Part two of our Christmas book Q&A is a chat with Rose about making Christmas candy and The Night Before Christmas.
What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?
Predictably, given they are my favourite childhood books, the Christmases depicted in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. There is a gorgeous bit in The Little House in the Big Woods when the sisters make Christmas candy from molasses, drizzling shapes in pans of snow to freeze.
One morning Ma boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa bought in two pans of clean white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest were saved for Christmas Day.
Do you have any Christmas book traditions?
We have read The Night Before Christmas to Theo on Christmas Eve for the past 3 years so I guess we will keep doing that!
What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?
Well, if you are asking, the new Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered, please! 😉
Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?
I’d feel terribly disloyal if I said anyone other than Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa but for an entirely unique experience, I’d certainly accept an invite to dine with the Mortmains (I Capture the Castle)
Which book would you give as a Christmas present?
I’ve just bought my brother the new Michael Ondaatje, Warlight, but on the proviso that he lends it to me straight after he’s read it!
Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?
Perhaps controversially (and why I will never be a Booker judge!) but I’m just not getting on with Milkman. But I absolutely loved the new Markus Zuzak YA novel, Bridge of Clay. It is amazing and beautiful and heart wrenching. But a word of warning if you do read it, find a nice private place for the ending; read this on the bus and people might think you are having some kind of breakdown.