Over on Booklist Online, Bill Ott takes a nontraditional approach to both the “Great Reads” feature and the idea of holiday entertainment. Yes, he has his own Christmas traditions (eating Steak Diane, drinking Santa’s scotch) and always appreciates a chance to watch Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn. But, Bill writes:
On the other hand, there is something about enforced good cheer—you will be merry at Christmas, we’re told in a thousand ways, even if you’re Jewish (that’s what movies and Chinese food are for)—that sets my contrarian self on high alert. There is a near Orwellian aspect to all this mandatory merriment, and my reaction to it is to search out some noir as an antidote to all those jingling bells. Christmas noir is almost an oxymoron, of course, but over the years, I’ve put together a list of books and movies—noirish if not noir—that allow me to go dark in a season of light.
Yes, it’s “Great Reads: Christmas Noir“! Bill kicks things off with a movie, of all things (Robert Siodmak’s downbeat Christmas Holiday, one song of which is embedded above) before getting down to a list of books that will help take the edge off all that cloying goodwill-to-all-men stuff.