Around Prague, new wintertime scents linger on every corner—logs burning on raging fires, sugared chestnuts roasting at street vendors’ carts, and the tangy aroma of Czech mulled wine. Adding much shorter days, frostier nights, the twinkle of lights on Christmas trees, the sounds of seasonal operas and the Nutcracker from the National Theaters, and the impending celebration of the Czech St. Mikulas Day, we know the Advent season is upon us.
With December here, I’d like to recommend a few great books from the stack (more like a towering stack) we’ve read here in our house this year. Books always make great gifts, and stocking stuffers …
Yesterday, I had the privilege of seeing the Strahov Monestary on Petrin Hill in Prague, which includes libraries with books dating back to the Ninth Century. It was a complete Wow experience—amazing to witness the works of the ages collected in such a beautiful place.
I’m currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a European bestseller. The book includes the story of a book, found in a very special library. I believe Zafon says this about libraries so poetically, I have to insert his words to share with you:
“’This is a place of mystery, Daniel, a sanctuary. Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it’ … I wandered within the winding labyrinth, breathing in the smell of old paper and dust. I let my hand brush across the avenues of exposed spines, musing over what my choice would be. Among the titles faded by age, I could make out words in familiar languages and others I couldn’t identify. I roamed through galleries filled with hundreds, thousands of volumes. After a while it occurred to me that between the covers of each of those books lay a boundless universe waiting to be discovered …”
My Shortlist of Book Recommendations: (click on title for link to Amazon)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
For Children, Fiction:
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis
The Hole in Our Gospel by Rich Stearns
The Noticer by Andy Andrews
And … (if I may) my book: The One Year Mini for Busy Women by Jennifer Lyn King
I hope you, or those on your list, enjoy one or more of these as much as we have …
For you: What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year?