A Maine nor’easter calls for a warm fire, a mug of hot chocolate and, most important, a good book. Maine winters lend themselves to outer and inner comfort. And when the local forecaster predicts another snowstorm, I am ready!

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to have my book insurance on hand. Last year I received “Still Life with Bread Crumbs” by Anna Quindlen. This year, I’m thinking it will be Ken Follett’s “Edge of Eternity,” or perhaps “Lila,” by Marilynne Robinson. Usually I frequent the Wells Library, but in case I’ve finished my books, I have to be prepared for when the storm strikes.

Books and Christmas have walked hand in hand in my life ever since I was a small child. While learning to read I fell in love with the book “Ten-Minute Tales” by Enid Blyton. As our teacher read these magical tales to us, I lost myself in a world of fairies, wizards and princesses. For this was 1942 and we were in the midst of a fierce war. Liverpool, a strategic port in England, was being bombed night after night and amid the blackened ruins of homes, the wailing of air-raid sirens and having to wear my hated gas mask, I found the written word of make-believe a wonderful escape.

Despite my pleas to Father Christmas, though, there was no book that year. Mum explained that because of wartime shortages, no books were being printed for Father Christmas to deliver. I knew all about food shortages and ration books, so I accepted it. The following Christmas, I was hoping that somehow my favorite book might make it into Father Christmas’ sack, but again, I sighed with disappointment.

Nevertheless, as Christmas 1944 drew near and the bombing raids eased, my hope once more took wing. Christmas morning, my deepest desire was realized. On the breakfast table sat my dreamed-about book. My heart leaped with joy.

The first thing I did was write on the fly cover, “Joyce Bibby, age 7.” Later, at my grandparents’ house, I settled down on the couch to read, laying it aside only to hear King George VI’s Christmas speech, then eagerly returned to my book.

I still have that “Ten-Minute Tales,” yellowed with fragile pages, but still very precious. However, it is now time to decide upon my book for this Christmas. I’ve decided on “Edge of Eternity.” Having read the two previous books in Ken Follett’s trilogy, I want to find out what happens to the five families as they wrestle with problems closer to our own era.

Did our Charlie Lopresti just say that a major snowstorm is forecast for this next week? I say, “Let the snow fly.” In fact, this book should take me through any record snowfall that lies ahead.

— Special to the Telegram