06 December 2004

Very Merry Reading

I picked these all up on vacation:

It's a Wonderful Christmas, Susan Waggoner. I saw this before we left; for some reason, I found it in Borders Books in the Collectables area. It's not a collecting book with prices, however: it's a delightfully nostalgic look at Christmas in the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s by use of text with reproductions of old advertisements, toy and Christmas ornament boxes, magazine and book illustrations, wrapping paper and cards, etc. Woolworth Christmas ornament boxes, ads for vintage toys, and wartime memorabilia bring back a world that was, while flawed, appears closer and warmer than today.

A Quiet Knowing Christmas, Ruth Bell Graham (Billy Graham's wife). A find from the bargain shelf at Barnes & Noble!--poems, anecdotes, small simple craft projects and recipes in a quietly beautiful book. Christian oriented but not "pushy." It's a firelight and cocoa read-by-the-Christmas-tree type book.

All Aboard for Christmas, Christopher Jennison. Surrounded by wonderful baubles in the Breakers' (Newport, RI) gift shop, I was mesmerized instead by this wonderful hardback volume concerning trains. I like watching cool model railroad setups and I am moderately interested in the romantic side of train travel, but I'm nowhere near a "train buff." However, unless you really consider trains boring, this volume is absorbing from beginning to end as a history of a vanished way of life. There are chapters on train travel on or for the holidays, toy train setups at home and in busines, and railroad workers during the holidays. The text is accompanied by fabulous train advertisements, toy train memorabilia, and paintings of trains in the snow. Indescribably beautiful and nostalgic.

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