Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Small Miracles

Now that December has officially started, I feel justified in recommending a little Christmas reading.

Whatever type of Christmas story you prefer - heartwarming, funny, or bittersweet - you can probably find it in Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis.  Ms. Willis is an award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy and one of my favorites authors, and the eleven short stories in this volume demonstrate the amazing range of her talents.  Some of them celebrate Christmas traditions; others poke gentle fun at them.  (I haven't been able to watch It's a Wonderful Life with a straight face since reading Miracle.)  The book also has a wonderful introduction by the author, who discusses her love for Christmas stories and movies and what she thinks makes the best of them successful.  Surprisingly, she identifies one of the necessary ingredients as irony, which certainly informs several of her own stories.  But let Ms. Willis speak for herself:

"Here they are - an assortment of stories about church choirs and Christmas presents and pod people from outer space, about wishes that come true in ways you don't expect and wishes that don't come true and wishes you didn't know you had, about stars and shepherds, wise men and Santa Claus, mistletoe and It's a Wonderful Life and Christmas cards on recycled paper.  There's even a murder.  And a story about Christmas Yet to Come."

To misquote Forrest Gump, Miracle and Other Christmas Stories is like a box of chocolates, and the items with nuts in the center are my favorites.


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