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Looking for a Really Marvelous Book on this Sixth Day of Christmas?

Then consider Joseph Bottum’s marvelous new volume, The Christmas Plains.  

After growing up in South Dakota, Jody left for the East Coast, where, first as student, then as a writer and editor, he married, became a father–and realized that something was wrong. From the first chapter:

About a decade ago, Lorena and I began to worry that we were letting too much of our time slip away–living homeless, in a peculiar kind of way:  chasing from East Coast city to East Coast city, one new job after another, and providing for our daughter no clear geography in which she could center herself as she grew.  Giving her no sense of place like the one I was given as a child…out on those western plains.  We needed a foothold, we decided, and what we found, at last, was a sprawling old Victorian monstrosity going cheap in the town of Hot Springs, down in the southern Black Hills.

We intended the house mostly as a playground, I think–a summer retreat that would serve the secondary purpose of allowing us to teach Faith western things:  how to ride a horse, how to study the wildlife, how to climb the crumbling granite rocks.  How to cut a [Christmas] tree, for that matter.  But the ridiculous Black Hills house proved a help when, last fall, the eastern world in which I was working felt as thug it was blowing up around me.  Lorena and I decided, in a sudden rush, that we needed to escape the craziness for a while.  We said good-bye to our friends in Washington, DC, sublet our tiny apartment in New York City, and fled out, for the winter, to that summer place in the hills–hoping, I think, just to get a little breathing room.  A little distance from which to think about it all.

Unknown.jpgWith that return to South Dakota begins a memoir of Christmas on the plains.  Love of family and faith.  An intense sense of place.  Gorgeous prose–really, Jody writes as beautifully as any writer working today.  And all in a book brief enough to enjoy in a weekend.

  1. Pseudodionysius

    I’ve been getting updates on my Facebook NewsFeed and have been astonished at the sales figures and ranks on Amazon. Looks like the credit card will take another hit shortly.

  2. ConservativeFred

    Peter,

    I look forward to your review.  My concern is that a lot of these books take on the tone of a sociologist visiting a lost tribe, “I cannot believe the quaintness of the locals?”

    For an example of this type of writing, read “The Sweet Season.”  A sportswriter moves to Minnesota from California with his family, and follows the St. Johns University football team.  Some good, some really bad, but mostly condescending.

    I have hope, but I will wait to purchase.

  3. Peter Robinson
    C
    ConservativeFred: Peter,

    I look forward to your review.  My concern is that a lot of these books take on the tone of a sociologist visiting a lost tribe, “I cannot believe the quaintness of the locals?”

    For an example of this type of writing, read “The Sweet Season.”  A sportswriter moves to Minnesota from California with his family, and follows the St. Johns University football team.  Some good, some really bad, but mostly condescending.

    I have hope, but I will wait to purchase. · 8 hours ago

    Jody’s not like that at all, Fred.  But don’t take my word for it.  Go to Amazon and look the book over–or download the free sample onto the Kindle reader.

    Oh, and Happy New Year.

  4. ConservativeFred

    Peter,

    Thank you for the recommendation and Happy New Year.