Letters from Father Christmas
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful colour drawing. They were from Father Christmas, telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole.
From the first note to Tolkien’s eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.
For some reason, I only found out about this book some 2 years ago when I was browsing in the bookstore. Dunno how this book slipped my radar! This year I decided to pick it up and read it becuase it just sounds so delightful (and fitting for this time of the year 🙂 )
Christmas With Anne and Other Holiday Stories
By:Lucy Maud Montgomery
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Share Anne’s delight at receiving the dress of her dreams, the joy of a young woman reunited with her long lost brother on Christmas Eve, and the surprise of a trio of sisters who inadvertently end a family feud by arriving at the wrong uncle’s house for Christmas dinner.
Featuring some well-loved characters from the Anne of Green Gables books, as well as plenty of new characters, this collection of short stories by L. M. Montgomery celebrates the joys and tribulations of Christmas and the hope of the new year.
The perfect escape during the hectic holiday season and all year round.
So this is the only Anne of Green Gables-related book that I’ve read prior to reading Anne of Green Gables (review) a few weeks ago. This book was given to me when I was 11 as part of a Secret Santa my class held that year (even then my classmates knew I was a big reader 😛 ). I decided to re-visit the book partly because I finally read the classic, and because it’s almost Christmas (could use a festive read).
This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in.
My True Love Gave to Me
Edited By: Stephanie Perkins
Format/Source: Won a copy via a giveaway contest held at Whimsical Nature
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.
Been hearing a lot about this collection in the last few weeks leading up to Christmas. Indeed it does boast a list of very familiar and popular YA authors; of the list I’ve only read stuff from Rainbow Rowell and Jenny Han. So what better way to introduce a reader to the other authors than by some holiday short stories? I won a copy from a giveaway contest recently held at Whimsical Nature.
Tales from the Perilous Realm
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Paperback; was given as a Christmas gift
Tales from the Perlious Realm is the definitive collection of J.R.R. Tolkien’s acclaimed shorter works of fantasy and adventure.
- Roverandom is a toy dog who, enchanted by a sand sorcerer, gets to explore the world and encounter strange and fabulous creatures.
- Farmer Giles of Ham is fat and unheroic, but – having unwittingly managed to scare off a short-sighted giant – is called upon to do battle when the dragon Chrysophylax comes to town.
- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil tells in verse of Tom’s many adventures with hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls.
- Smith of Wootton Major journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children.
- Leaf by Niggle recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle, who sets out to paint the perfect tree.
Illustrated throughout by renowned artist Alan Lee, who also provides an Afterword, this collection includes an introduction by Tolkien scholar and writer Tom Shippey and, as an appendix, the essay, “On Fairy-stories”, which offers a beguiling insight into the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien.
This book has been on my wishlist for so long xD Having read almost all of the major works that Tolkien wrote and on Middle Earth, this was more or less the only title remaining that I hadn’t read. I suppose I purposely left it off in a way because it was the only one left that I hadn’t read. My best friend gave it to me last Christmas and, along with the final Hobbit movie in theatres now, I figured it was time to read it xD
Today I’m going to be talking a little bit about sci-fi short stories and novellas. In recent years I’ve become quite a fan of short stories and novellas–not only because they’re shorter, but they help when you’re in the middle of a reading slump, they help provide backstory to worlds and larger stories and work as standalone adventures in the same universe, and from a writer’s perspective you learn a lot about telling a very concise and tight story. I talked a bit more about the medium in this post.
But moving along, I’ve come across some fantastic short stories and novellas in the sci-fi genre that I think are worth checking out if you’re interested. In no particular order:
- Brandon Sanderson’s Legion — I love Brandon Sanderson’s stories, period. The concept of this novella is very interesting: the ability to converse with other avatars within one person and whom you can gather skills and information from (like Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, maybe?). Like almost all of his other stories, the pacing is fast and the storytelling pretty effective. I think there’s a sequel story coming? (which makes sense because I think this story was left open-ended)
- James S.A. Corey’s short stories set in the Expanse series/universe — I love that these guys have been releasing short stories in between Expanse novels. I’ve only read two of them so far, The Butcher of Anderson Station and Gods of Risk, and I think they do a lovely job of fleshing out secondary characters that have appeared in previous novels but who are interesting in their own right. If you’re a fan of the Expanse novels, you need to check these out, they are fantastic.
- Kevin J. Anderson’s Island of a Sea of Stars — I loved Anderson’s Seven Suns series, so I was pretty excited to find out that he is writing a sequel trilogy set in the same world. This novella is actually a prequel to events in this new trilogy, and gives the readers a sense of what’s changed in the universe since the events of the last series, introducing new characters and mysteries, but also gives a glimpse of some old characters 😉 I’m looking forward to checking out the new trilogy at some point.
- Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut of Mars — I read her first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey (review) last year, but this is the first story I’ve read by her in the sci-fi genre. What’s really lovely about this story is that it’s more of character-driven story than a plot/sci-fi driven story. Very well worth checking out.
- Aliette de Bodard’s The Waiting Stars — This short story was nominated for the Hugo this past year, which was where I first heard of it. It may be short, but it does cover a lot of ideas about imperialism and culturalism, all within a story frame of space opera. Fans of the subgenre will want to check it out (it certainly let me wanting to read more from that world!).
That’s obviously just a taste, but there are plenty of excellent sci-fi short stories out there to check out. Just log on to Tor.com for instance and every few weeks there’s a short story featured there 🙂
So I turn it over to you now: What are some of your favourite sci-fi short stories and novellas you’ve read–either recently or all-time?