Dickens of course. Next.
You could read one of his many Christmas stories but I will advise against it. Why? Because Christmas is busy, time is short and you don’t need one more thing that is easily consumed, digested and forgotten in your life right now. You need a sustained narrative, something that you will be reading for the next three months. Something that you can crawl into at night, under the covers and with a cup of tea. Oh, who are we kidding? While you guzzle red wine directly from the bottle. Dickens is a writer for our times. The lives of his characters are messy and befuddling, they are bad with money and have horrible relatives – just like you.
Seriously. Do yourself a favor and pick a long book to read for the winter. You could do Melville which I could wax poetically about for hours but if you have an aversion to reading homoerotic chapters about men squashing their arms into buckets of sperm or find hundreds of pages of Life with a capital L at sea to be not your cup-of-grog then we will have to save that for another time. You will be converted eventually, I promise. Russian writers also do well for winter. Ayurvedic reading. Pick cold weather authors for cold weather. But they must be long, Chekhov won’t do here if you have to go Russian then go Dostoevsky or Tolstoy.
Let me back track for a second. Why a long book you ask? You have presents to wrap, emails to read, hams to baste, ballets to watch, friends to visit, pounds to lose – I could go on but I will spare you – your life is one big cluster*^%# of shit to do right now. And now someone has the audacity to tell you to read Charles Dickens. Yes. Yes, I do. Your life will never get any easier. To quote some random Navy SEAL I heard on TV one day it’s always going to suck. That boy was wise beyond his years. And just to unnecessarily bring Buddhism into this post we must learn to accept our lives as they are and not as we wish them to be. Commit yourself to the now. Pick up a big ass book and read it. A page at a time. Just keep doing that and eventually you will have finished a behemoth of Western Literature (say that out loud…West-tern Lit-ah-rah-chuuur) and what better way to bring in the New Year?