A review by Leard R. Daughety
Among the many things that make the holidays so unique are the stories of Christmas. It might be about someone's first Christmas, perhaps a holiday spent away from home or a Christmas that was shared with that very special relative or friend. Some stories are real, some are imagined. Over time these stories become part of the fabric that we wrap ourselves in, that make us feel warm with the memories of the past. Some stories are so special that they are written down and eventually take the form of books. These books themselves are then closely identified by us with the Christmas season.
This past week, I decided to visit a few of the places in Dublin that sell books to see which titles are being promoted. I even looked through the Barnes & Noble catalog that had just arrived in my mail. At one large retailer, I found the emphasis to be on the "Polar Express" which was first published in 1985. Along with the original edition, an early reader version is available as well as an interactive shadow casting bedtime story. Both of these books are from the Polar Express movie that has just been released. For adults there is "The Delaney Christmas Carol" written by three contemporary fiction writers- Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen and Fayrene Preston. According to the book jacket, it's "filled with passion, drama, and a touch of magic"(sounds a little like the first Christmas story) and is in print for the first time in ten years. "How Santa Really Works" has an eye catching cover and promises to share some top secret information that the CIA and John Ashcroft missed about "how Santa knows EXACTLY when you fall asleep, if he REALLY has time to see who's been naughty or nice, and most importantly-what DO the naughty kids actually end up with".
Recently grocery store book racks have caught my attention because of the large discount they offer on a few of their books. "Santa Kid" was written by best selling novelist James Patterson while in the family playroom with his young son Jack and is illustrated by award winning artist Michael Garland.
I found two books on the celebration of Kwanzaa. "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" is described as a "holiday step book" and includes four recipes that are simple and easy to prepare. Garen Thomas, the author of "Santa's Kwanzaa" has as her goal, the wish to have each reader discover and enjoy two holidays at the same time.
The Ideals Publishing Company this year has captured some of the classic tales of Christmas with "The Ideals Treasury of Best Loved Christmas Stories". Within its covers you will find stories from Laura Ingalls Wilder, Margaret Sangster, John Gould, along with many more. If you want to buy just one of the new seasonal books, this volume should receive strong consideration.
All of these new books and several more have been purchased for the patrons of the Laurens County Library. They will be grouped together in a Christmas story book display in the Library and will be available after Thanksgiving. Come by the Library and check these books out. You might save yourself some money and hopefully you will receive the reward from the text that the author intended.
Which ever book you choose, maybe even an old favorite that you already own, take a few minutes with your children at night or at family gatherings and read to them. Reading stories can sometimes act as a comforting bridge to new guests and can also provide a gentle, peaceful moment at family settings that may have become strained for whatever reason. My children both live in Columbus and since my son is a senior in high school this will be (according to him) his last Christmas at home. He has made me promise that again this year, I will sacrifice a little comfort and join him and his sister on Christmas morning. As always, before the presents are open, I will read the story of the first Christmas from the gospel of St. Luke. Peace on earth and good will to all of you who have blessed Frenasee and I this year.