One occupational hazard of being a writer is reading books that you hate in order to learn what another writer is doing well. There are people who don't like Stephen King (HERETICS!), but he is such a good writer that reading his books is highly recommended for any budding author. So what do you do? Read a little to learn a lot.
Get a 'recommended book', open it at random and read two chapters from that point. It's something you can do with any book and is what historians do when researching their subject matter.
If you want to know how different authors start their books, read the first chapters and if you want to know how they end them, read the last chapters. For descriptions of events and people or for dialogue, open the book at random. If you want to discover how they plot a book, well, you'll just have to read the whole thing, but skipping any descriptive paragraphs along the way.
As a Meerkat would say, 'simples'.
On my library shelves I have a lot of books that I haven't read or only partly read for this very reason, mostly bought from charity shops or second-hand bookshops. It is my anti-library, full of wonderful authors whose writing I don't like, awful authors whose writing leaves me cold and is a wonderful resource. It's also a fabulous excuse for hoarding books.
How's that for a Christmas present? An excuse to keep every book you've bought to build your own anti-library.
On the subject of the festive season, I'm not the most christmassy of people, so it does leave me a little cold. I love the good humour of people and the general merriment, but the gift giving and cards...BAH HUMBUG. (My apologies, dear reader, if you've already spent a fortune on a gift for me and have posted it)
To that end, here's one of my favourite Christmas songs, a lovely little ditty by Weird Al Yankovic called 'Christmas at Ground Zero'.