Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Reads

I usually wait to closer to the holiday to publish my lists of must watch holiday movies etc. However, since this is a list of books (also short stories) and books are harder to find the time for than a movie. I decided to impart some of my favorite December books to you now.

In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash
by Jean Sheppard

This is not strictly speaking a Christmas book, but it is the birthplace of a universally loved Christmas tradition. The Christmas Story movie about Ralphie Parker's wanton lust for a Red Ryder BB gun are based on the short story found in this book. The classic film is narrated by the author Jean Sheppard who also has a cameo as the guy in line to see Santa who tells Ralph to go the back of the line.

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

One Christmas while Maggie and I were long distance I read this book to her each night at bed time. I am terrible on the phone and not much of a communicator in general, so as she went to sleep each night I would reach a section from the most classic of all Christmas tales. Of the many adaptations of this story none have ever captured the language Charles Dickens crafted. The section describing "the chain that each of us forge..that began with a single link of gold of silver" is one of my favorite passages in all of literature.

A Newberry Christmas
by Various Authors

This is a collection of 14 short stories that feature authors who have won the Newberry Medal. E.L. Knongsburg's "Eliot Miles Does Not Wish You a Merry Christmas Because..." is one of the funniest stories I have ever read. "A Full House" by Madeline L'Engle is one of those stories that at any other time of year would seem dipped in sugar to the point vomit, but during December we all seem to be immune from Artistic Diabetes.

The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry

A classic Christmas tale that has been retold in film and television countless times. It seems to be the story that every English teacher uses to explain irony, but don't let that detour you from reading it.

Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins
by Eric A. Kimmel

Maggie gave me this book one year for Hanukkah and it has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. If you're looking for a way to incorporate other cultural and religious beliefs and traditions into your own this book is an excellent way to do so. Also, good story telling knows no cultural boundary.

Hanukkah Haiku
by Harriet Zeifert

An excellent collection of poetry about Hanukkah done in Haiku form. It teaches about the holiday in short powerful verses that both children and adults can enjoy

A Family Tradition
by Caroline Kennedy

This is an anthology compiled by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President Kennedy, consisting of stories, poems and songs that her family made part of their Christmas tradition. Caroline's mother Jackie worked for several years as a book editor and Caroline discusses her mother strong belief on reading in the home and making favorite stories a part of holiday tradition. A Family Tradition is filled with anecdotes and wonderful treasures that America's first family have used for years. It also contains some wonderful stories that have become part of my family tradition.


Maiken said...

How I love that you read (Dickens) to Maggie each night!

Of course now all the cool people (you & Maggie and Britta & Tom) are celebrating Hanukkah. I celebrate St. Lucia day so another festival of light would fit nicely. Plus, I love adding traditions.

Stephanie said...

Um, the idea of you reading freaking Dickens to Maggie warms some very dark cold place in my heart.