This may shock you, but I am not a Christmas person. For a season where you are supposed to be nice to people, folks become horrible, short tempered and mean spirited. And that’s just in shopping centres.
Here in Australia, we get bombarded with images of a northern Christmas. Representations of snow are everywhere, which is feels like terrible teasing when it is the middle of summer (it’s supposed to be 39 C here today) and more importantly IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY SNOW HERE.
I thought I would put together some prompts for the pagan celebration of the solstices – Litha for the summer solstice for my southern hemisphere friends, and Yule for the northern hemisphere folks.You can do either the Litha or Yule prompt, or both.
Litha is the celebration of the summer solstice – the longest day and the shortest night.
The Fae: The Fae like to come out and play with humans at this time of year. Share a book about the Fairy folk.
It’s 1825 in Ireland, and Nora’s husband has just died. She has only recently lost her daughter and is now left along with the care of her 4 year old grandson. Nance arrives on the scene – she can see that the child is a changeling, and she is convinced that she can scare the imposter away and reclaim the real child from the Good People. This book is incredibly well written and deeply disturbing.
Fire: Bonfires are traditional at this time of year. Share a book that lit a fire under you.
Bad Blood, the examination of a fraudulent medical start up in Silicon Valley, shows what can happen and how people can be hurt when people who are supposed to be ethically upstanding and ensure the right things are done by public are too scared to to their job and have no means of being able to report bad behaviour. As someone who works in quality assurance, this really drove home to me how important my job is.
Nature: Getting back to nature is very important during this season. Share a book celebrating nature.
I would love for everyone to read Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. This shows how Australian Aboriginal people worked this difficult land for thousands of years before the white folks invaded and ruined everything.
Song and Dance: What is a fire without some singing and dancing? A book that celebrates song and/or dance.
I love Will Grayson, Will Grayson so much. Tiny Cooper, amateur musical writer and director extraordinaire is the heart and soul of this book. I would highly recommend listening to this one on audio.
Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice. The shortest day and longest night.
Darkness: Share a book about darkness; be it lack of light or the darkness of human nature.
More Hannah Kent! A book about the last woman executed in Iceland, I think it could be argued that this book is about both lack of light and the darkness of human nature. Agnes has been sentenced to death, and is put in the care of a local family as she waits for her sentence to be carried out. The writing is exquisite.
Greenery: Bringing greenery inside is important at this time of year. Share a book with a plant name in the title or a strong plant theme.
I read Purple Hibiscus earlier this year and was disturbed by this incredibly upsetting and detailed portrait of domestic violence. A very important book, but tread carefully.
Candles: Bringing light to the darkness is also important. Share a book that brought you light and cheer.
Look at that cover – how could a book with that gorgeous cover be anything but wonderful. Ross Gay’s poetry is beautifully written and wonderfully heart warming.
Feasting: Food is always an important part of any celebration. Share a book celebrating food.
I’m not much of a cook, but this book made me want to get a sourdough starter and bake a lot of bread. Or at least eat a lot of bread. I can almost smell it now.
If you decide to do this tag, please let me know – I’d love to see the books that you choose for each prompt.