Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Friday, November 27, 2009

A Christmas Treasury of Yuletide Stories and Poems edited by James Charlton

This is my Red Rider BB Gun/Tickle-Me-Elmo of the book world. You have to have it.

If it doesn’t spark the Christmas Spirit, you’ll need a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

I received it last year, and it sparked a spirited response indeed. I tell you I would have mowed down Santa himself to get my hands on this book. Thankfully, Grandma saw fit to bestow this upon me, so I did not have to resort to bribery or theft .

This book holds far too much temptation for a literature-lover. It begins, appropriately, with Saint Matthew’s rendition of the Christmas story. Next, is the infamous editorial from the New York Sun in 1897 addressed to Virginia and entitled, Is There a Santa Claus?

It only gets better. It’s jam-packed with poems, excerpts, and essays from authors renowned around the world and authors anonymous. Leo Tolstoy (Where Love Is, There God is Also), Robert Frost, (Christmas Trees), F. Van Wyck Mason, (Valley Forge 24 December 1777), Lucretia P. Hale (The Peterkins’ Christmas Tree), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus), and John Milton (The Peaceful Night).

And, if that sampling wasn’t enough of a delight; I’ve been to Amazon. These out-of-print books start at 1 penny. Yeah. Keep your Wii, Game Boy, and Play Station; all I want for Christmas is A Christmas Treasury. FOR A PENNY! There’s a cultural commentary for you...

A Caution: Agatha Christie's story, The Water Bus, is a great story for adults with a Christie-type twist at the end. But it includes a reference to a girl who is sick in the hospital after procuring an abortion. That was too-much-information for my young audience, so I censored that portion as I read it aloud. (

SAFETY RATING: 3 Flags + A Caution


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