Thursday, December 18, 2008

December: Light

For this month's BAM Challenge I went with the "light reading" interpretation of the theme and chose Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. It is quick, seasonal, and funny. This small book is a collection of Christmas-themed short stories of widely varying themes and lengths.

My favorite was probably "SantaLand Diaries", an account of the narrator's experience working as a Christmas Elf at Macy's. "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol" was a hilarious review of Christmas pageants at area elementary schools. And of course, there is the ever touching and seasonal "Dinah, the Christmas Whore."

Sedaris's humor is frequently rather dark. Luckily, I like dark humor and if you don't, you may find some of the stories a bit distasteful. "Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" is a Christmas letter detailing family dysfunction that culminates in a baby being put through a laundry cycle. Similarly dark, in "Christmas Means Giving" two families compete to be the most generous at the holidays just to one-up each other, and take it to a rather grotesque extreme.

I think pretty much every story in this collection is a warning against taking the holidays too seriously, which is sage advice. Definitely a departure from traditional holiday fare.


This is the last Book A Month Challenge of the year, and I managed to post a review every month. Hooray! I don't know if it's being continued next year, but I think one of my goals for 2009 will to have fewer "assigned" books. There are so many books I really want to read that it seems a shame to read anything else. But stay tuned for more book reviews - I'm a bit behind in posting about some of the great books I've read recently!

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