JACK CARR BOOK CLUB
December 2020 Holiday Reading List
The December 2020 installment from my monthly reading is connected to the holidays and includes some very personal selections. My hope is that you can enjoy the holiday season with loved ones and that you take some time to escape into the pages of an enthralling read. Be sure to check out my stand-alone book specific Instagram page @JackCarrBookClub to explore all my reading list selections in one location.
December Reading List:
- The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell
- Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
- Wooden by Coach John Wooden
- A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
- The Hundred-Year Christmas by David Morrell
BLADES, BOOKS, AND BULLETS!
The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell
It will come as no surprise to those who follow me on social channels, have listened or watched any of my interviews or read the acknowledgments to my novels that, through his writing, David Morrell inspired me at a very early age to follow my two complementary callings into the professions of writing and arms. David Morrell is the “Master of the High-Action Thriller” and the “Father of the Modern Action Novel” and someone I am now honored and humbled to call a friend. The Spy Who Came for Christmas is a thriller that includes a story-within-a-story and is ultimately not about tactics and weaponry, but about sacrifice and redemption.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
If you think Agatha Christie is only an author for your grandparent’s generation, you would be sorely mistaken. She is the best-selling novelist of all time, her books selling over a billion copies in English and another billion copies in translation. Yes, that is “billion” with a “B.” She is the author of 66 mystery novels, 14 collections of short stories and penned over thirty plays to include The Mousetrap, which holds the record as the longest running play in history. It debuted in 1952 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London, only coming to a close in March 2020 due to COVID-19. She introduced Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920. He would appear in thirty-three of her stories and competes with Sherlock Holmes as the most well-known sleuth of all time. If you have yet to pick up a novel by the “Queen of Crime,” this holiday season is the perfect opportunity with this “Christmas-themed” murder mystery.
Wooden by Coach John Wooden
The holidays are the time perfect time to pass along books that have had a significant impact on you to friends and family. Coach John Wooden’s Little Blue Book of Wisdom titled, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, is a thoughtful and personal gift for parents, children, teachers, coaches, mentors, and students – it is John Wooden’s gift to all of us. If you have not read it, do so. Then gift it to those you care about with a personalized inscription. Reading a lesson each evening with your children will be valuable for the entire family. Reading is one thing; the next step is to internalize and then apply John Wooden’s message and example. Those who have are all the better for it. One of the most enduring lessons of the book, of which there are many, is this piece of advice from John Wooden’s father. It reads: “Make each day your masterpiece.”
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
First published in 1956, this autobiographical short story is a profoundly moving account of love, tenderness, friendship, loneliness and loss by one of the most fascinating authors of the 20th century. When I first read A Christmas Memory in the 6th grade, I’d already decided I would one day earn my living as a writer. Truman Capote’s holiday masterpiece made a lasting impression for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here. Rather than describe what to me is an intensely personal read, I’ll let you experience it for yourself. Spend some time with it alone, away from computers, phones and other digital distractions to see life through the eyes of seven-year-old “Buddy” over one final Christmas with his friend. . .
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Though not a “Christmas Book” specifically, this Newberry Honor book is a thoughtful gift to pass along to younger readers. I have gifted the twentieth anniversary hardcover edition pictured in this blog to each of my children and paired it with a special hatchet. After they opened it, we shared the experience of reading one chapter each night. They then learned to split logs and make kindling for fires with their hatchets. My hope was to connect reading to the outdoors, self-reliance and individual responsibility.
The Hundred-Year Christmas by David Morrell
When David Morrell went to sleep on Christmas Eve in 1981, he had no idea that when he woke up Christmas morning, he would remember a dream that is now The Hundred-Year Christmas. Originally published in 1983, this deeply emotional fable tells the story of Father Christmas and Father Time. This twentieth anniversary edition was a gift from David last Christmas. I read it alone by the fire and then again aloud to my children the following evening. I will observe that same tradition this year and every year for the remainder of my life.