December 20, 2002

Christmas Stories

The season wouldn't be what it is for me without various Christmas stories. We all know Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas, of course, O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, and Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I have a few other favorites: Cleveland Amory's The Cat Who Came for Christmas and its sequels, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (yeah, yeah, it's not strictly a Christmas book, but there's a wonderful scene when Francie and her brother acquire a tree for the holidays), Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (that's the book, not the movie or tv show...I love the Karloff cartoon version, too), and Tom Mula's hilarious Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol (that's the audio cassette, which is performed by the author).

There is one more that I like a lot, and it's from an author you wouldn't expect. Every Christmas Eve the CBC broadcasts a reading of a Frederick Forsyth novella called The Shepherd. Here's the blurb: "Forced to crash land because of a faulty electrical system, a young RAF pilot finds salvation on a chilly Christmas Eve." Don't believe the latter half of the sentence; it is no such thing. What it is is a ghost story. The CBC had a legendary storyteller named Alan Maitland who died a year or two ago, and his reading of this story became a tradition on the flagship evening program As It Happens. Fortunately for me, my local public radio station carries the show every day, and so I get to hear it each year. If you're in tuning distance of Canada, try to find Radio One that day; it's worth the listen. Failing that, you can find it on tape at Books on Tape or at Amazon. You won't be sorry.

Posted by Linkmeister at December 20, 2002 02:36 PM