Last Week In Books: I Don’t Want To Sell You Stuff For Christmas


You may have noticed things have been a bit sparse around here lately. I haven’t posted on the blog since November, and while Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have been ticking along steadily, to be honest, I haven’t been posting with my usual joie de vivre.

There’s a couple of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I simply find the internet at Christmas exhausting.

I know I seem like a bit of a Grinch, but it seems like as soon as mid-November hits, every presence on the web is trying to sell you something, convince you of an ideology, or otherwise promote their thing. Every bookstore wants you to take advantage of their free shipping, every e-mail has a Christmas shopping hook and every influencer is sponsored by something red and green and sparkly and acquirable for the low, low price of something ending with 99. Even people who aren’t overtly trying to sell you something don’t hesitate to remind you that the holidays are a special time and you should think about giving to charity A or think about believing in ideology B and so on and so forth.

It’s a lot, and I just don’t like it. I don’t want to participate in it. I get a bit in my head about certain things anyway, and part of my extreme distaste this year is because this is my first year back in the USA for Christmas in over a decade. I forgot how full-on and (frankly) fake American Christmas can be. The reverse culture shock plus the relentless Christmas promotional free-for-all are just entirely overwhelming.

Since I haven’t been able to figure out how to navigate the internet without inadvertently adding to the beg-a-thon, I’m just kind of opting out, for the most part. I’ll talk about my yearly read of A Christmas Carol and a few other things, but I’d rather just pop back up full force and feeling it in January to brighten the book talk room when we all have the post-holiday blues.

So I’m here, but kind of underwater.

With all that said, let’s get into some bookish news from the last few weeks.

  • Anne Rice passed away. I’m not even sure what to say–she’s been such a presence in the world of books for such a long time. She was 80 years old, and the tributes and memoriams are pouring in, rightfully. [CNN]
  • Book banning controversies are still plaguing much of the USA. I honestly am having a hard time wrapping my head around this, and many other things that seem to have become acceptable in post-Trump America. Without getting too deeply into my own thoughts right now, I’d like to share this roundup of authors sharing their thoughts on this situation. [ABC News, NCAC]
  • Amazon Prime’s series adaptation of The Wheel Of Time is well and truly underway. My feelings are that the show is very pretty to look at, and the diversity makes more sense than that of any fantasy series I’ve ever seen on film before, but the show itself bears little resemblance to the books. I feel like I’m watching a high budget extended fan fic adaptation. Still, I plan to keep watching. Will you? [Amazon Prime]
  • I lived in Manchester for some years, and I really loved the way that diversity was often brought into the arts and entertainment scene there. The city government has recently started an initiative called See Myself In Books, which promotes diverse literature in schools and libraries. The most interesting thing about the program, for me, is that the preliminary research showed that white children felt just as underrepresented as BAME children in books. It just goes to show that diversity is natural and that even the status quo doesn’t serve the people it claims to. [Manchester City Council]
  • Last week, the whole internet was horrified by the news that the convicted man at the center of Alice Sebold’s best-selling memoir Lucky, was in fact wrongfully convicted. This, of course, means that he was wrongfully identified by Sebold. While I’m in no way attempting to negate any of the horror of the assault she suffered, I do remember reading bits of that book in a college lit class and thinking that her description of the process of identifying her attacker sounded a bit suspect. I’m not the only one asking questions–a lot of people who read the memoir are asking why this wasn’t caught sooner? [The Cut]
  • Okay, one final news story and it’s a Christmas-y one. Read Brightly has put together a gorgeous list of children’s books celebrating all kinds of winter holidays that is well worth checking out, fellow readers. [Read Brightly]

That’s it for this week’s semi-regular roundup of diverse bookish news, folks. I hope you’re prepping well for your winter holidays and surrounding yourself with love, peace, and joy.

Also, I hope you’re not buying anything you don’t need or want. Notice I’m eschewing the usual affiliate links and end pitch for this blog post. Don’t fall for the Christmas sale hype!


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