I’ve read every single book that Elin Hilderbrand has written. I adore her and I’m absolutely obsessed with Nantucket. I’ve only visited once, but I’m dying to go back. My favorite of Elin’s novels happens to be The Blue Bistro, but for the last three holiday seasons I’ve waited like a kid on Christmas Eve for each new installment of her Winter Street Inn series. These books combine my love of Christmas and the magic of Nantucket and wrap it all up in a sparkly bow. The narration for these holiday adventures, celebrations, turmoils, and tribulations is told from the perspective of multiple members of the Quinn Family. There are a lot of Quinn’s to deal with but they’re each thoughtfully constructed personalities who all seem extremely real.
We begin the series with Kelley Quinn, innkeeper extraordinaire, discovering that his wife has been having an affair with the man who plays Santa Claus at their annual Christmas Eve bash. His son Kevin is a bit of a lost soul and secretly involved with a woman who works for their family. The golden child, Patrick, has just been nabbed for insider trading — oopsie — and is hiding out in his Beacon Hill digs full of self loathing while eating caviar and avoiding frantic calls and texts from everyone. Meanwhile, daughter Ava just wants to be engaged but her boyfriend bought her an insulting Christmas gift and her boss, Scott, is looking pretty attractive under the mistletoe. In addition, if one more person asks Ava to play Jingle Bells she’s going to break something. Finally, the amazing Margaret Quinn, Kelley’s ex-wife, happens to be a combination of Dan Rather, Katie Couric, and Barbara Walters all rolled into one. She’s the voice of America and a hugely popular nightly news anchor. I just love them all.
My “pro tip” for devouring these novels at this busy time of year is to get them as audiobooks. They’d be fantastic stories to listen to while you’re trimming the tree, peeling potatoes, rolling out cookie dough — you get the picture. Most local libraries let you borrow audiobooks, or, if you don’t already have an account you should check out Audible. When I signed up eons ago they only gave you one free book to listen to, but apparently now you get two and I’m terribly jealous.
I was pretty sad when I finished what I assumed was the final book a few weeks ago, but according to Elin’s Twitter feed it sure sounds like there are going to be more Quinn Family tales in the future. Fingers crossed for a Fall 2017 Winter Street Inn Book 4!
Jamie Oliver has been the king of stunning Christmas cooking specials for years. These episodes have made me wish that he and Jules would adopt me on an annual basis. They already have 5 kids, what’s one more? So I’m pretty much bursting with visions of sugar plums after learning that he’s released a gigantic Christmas cookbook today. According to the publisher’s website, Jamie’s even designed the recipes so that they can be cooked at the same oven temperature allowing you to easily mix and match the dishes to build your own perfect Christmas meal.
Recipes that cook at the same oven temp?! What tomfoolery is this? Seriously though, why don’t more people present menus in this manner? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up with a dinner timing nightmare that involves me running from stove to toaster oven and back again. Very clever, Jamie!
I wish I’d known about this in December, but I suppose better late then never… This morning I discovered that edX offers several mini self-paced bookclubs and one of the titles they’ve created is a MOOC for Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I haven’t had a chance to browse the materials very much yet but I just love the idea and thought I’d share.
I try to read A Christmas Carol every year. Granted, lately I’ve only managed to listen to the Tim Curry narrated audiobook (which is fabulous by the way) but I feel like that counts.
Silly fact: I actually still have my copy of the book that I purchased for 4th grade literature class. I also distinctly remember that this was the novel that introduced me to the word melancholy. How fitting…especially considering that I am now thoroughly entrenched in the post-holiday grumpiness that is a grey, cold, New England winter in January. I think I’ll go read about some roast goose and snowy London to cheer myself up.
I’m a Home Alone superfan and I’m extremely excited to be seeing it again in a theater this week. If you’re a little Home Alone obsessed too then this new storybook from the always spectacular Quirk Books should be almost as awesome as actually making your family disappear on Christmas so you can run around your house like a maniac eating Crunch Taters and all the cheese pizza your little heart (I mean stomach) can stand.
I’m loving the illustrations. Would it be weird to buy two copies? One to read and one to pull apart and frame? Now there’s a thought. Anyway, one can NEVER have too much Kevin McAllister in their life, especially during the holidays.