Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Reading

Now that I'm kind-of down for the rest of the holiday season, I am hoping to read some of the great Christmas books I have collected over the years. The two above are fun and separated into short bits, perfect for a moment or two during busy days. The Christmas Treasury is a collection of 50 Yuletide stories and poems. I have found some treasures in there. Some of the authors included are: Charles Dickens, O. Henry, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Van Wyck Mason, Odgen Nash, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Hans Christian Andersen and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Currently I am reading (and thoroughly enjoying) 'The Christmas Dinner' by Washington Irving. The blue book above is a collection of the stories behind the Christmas carols...who wrote them and when etc.
This little gem was in a library discard pile. It is a leather bound copy of this classic in a very Christmasy red.
My copy was published in London in the 1800's with the original hand-colored illustrations by John Leech. Dickens financed this book himself, due to conflicts with his publisher, and ordered it with lavish red binding and gilt edged leaves. He then proceeded to sell it for only 5 shillings so everyone could afford it. Mine has the gilt on three sides of the leaves, but it is mostly worn off now. My copy was published by Bradbury and Evans, Publishers, Whitebriars, London.

On the flyleaf is one of 4 of the hand colored illustrations, and the credits.
Mr. Dickens wrote the following preface:
"I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. Their faithful Friend and Servant, C.D." December, 1843

No one has wished to lay it, and it continues 150+ years later to haunt our houses quite pleasantly. Our granddaughter Kory was a very beautiful 'Ghost of Christmas Past' this week in yet another rendition of this favorite tale.

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