I was fifty this year and, in planning for my extravaganza of a party, I compiled lots of lists, many of them of fifty things. One was a random list of fifty favourite books. Now that’s a selection that is fluid in the extreme, changing from hour to hour. However this one exists so I’ve decided to use it as the basis for my December posts. I’ve split the list into two (older and newer), paired up the titles randomly and written something about them. It’s my version of an Advent calendar so come back here each day in December up until, and including, Christmas Day.

But, before that gets underway, let me recommend to you the book I read as an Advent calendar every year. The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder is the story of a journey in time and space. It begins and ends in modern Oslo but it travels back two thousand years to Bethlehem. It’s written in twenty four chapters and it will make you ponder many things.

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