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Christmas Books

Christ­mas can mean many things to many peo­ple. For my part, I great­ly enjoy Christ­mas, in par­tic­u­lar the Christ­mas books I love. I have writ­ten many times here about A Christ­mas Car­ol, by Charles Dick­ens, which I read (as I am now reread­ing) every Christ­mas. It remains an impor­tant book in my life. 

But there are oth­er books I love. 

Just how A Child’s Christ­mas in Wales by Dylan Thomas was writ­ten and record­ed is an extreme­ly com­pli­cat­ed sto­ry in itself. If you are inter­est­ed, Wikipedia has an account which I assume—though I don’t know it for myself—is cor­rect if some­what baf­fling and hard to fol­low. This said, the sto­ry itself, as it exists today, is won­der­ful­ly easy to fol­low. I find it utter­ly charm­ing (a word I don’t use very often), full of humor, pathos, and won­der­ful lan­guage as befits a very great poet. If you have nev­er read or heard it you are in for a treat. It also bears return­ing to many a time. 

And speak­ing of return­ing, there is Chap­ter Five from The Wind In the Wil­lows by Ken­neth Gra­ham. The Chap­ter is titled “Dulce Domum,” Latin for Sweet­ly at Home. In it, Rat­ty and Mole are head­ing for their river­bank home on a cold, win­tery Christ­mas eve (or close to it) when Mole redis­cov­ers (by ani­mal instinct!) his old deep home, which brings on many a remem­brance. Rat­ty urges them to go to it and when they do the two crea­tures expe­ri­ence a mea­ger but touch­ing home­com­ing that is indeed sweet. The writ­ing is so fine that even though it is sen­ti­men­tal it’s won­der­ful­ly real as to the rich emo­tions it conveys. 

Though I hes­i­tate to men­tion it amidst this leg­endary list, I once attempt­ed a Christ­mas book of my own. The Christ­mas Rat which inspired to be a true Christ­mas sto­ry is creepy and mys­te­ri­ous as intend­ed for (self-pro­claimed) cyn­i­cal mid­dle school­ers. School Library Jour­nal, in a starred review, wrote: “For read­ers who want a dif­fer­ent kind of hol­i­day (or any­time) nov­el, fast-paced and mys­ti­fy­ing, with juicy moral dilem­mas under­pin­ning the unique plot, this is a sure­fire selection.”

Per­haps read­ers of this blog have oth­er Christ­mas tales to sug­gest. Please do share. 

For this par­tic­u­lar moment, how­ev­er, I’ll return to A Christ­mas Car­ol and end as that sto­ry so famous­ly ends: “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, Everyone.” 

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