Regular readers of this blog will not need telling that I won't be getting overly sentimental about Christmas. I'll certainly not be dusting off the Charles Dickens' classic novel about the moneylender Scrooge.
Having said that, I was reminded the other day that I had, some 8 or 9 years ago, written up the tale of Scrooge & co. for a school play. I was shocked. I had completely forgotten about it; but wonder of wonders, according to my informant, it is still being performed every Christmas.
It happened that I had a class of 30 German-speaking youngsters who were learning basic English and as a volunteer teacher (a so-called native speaker) I wanted all the children to have a speaking part in the Christmas play.
I politely declined to 'do' the school's 'official' play, it was the nativity story, for I saw it had speaking parts for only a few of the children; and had the rest of them just standing around. So I wrote my own.
With Scrooge I succeeded in giving each and every child his own voice. And not only that but I exposed them to an another way, to them a new way, of thinking about Christmas. The children and their parents greatly appreciated it.
Today I took myself to the library. I came back with three books which I plan to get stuck into over the so-called festive season that is unfortunately these days a season of unbridled excess designed to keep the wheels of industry, commerce and bankers' bonuses turning.
Novel: Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
Play: Ashes to Ashes - Harold Pinter
Poems: Coney Island of the Mind - Lawrence Ferlinghetti
I'd love to know what books you plan to read or hope to find under your tree if you have one. I expect travel books and books of legend and myth, especially those about Mayan predictions for 2012 will appear on many of Santa's lists. Cookery books too, these are always popular.
Which way will poetry go? Have we moved on? I think translations are the coming thing.