The Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins. I really, really enjoyed this at first. I didn’t appreciate the lack of sources, and I noticed he embellished his stories and spoke too firmly of things that maybe weren’t so factually provable, but I didn’t really pause until I came to the story of the 12 Days of Christmas. That song included an extremely far-fetched story about it being code for Catholic doctrines (besides the connection stretch the doctrines weren’t specifically Catholic, and Latin rather than English was significant in Catholic teaching at that period). I looked it up, its essentially an urban myth. So of course that gives me pause about the whole book. I know there is a more updated edition, perhaps this story (and other issues if any) are corrected in that. I still want to read his other books about Christmas, I just think I might be doing my own confirmation research
15 books by Diana Wynne Jones. Howl’s Moving Castle at 4 stars is the highest rating I’ve given her books, I think. She has a lot of boring ones plus I find a lot of problematic elements in her works (dwimmer magic in Crestomanci gave me a twinge for example with the dead animals). I did put one book down (The Time of the the Ghost) which I definitely advise against (twisted, violent, occult, savage, old pagan), although I skimmed it (I need to stop that, not exactly consistent). My standards slipped I think both with morality and with quality because I wanted easy, and I wanted to finish my challenge.
- The Lives of Christopher Chant. Not my favorite Crestomanci; his and Millie’s backstory is fun though.
- The Islands of Chaldea. Her family should have left this unfinished.
- Dark Lord of Derkholm. Fun enough, tons of moral issues though.
- Year of the Griffin. Fun enough.
- Witch Week. Fun enough.
- A Tale Of Time City. Interesting.
- The Magicians of Caprona. Cute.
- Witch’s Business. Cute.
- The Ogre Downstairs. Funny a bit heartwarming at the end.
- Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories. Some good, some disturbing, some boring.
- Enchanted Glass. Interesting, totally repulsive “twist” at the end though, to me.
- The Homeward Bounders. I gave it a three, but drawing a blank about my impressions and the details.
- The Game. Boring.
- Earwig and the Witch. Bleh.
- Wild Robert. Funny.
Illustrated Books (oh, I know, scoff)
Dorothy Kunhardt’s Kitty’s New Doll. A Golden book childhood favorite my sister received for Christmas. This one has the original illustrations (far more charming that the current ones, I need to get my own copy, why do publishers do this, if you want new, keep the old and have both!).
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee. A childhood favorite that I received for Christmas.
Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson, illustrated by Adrienne Adams. Received for Christmas; I grew up on the movie, but I don’t think I’d read the original story.
Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter. Part of my Christmas season reading.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Knife (Spell Hunter), Rebel (Wayfarer), Arrow, Swift, and Nomad by R.J. Anderson. I love these painfully, just read them.