Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Reading

Some seasonal things I read this week

A Very Russian Christmas: The Greatest Russian Holiday Stories of All Time
These are great stories, but don't expect jolly old St. Nick type cheer. Many are gloomy and tragic. In other words, they are very Russian stories.

Contents: New Year's tree / Mikhail Zoshchenko - Boys / Anton Chekhov - Christmas tree and a wedding / Fyodor Dostoevsky - At Christmastide / Anton Chekhov - Dream of the young tsar / Lev Tolstoy - Makar's dream / Vladimir Korolenko - Woman's kingdom / Anton Chekhov - Distant Christmas eve / Klaudia Lukashevich - Little boy at Christ's Christmas tree / Fyodor Dostoevsky - Christmas phantoms / Maxim Gorky - Lifeless animal / Teffi -- My last Christmas / Mikhail Zoshchenko.A Very Russian Christmas: The Greatest Russian Holiday Stories of All Time

Old Christmas From the Sketch Book of Washington Irving by Washington Irving; Illustrated by R[andolph] Caldecott
An American traveler spends Christmas at an English country estate where the Squire tries to maintain the old customs. First written around 1820, but this is the 5th edition; 1886. It has the following note: "Before the remembrance of the good old times, so fast passing, should have entirely passed away, the present artist, R. Caldecott, and engraver, James D. Cooper, planned to illustrate Washington Irving's "Old Christmas" in this manner. Their primary idea was to carry out the principle of the Sketch Book, by incorporating the designs with the text. Throughout they have worked together and con amore. With what success the public must decide. November 1875."

The illustrations are delightful.

An Old Fashioned Christmas Day by Washington Irving; Illustrated by Cecil Aldin
This is also from the Sketch Book of Washington Irving, but it only covers one day. Aldin's illustrations are in color and present a different look, but are also delightful. On Gutenberg.

I enjoyed reading both on Christmas Night after my much less elaborate holiday.  And I also sort of read....

König Nußknacker und der arme Reinhold, by Heinrich Hoffman. Another beautifully illustrated book on Project Gutenberg. I didn't really read this--that will take a lot of work as it is in German, but from what I gather it is a moralistic tale. I shall work a bit with it when I'm not as tired as I am tonight. The pictures inside are much better than the cover.


A Defective Santa Claus James Whitcomb Riley; Illustrated by  C. M. Relyea and Will Vawter
A poem in which Santa has an accident, but the adults still manage to keep his secret.

Happy New Year to All and to All a Good Night!

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