When I was little, my favourite part of the week was Saturday morning. Every Saturday, my mother would walk me down to the town library and let me pick as many books as I could carry. I was not unlike to Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I couldn’t get enough of what those wonderful words had to teach me.
As a writer, I am clearly biased when it comes to books. I have spent my life in awe of, crying at, laughing with, and sometimes even screaming at the pages of, books. Books are not just pieces of paper covered in the ink symbols we call the written word, but they are the door to limitless possibilities.
Books can take a shy, introverted child and turn them into a communicative member of society. They teach us something at every stage of our lives: how to read, how to do sums, how to split the atom, how to love, even. Should that knowledge – that soulful education only a good book can give – not be free to all?
There was a time that only those who could pay for literature were the only ones who got to cherish its pages, its knowledge. But libraries changed all of that. They gave everyone the opportunity to learn from, and enjoy books. Are we reverting to the prior? Are we about to steal all that information from the grasps of a child whose parents can’t afford books?
Do we really want those figures to get any higher? I sure as hell don’t. We are the homeland of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, JK Rowling, Charles Dickens, Stephen Fry and hundreds of incredibly influential authors. Who knows how many more beautiful words could be written and read with the help of public libraries.
Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
I don’t usually reach for festive books – let alone romance novels – but the combination of a cute cover and John Green’s name caught me initially. And then I started reading, and the book reeled me in all by itself.
As the book came out in 2008 – I am very late to the game with this one – I doubt you need an in-depth summary of the plot, so I’ll give you a brief one.
Let It Snow follows the story of Gracetown, a small American town in the middle of nowhere. It’s Christmas Eve and love – and the worse snowstorm for fifty years – is in the air.
The book is written in three parts, one part per author, and they take us on a journey through Gracetown as the snow takes its toll on cars, cheerleaders, and relationships.
All the characters in the novel are individual and brilliant in their own right, but my favourite pair had to be Stuart and Jubilee. They are the beautiful result of kindness from a stranger and a derailed train (a train whose passengers make quite the effect on Christmas Eve).
Stuart is a heartbroken, sweet, brotherly guy who opens his home to Jubilee on Christmas Eve when she bravely ventures away from the train in search of warmth. His over-bearing but harmless, Jewish mother is determined to get the two of them together and makes it her personal mission in life to do so.
Jubilee has found herself alone on Christmas Eve after her parents are charmingly arrested in a brawl at a Flobie House sale, and she gets sent to California to spend the holidays with her grandparents.
But then, as her day gets worse and she ends up in a Waffle House full of cheerleaders in an attempt to escape the broken-down train, a handsome stranger invites her home for Christmas.
I could spend hours talking about this book – and I probably will to my S.O (feel sorry for him!), but you would probably get bored of hearing about it, so I’ll make my point.
Let It Snow is a charming, witty, off-beat Christmas romance novel, that shows that every story has another side, that every loner, weirdo and shy teen deserves love, and that Christmas Eve is the kind of day where magic can happen – even in a snowstorm.