Delighted and excited to announce that @BookElfLeeds has a brand new reading challenge!
Jess had decided to seek out the Christmas Spirit in contemporary fiction. And like all good reading challenges; there’s a strict criteria to be followed.
- The book must have Christmas in the title.
- Some one has lost the Christmas Spirit.
- A Christmas Miracle will therefore have to occur.
- Some one will then regain the Christmas Spirit.
So please, make yourself comfy and enjoy the 4th review!
Who has lost the Christmas Spirit?
Former child-star Eddie Haven.
In what form does the Christmas Miracle appear?
Frumpy town librarian Maureen-glasses, bun, twin set and all.
You can probably figure out the issue I had with this book. I am allowing myself a three sentence rant and then I’m done, but I highly recommend “The Librarian Stereotype; Deconstructing Perceptions & Presentations of Information Work”, edited by Pagowsky and Rigby, and which I reviewed for the Journal of Radical Librarianship last year, on why the stereotypical image of frumpy librarian is problematically sexist and racist. Link HERE
The main issue I have with librarian-as frump is that it allows a the professionalization of a femocentric career to be derailed by the assumption that value within woman hood can only be given through approval of male gaze. Maureen is valued by her community for her caring service, her family for her kind and thoughtful presence, and is clearly valued by her professional network in that she is an invited speaker at a “library meeting in Long Island” (that we never hear about other than in passing but given the time of year and location is presumably is a ALA Chapter meeting and therefore a Bloody Big Deal), and got the position of manager of a public library right out of library school, which only happens to the very very lucky, or the very very good. And yet, obviously, she has to realise that she is worthy of a man’s love in order to be happy and can only do this by putting in contacts and letting down her hair. Gah.
Right, that rant aside, I was properly sucked in to this book. Part of a longer series set in the community of Willow Lake, and including a sub-plot surrounding a young single mother making good which presumably runs throughout the series, this was a truly charming read.
The town library is in danger of closing, as public funds just aren’t available to keep it running and the Traditional Christmas Evil Capitalist won’t give the building reduced rent. At the same time, Eddie Haven is fulfilling his community service and helping with the Town Pagent…but is Eddie’s bad boy persona and apparent hatred of Christmas masking a Deeper Hurt?
Well yes, obviously it is. Really mushy in places, this gave me a couple of fuzzies, which were only slightly dampened by the ridiculous portrayal of librarianship.
On a more serious note, libraries up and down the country are being decimated by cuts, with staff being made redundant to be replaced by volunteers. There are a multitude of campaigns you can support, but the biggest difference would be to demand a professional library service and use libraries that employ people, make sure you sign your whole family up, and get to know what services your libraries provide-I recently passed my theory test through using the free practice tests available through Kirklees libraries for example.
Listen to @BookElfLeeds and I introduce the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge – HERE
Or just click here!
Review 01 – Nine Lives of Christmas
Review 02 – The Christmas Secret
Review 03 – Last Christmas