Tuesday, December 3, 2013


On the twelve days of Christmas my true love gave to me
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a-Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a-Milking
7 Swans a-Swimming
6 Geese a-Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
A Partridge in a Pear Tree

I am counting down the days to Christmas! And yes, I am actually counting down The Twelve Days Of Christmas, one of my favorite Christmas carols. Since the Anglo-Saxon culture is not part of my heritage, for many years I have lived the holy season of Advent following different traditions and practices, from food and entertainment to popular icons and folklore, wondering about the origins and meaning of this cumulative song. 

With each verse built on top of the previous verses and describing an increasingly grand gift given by "my true love" on each of the twelve days of Christmas, this rhyme was first published in England in 1780 as a chant without music, to be used for a game among kids. Part of a children's book titled Mirth Without Mischief, The Twelve Days Of Christmas is believed to have French origins (Spring French Carols). It became wildly popular, with a few variations, in Scotland, Australia, United States, and Canada. 

The twelve days mentioned in the song are traditionally the twelve days starting on Christmas Day and leading up to the Epiphany, and according to The Oxford Dictionary Of Nursery Rhymes, each of them represents a food or sport per each month of the year.

While I doubt 'my true love' will shower me with any of those unlikely gifts, here is my Christmas book basket for you: notable December releases and a few Fall gems. All 'fruits of the literary season' to satisfy your craving for fiction and non-fiction.

Otto Penzler
Vintage, October 22nd 2013, 672 pages

"Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler collects sixty of his all-time favorite holiday crime stories--many of which are difficult or nearly impossible to find anywhere else. From classic Victorian tales by Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thomas Hardy, to contemporary stories by Sara Paretsky and Ed McBain, this collection touches on all aspects of the holiday season, and all types of mysteries. "

Jane Maas
Thomas Dunne Books, November 19th 2013, 192 pages

"A charming, heart-warming Christmas tale, sure to delight fans of Debbie Macomber and Richard Paul Evans, about the power of family, tradition, and love.

Kat Martin, Linda Lael Miller, Laura Florand
Zebra, December 3rd 2013, 416 pages

"There's nothing more festive than a winter romance, and in these heart-warming stories, love is a gift that can take you by surprise. . ." 

James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell
William Morrow & Co., December 10th 2013, 448 pages

"In this riveting follow-up to The Blood Gospel, the first book in their thrilling and atmospheric Order of the Sanguine series, New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell deliver a riveting tale of international adventure, intrigue, suspense, and supernatural mystery."

Dean Koontz  
Bantam, December 10th 2013, 352 pages

"In Innocence, #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever." 

Tom Clancy
Putnam Adult, December 3rd 2013, 752 pages

"The #1 New York Times-bestselling author and master of the modern day thriller returns with his All-Star team." Alas, for the last time.

Greg Baxter 
Twelve, December 3rd 2013, 208 pages

"A novel about how our relationships to others—and most importantly to ourselves—alters how we see the world, THE APARTMENT perfectly captures the peculiarity and excitement of being a stranger in a strange city."

George R.R. Martin & Gardner R. Dozois
Tor Books, December 3rd 2013

"All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities—including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones." 

Jo Baker
Knopf, October 8th 2013, 352 pages 

"Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own."  

Nicola Griffith
Farrar Straus & Giroux, November 12th 2013, 560 pages 

"A brilliant, lush, sweeping historical novel about the rise of the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages: St. Hilda of Whitby." 

Putnam Adult, December 3rd 2013, 464 pages

"Autobiography covers Morrissey’s life from his birth until the present day. Praises - Morrissey is a popstar of unusual writing talent (The New York Times)".

Alison Weir
Ballantine Books, December 3rd 2013, 608 pages

"New New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline."

Happy reading!






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