Winter Solstice Picks

As Winter descends once again, it is time for a few recommendations for the season's readings.

  • In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd: If you were wondering where the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story came from, read the hilarious stories here by WOR radio icon and short story writer, Jean Shepherd. There's a lot more than just the Christmas related tales, but this volume contains Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder nails the Cleveland Street Kid and My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award That Heralded the Birth of Pop Art, which you just may be familiar with though they are in slightly different form here than  portrayed in the film.
  • The Homecoming: A Novel About Spencer's Mountain by Earl Hamner Jr.: The book from which the 1970s television Christmas special and subsequent popular family series, The Waltons, was adapted. Hamner also wrote another novel that was made into a feature film called Spencer's Mountain with Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara.
  • Christmas Stories (Everyman's Library) Various: There are many classic tales of winter and the Christmas holiday collected here by the Everyman's Library. A beautiful volume with deckled edge. Read stories from Chekhov's Vanka to Alice Munro's The Turkey Season.
  • Christmas at The New Yorker: Stories, Poems, Humor, and Art (Modern Library) Various: A personal favorite, The Modern Library has collected many of the best writings of the bleak season previously published in the pages of The New Yorker magazine in one volume. It includes regular contributors like Calvin Trillin, Adrienne Rich, and Roger Angell; to masters like Vladimir Nabokov, John Cheever, and Richard Ford; to artists like Charles Addams, Edward Gorey and Roz Chast.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, Books 1-4 (A Game of Thrones / A Feast for Crows / A Storm of Swords / Clash of Kings) by George R.R. Martin: If you have never read any of Martin's books please start now. Even if you are not particularly fond of fantasy, Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series will entertain you over the long winter months. Here is a nice set of the first four books, there is a fifth called A Dance with Dragons, and a sixth and a seventh to follow. Given, these tales are not about the holiday, but rather capture the sense of the season of Winter. Winter is read on.