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Day 12- Favourite Christmas book (late)

This is a day late because I have been at a (very enjoyable and stimulating) conference for the past two days. It actually took place only three blocks away from my house, which makes it probably the closest-to-home conference I will ever attend for the entirety of my academic career. But I still couldn't post to LJ yesterday evening anyway, as I snuck out of the conference to go to the cinema with the lovely ms_siobhan instead - which I'll post about separately, of course.

Anyway, my favourite Christmas book is easily Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. I must have read it first soon after it was published (in 1996, when I was 20), as I simply bought and read each new Discworld book as it came out in those days. In fact, I often asked for the latest one as a Christmas present from my little sister, so it seems very likely that she first gave this book to me that Christmas. Certainly, I have made a point of re-reading it around that time of year several times since I acquired it.

What I like most about it is Pratchett's explorations of the Hogfather as the result of a long process of cultural evolution - all safely-contained jollity in the present day, but with his roots in much earlier primeval festivals centred around brutal rituals of sacrifice. I already knew before I read the book that Christmas had not always been celebrated in the form I was familiar with, and had basic elements in common with mid-winter festivals from other times and cultures (not least from watching The Box of Delights as a child). But I think Hogfather gave me a much more powerful emotive understanding of Christmas as an evolving, multivalent festival, and a clearer sense of what options that opened up for me as someone who didn't believe in the teachings of Christianity, but still loved celebrating festivals and felt a sense of magic and significance around Christmas in particular. It remains a great way for me to tap into that feeling when I need to.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
I've often wished I'd picked up this Advent thing. Might have to do this one at least.
Dec. 14th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
I don't think anyone is going to mind if you do the odd entries which catch your fancy without feeling obliged to do the entire thing. I'd certainly like to hear about your favourite Christmas reading material, anyway.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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