30 December 2013

A Whole Greater Than the Parts

Happy Christmas, compiled by William Kean Seymour and John Smith
I gave this book a rather half-hearted review a few years ago when I borrowed it from the library, but that didn't keep me from buying a copy since it was only a dollar at the library book sale. This volume was published in England and contains an assortment of British fiction, diary and journal entries, historical excerpts, sheet music, and poetry. There are selections from Thomas Hardy, Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Grahame, Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, and more, verse from Christina Rosetti and T.S. Elliot, etc. The line drawings are by Beryl Sanders.

My chief complaint with the book is that the excerpts are abridged; poor Beatrix Potter's "Tailor of Gloucester," for example, is reduced to one page about the cat, which renders the story incomprehensible. Only "The Mountains of Papa Morelli" appears to be intact. And some of the pieces seem to have been included if they just mention Christmas, even if it actually has nothing to do with the holiday. However, it's a nice variety of pieces, perfect for reading before bedtime, and a nice spread of historical excerpts. If  you can find it at an inexpensive price, it's worthwhile for those reasons.

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