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9 Books for a New Year’s Mood

9 Books for a New Year’s Mood
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Palina Dolia

Snow is falling outside, electric garlands sparkle on the windows, and the smell of tangerines is in the air. “Let It Snow” sounds in stores, and TV channels are preparing for reruns of “The Irony of Fate”. This can only mean one thing: New Year is almost here!

Though it barely snows nowadays, and the harsh everyday life tries to crush you at the end of the year; besides, even tangerines are not as tasty as in childhood. It would be nice to regain some of the real holiday mood! Cover yourself with warm blankets and pour ginger tea into holiday mugs: the National Library has prepared nine books that will cheer you up for the New Year. The list contains everything – from fairy tales to popular science and almost none of the familiar classics. Let's not leave anyone sad!

рождественский дед1.png "Father Christmas Letters," John R.R. Tolkien

Are you surprised? As you see, Tolkien's merits go beyond the stories about hobbits and Middle-earth. He also made up excellent fairy-tales: "Father Christmas Letters" is a great example. It's a charming series of magical stories in the form of letters that Tolkien (ahem, that is, a real Father Christmas) sent to his children every Christmas.

As a result, the book came out soft, sweet and cosy, like cocoa with marshmallows. Here are stories about a clumsy white bear, who randomly broke the earth's axis, and the description of a daily life at the North Pole, and the nuances of care of the magic deer, that tend to scatter away to the snowdrifts. In this case, the older Tolkien's children grew, the more serious the themes for the fairy tales became. “Father Christmas Letters” will leave no one indifferent and they will surely help you return to the careless and properly magic childhood for a few hours.

пусть идет снег.jpg “Let it Snow: the Collection of Stories,” John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle 

A pleasant holiday fairy tale about snowfalls, love and a new-year miracle. “Let it Snow” is three stories, which interlace in the small town Greystone on Christmas Eve: snow storm takes all unawares and now even a walk to a snack bar to get the best wafers in the world can cause a chain of events, which will change many lives.

Encounters with dear strangers in strange circumstances, friendly snow races to Waffle House and revival of long forgotten feelings – these are stories that will suit any taste. And each of them is soft and tender, a little naive, but gives confidence in the fact that love exists and is always around. If you lack romance in your pre-holiday days, don't hesitate and grab “Let it Snow”. It will be sweet.

рождество мегрэ.png “A Maigret Christmas,” Georges Simenon

Do you want to find an unusual source of holiday mood? What about a detective story in the new-year decorations? Apart from “Christmas Pudding” and “Hercule Poirot's Christmas” by Agatha Christie, there is another outstanding detective story with a suitable atmosphere, which is undeservedly neglected by readers. Noble commissioner Maigret's house also became a site for a holiday investigation, and it turned out to be very entertaining.

Thus, commissioner Maigret's attempt to finally finish celebrating Christmas in the family circle is interrupted by a sudden appearance of his two neighbours, lost and frightened. A mysterious stranger in the suit of Santa Claus penetrated the room of small Colette at night and… gave her a doll. Sounds nice, isn't it? Hardly that. It's rather suspicious! The strange incident will lead the commissioner to the investigation of another crime, older and more ominous. Are you intrigued now? It's time to expose the villain until traces and Christmas pudding have cooled down!

санта хрякус.png “Hogfather,”, Terry Pratchett

Let's go back to fairy tales. This time to darker and more serious, but still hilarious and funny. Terry Pratchett created one of the most incredible magical worlds in literature - and, of course, there is a place for New Year's celebrations! Pig-magician Hogfather thrills children from the Discworld bringing them presents every year. What could go wrong? This.

Somebody comes up with the idea to pay the Assassins' Guild to kill Hogfather... and the Guild consists of honest and executive people. Hogfather disappears from the horizon, presents are not delivered, wishes are not fulfilled, children all over the world are preparing to cry their eyes out. So what's to be done? Of course, save Christmas (we mean, the Hogswatchnight, sorry) – not very skilfully, but with soul. That's how the role of the main good wizard goes to Death. He has to postpone his main duties, harness the sleigh and go do justice and good! What will come of it? "Hogfather" will come out.

рождественские рассказы.png "Christmas Stories by Russian Writers"

We advise this book not only as a great reading for the New Year mood, but also as a good present, which won't be embarrassing to put under the Christmas tree with a beautiful bow, even without packaging for covers in this whole series of books are extremely charming.

"Christmas Stories by Russian Writers" is a great collection of classic and not so classic stories about faith in good and justice, about love and honour, about all the right and bright – and, of course, about Christmas. A nice way to lift the festive mood! From all the familiar Christmas stories by Chekhov and Kuprin to the lesser known ones by Teleshov and Poselyanin – the collection will give something to surprise even the most demanding reader. Besides, we advise you to read a no less magical collection from the same series – "Christmas Stories by Foreign Writers.". It's the same Christmas magic, but not from Dickens, Hoffman and other classics of European literature.

подарок.png "The Gift," Cecelia Ahern

Let's switch from Christian motifs back to stories about love and New Year's miracles. After all, we sometimes need an easy and sweet read that gives hope for a happy tomorrow! This is the mood of "The Gift" by Cecelia Ahern.

So, the plot is simple and intriguing. Lou Saffern was born with a silver spoon: his career is at its zenith, he has a beautiful family and an exemplary big house. But that's only at first glance. In fact, everything is confusing: it turns out that if you chase professional prestige, family relationships begin to fall apart at the seams along with the rest of the ideal life. And then on Christmas, Lou by chance receives a real gift – a potion that gives him the ability to be in two places at once. Well, it's time to correct mistakes! And at the same time to understand what family romance and real happiness are.

04.12.2020_калядны стол.jpeg "The Kaliada Meal. A Non-Cookery Book," Zaraslava Kaminskaja

We have already recommended this book for #BelBookChallenge, but this list can't do without it, because "The Kaliada Meal" is soaked with festive warmth and New Year mood. Therefore, if you haven't read it yet, it's time to bridge this gap!

There are books that you want to re-read, in which you find a spiritual kinship – and this is a case. It's incredibly comfortable and warm. It's more than a cookery book. It's a story about how care and warmth, tenderness and love live (and liven up) by steam over potatoes, and hot dumpling juice, and kusaniki, and onions from father's pocket. Simple little things, delicious dishes and sincere human relations – this is a book about everything that gives us mental strength. What could be better for cold winter evenings?

история игрушки.png "The History of the Christmas Ornament," Alla Salnikova

An unexpected item in our list is a real New Year's popular science. Every year we all go through this sacred ritual – look behind the cabinets, get dusty boxes of toys, shake tinsel and dress up our wonderful Christmas tree. But what turns a simple tree into a real symbol of magic? Exactly. Christmas ornaments.

Long pink icicles, glass balls with houses, Snow Maidens in kokoshniks and without them – in the Soviet period Christmas trees were decorated in different ways. You'd be lucky to find at least three balls of the same colour. But that's what makes Christmas trees charming. How did they decorate Soviet Christmas trees? What were the decorations made of? What were the ornaments in pre-revolutionary period and what changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Don't be afraid of the serious language of the book, nor the serious topic - "The History of the Christmas Ornament" is a real study, which is read in one breath and revives in each of us the most pleasant memories from a happy childhood.

лев колдунья и платяной шкаф.png "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Clive Staples Lewis

Okay, there is still one classic story with a New Year's atmosphere on our list, we got it. But we couldn't cross out Lewis! "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is definitely the book to start on New Year's Eve, even if you've read it before.

Evil witch took under her control Narnia, and eternal winter came. Snow-covered views, talking animals, fauns, centaurs and… no Christmas? Perhaps, it's not the main problem of Narnia, but the main characters, the children of the Pevensie family, who happened to get into the magic country through the wardrobe cabinet will have to deal with it. Adventures, treacheries, battles of the good and the evil await them. While they are at it, they will casually encounter Santa Clause. Who else will give hope and a weapon to beat the aggressors? Precisely.

Wherever you search for holiday mood – detective stories, fairy tales or romances – books are always ready to present it to you. Therefore, in between cutting ingredients for new-year salads and hanging garlands on the window find a minute for reading – and your holidays will become hundredfold more magical.

And do not forget to believe in miracles.

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A Brief History of Reading in Four Acts with Interludes

3 Apr 2021

Arguably, the history of reading is the most curious and non-standard element of book culture, because the process is so natural! We wonder about the origins of book spines, bookmarks, capital letters and archetypal plots, but what about reading itself? From clay tablets to libraries, from reading aloud to speed reading: a fascinating story was under our own very noses all this time. It's time to dig into it.

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