Book Report: Christmas Stories for the Heart compiled by Alice Gray (1997)

Book coverAs you might know, gentle reader, I like to read a Christmas novel around Christmas. And although I pick them up here and there over the year at book sales and garage sales in anticipation of Christmas to come, once they’re in the disorganized to-read shelves of Nogglestead, they’re gone for years.

I mean, I looked. I have a number of Lloyd Douglas (author of Home for Christmas) novels in Collier’s editions, but they’re not Christmas novels. I have another Thomas Kinkade/Katherine Spencer Cape Light novel, but unlike A Christmas Promise, it’s not Christmas-themed. And so on.

Well, I found this book which is not a novel. Instead, it’s a collection of poems, short stories, devotions, and personal essays recounting events that seem custom-made for personal essays about Christmas. That last, of course, is out-of-step with the Christmas spirit, but I’m a bit out-of-step myself. I have not gone gonzo on the gift-giving. Of course, it has not really snowed–a dusting, almost an imagining, which resulted in measurable snowfall at all points of the compass but not here.

So: It’s a collection of things you might have found, well, not in Ideals magazine, but collected in many mid-century general interest magazines (one of the pieces previously appeared in Reader’s Digest) along with a couple more modern things like Max Lucado.

The short fiction is probably the best; many of the essays are also probably short fiction, and they’re okay. The poetry is akin to grandmother poetry, although the perpetrators might not have been grandmother aged at the time of the writing. The devotional-kind of bits are a bit rote.

Actually, in looking at the end matter which points out where the items originally appeared, the best of the lot comes from the mid-century, and much of the lesser bits come from the 1990s. Which, gentle reader, was 25 years ago–about the age now that the “old” stuff in the book comes from. And it’s sad to see the decline to that point.

At any rate, it’s 156 pages with the end matter. Most of the stories are only a couple of pages, shorter than the things in the contemporaneous Dark Love, and I enjoyed it more.

Although I wish I had found a proper Christmas novel.

I have, however, found an Ideals magazine compendium of Christmas things. The kittens knocked down an old Christmas Ideals magazine from the vintage magazine shelf in the Sauder printer stand serving as the end table in the den, but it looks like I have not mentioned it on this blog. Perhaps I have not read it–I have not read many of the vintage science fiction magazines I got–somewhere, perhaps in my estate sales days. So perhaps I have not read that one wall the way through.

Will I read the compendium I have found recently before Christmas? Before the end of the year? That’s the cliffhanger in this book report. I will say I have not yet started it, although I might carry it to the chairside book accumulation point if I can find it again.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories