Do You Remember That First Book?

I love books. I love how they feel and smell. I enjoy holding a book in my hands and flipping pages with my fingers. I love knowing that a book I checked out from the local library was shared by another.


As a child I never imagined that there would be the invention of a handheld device that would make reading a current magazine article possible, let alone paying for a book to be downloaded onto an electronic reader. But then along came the e-reader and Sony, Android, Nook and Kindle.

Last year I purchased the Amazon Kindle for my husband for Christmas. I thought it would be a phase. But I was wrong. Kindle goes everywhere he does including into the bathroom.

For twelve months he has cajoled and begged me to spend some time with Kindle. I resisted until last night. It took a brilliant little short story by Dr. Joseph Bottum, essayist, poet, and religious scholar to tempt me. And engage me he did with “Dakota Christmas” that my husband was able to download for me for under a dollar.

Book reviewer Wendy Smith wrote this of “Dakota Christmas”

A memoir of childhood Christmases on the South Dakota plains. Joseph Bottum’s “Dakota Christmas” is an instant Christmas classic. In this beautifully written account of the mad joys and wild emotions of Christmas for children, Bottum captures the universal spirit of the season even while he recounts his memories with a sharp particularity that brings them alive for readers. “Her hair was the same thin shade of gray  as the weather-beaten pickets of the fence around her frozen garden,” he writes of one chance Christmas encounter. “She had a way with horses, and she was alone on Christmas Eve. There is little in my life I regret as much as that I would not stay for just one cookie, just one cup of tea.”                   

While I enjoyed the short story, nothing can replace a book that you can curl up with next to the fire.


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