December 2014 favorites


December 2014

The December stories organized solely by my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Jeeves And The Yule-Tide Spirit’ by P.G. Wodehouse
  2. ‘The H Street Sledding Record’ by Ron Carlson
  3. ‘A Christmas Memory’ by Truman Capote
  4. ‘A Christmas Tree And A Wedding’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  5. ‘The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle’ by Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. ‘Christmas At Red Butte’ by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  7. ‘Christmas Eve’ by Maeve Brennan
  8. ‘One Christmas Eve’ by Langston Hughes
  9. ‘The Gift Of The Magi’ by O. Henry
  10. ‘Powder’ by Tobias Wolff
  11. ‘The Ledge’ by Lawrence Sargent Hall
  12. ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’ by Dylan Thomas
  13. ‘The Adventure Of The Christmas Pudding’ by Agatha Christie
  14. ‘The Christmas Wreck’ by Frank Stockton
  15. ‘At Christmas Time’ by Anton Chekhov
  16. ‘Christmas Day In The Morning’ by Pearl S. Buck
  17. ‘The Little Match Girl’ by Hans Christian Andersen
  18. ‘Markheim’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
  19. ‘Christmas Is A Sad Season For The Poor’ by John Cheever
  20. ‘The Burglar’s Christmas’ by Willa Cather
  21. ‘Papa Panov’s Special Christmas’ by Leo Tolstoy
  22. ‘The Beggar Boy At Christ’s Christmas Tree’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  23. ‘A New Year’s Gift’ by Guy de Maupassant
  24. ‘The Christmas Banquet’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  25. ‘The Best Christmas Ever’ by James Patrick Kelly
  26. ‘Christmas Eve’ by Guy de Maupassant

‘The Best Christmas Ever’ by James Patrick Kelly

Kelly, James Patrick 2004

The Best Christmas Ever by James Patrick Kelly, 2004

The magic trick:

Filling the story with pop-culture references

Ugh. This story exhausted me. Perhaps it was the mood I brought to the reading. Perhaps I just don’t like science fiction. Or maybe – placing the blame on Mr. Kelly and away from me – there is something a little bit too smug about this story. I’m not sure.

Anyway, I did appreciate the way that the standard American pop culture Christmas experience was subverted. So that’s kind of fun, right? The story is a goldmine of 20th century pop-culture references – from fast food to movies. And that’s quite a trick on Kelly’s part.

(Sorry, I just can’t work up a whole ton of enthusiasm for this one. I am surprised it earned so much attention and attention ((it was nominated for a 2005 Hugo Award)).)

The selection:

“Cookies, Bertie,” said Aunty Em. “Fresh from the oven, oven fresh.” She set the plate down on the end table next to the Waterford lead crystal vase filled with silk daffodils.

“Not hungry,” he said. On the mint-condition 34-inch Sony Hi-Scan television Ronald McDonald was dancing with some kids.

Aunty Em stepped in front of the screen, blocking his view. “Have you decided what you want for Christmas, dear?”

“It isn’t Christmas.” He waved her away from the set, but she didn’t budge. He did succeed in disturbing the cat, which stood, arched its back, and then dropped to the floor.

“No, of course it isn’t.” She laughed. “Christmas isn’t until next week.”