Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Christmas Train – David Baldacci

Every Christmas for the past five years I have read The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. I love this story, it never disappoints and at 260 pages it is a quick read.

Tom Langdon is a retired, disillusioned war correspondent and is now back in the US writing articles for domestic magazines and covering teen beauty pageants. After a “misunderstanding” at airport security he is forced to travel from Washington DC to Los Angeles by train this Christmas. Unable to escape this situation he decides to undertake his father’s dying wish and finish a transcontinental railroad story started, but not completed, by his distant relative, Mark Twain! Thus begins a journey not only from coast to coast but also into Tom Langdon’s heart as he is unexpectedly reunited with his past on the train.

This is an extraordinary portrait of life for people working and travelling on long distance trains. As it is coming up to Christmas when this story starts the festive atmosphere is unmistakable. David Baldacci is masterful at drawing the characters and describing how their close proximity can lead to some very interesting encounters. It is a funny, poignant and dramatic tale, all at the same time. I just love the ending which, when I read it for the first time, was so unexpected.

First published in 2002 this story stands the test of time and is a classic Christmas tale. If you want something with a great feel good factor then The Christmas Train is a must for you.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Short Stories from Carole Matthews, Nita Wick and Stacey Joy Netzel

This year I decided to read some short stories during the run up to Christmas because I rarely get time to sit for long at this time of year and if I am really into a story, having to put the book down is really frustrating for me.

I started with Carole Matthews trilogy of short stories which she made available for free on any e-reader. Winter Warmers contains three short stories.
All I Want for Christmas is You is about two friends working in an office and about to have to endure the office Christmas party for another year without a date. Carole does a good job with the dialogue and some of it is laugh out loud funny.
Cold Turkey is about a woman who is dating a married man who lets her down once again on Christmas Day by not turning up for dinner as he said he would. It is a warm story in the end.
About Gardening is a story about a couple who have been married for ten years and have kind of lost the spark in their relationship. It is the shortest of the three stories but even so it was interesting to listen to the wife relate her relationship to her garden.

All three stories have a Christmassy feel to them and of course a fairly happy ending. I found them light hearted and reading these little tales of love and romance put me in the mood for more things Christmas. If you get a chance to download Winter Warmers it will be worthwhile as the stories did not disappoint and whilst not as fleshed out as Carole’s usual novels, were very entertaining.

You can still download this book for free at or search on Little Brown website

The Christmas Angel by Nita Wick is a short story about a child who thinks she has spotted a Christmas Angel whilst out looking for a Christmas tree. Although it is really short, it is a lovely little story and made me smile. It definitely has a feel good factor and is worth the time it took to read. I wish it had been longer. If you want to feel the love, make sure you look for this story.

Mistletoe Mischief is one of three books in Stacey Joy Netzel’s Mistletoe series. It is a story about two single parents who find themselves together during their daughters’ field trip to the zoo. Although this book is set in July, the summer camp trip to the zoo is called Christmas in July complete with Santa in full beard, usual hat and tee-shirt and shorts! (Well, it is Wisconsin in summer!) This is the longest of the stories I read and possibly my favourite along with Carole Matthews All I Want for Christmas is You.

Finding short stories to read for Christmas was definitely a successful experiment and one I will carry on with until the New Year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

May you be filled with Loving Kindness

I don't usually comment on things other than books or related topics on this blog but after the terribly tragic events in the Connecticut school yesterday I want to take a little detour today.

Please share this thought if you feel so moved to give a little healing back into the world and when all seems dark around, never lose hope.

May you be filled with Loving Kindness,
May you be well,
May you be peaceful and at ease,
May you be happy,
May you be free from suffering.