As tempted as I am to make you all read some ponderous history tome like Dreadnought, I think I'll go with Terry Pratchett's latest, Dodger. Currently only $3 for the Kindle edition at Amazon! This is one of Pratchett's stand-alone novels, though if you squint a bit you could probably imagine it happening in Discworld anyway. Set in early Victorian London, our hero Dodger, a street urchin and "tosher" or sewer rat, saves a young lady's life and finds he has a knack if not actually a desire for being a hero. Lots of period flavor here, sort of "Dickens light" (and in fact Mr. Dickens makes an appearance himself.) A nice light repast for the December holiday season, I think.