *_* We must find a way to rectify this "Christmas memory". You poor thing. Why? Whyyyyy?

    1. I know. I still don't understand how that was a Newbery Medal winner, but I did learn the importance of telling exactly what books I wanted. So since then there have been only a few minor mishaps, and returned books, when someone went off list. ;)


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