Friday, 22 November 2013

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

Note: This review is of the 20th anniversary edition **and contains spoilers.** I normally don't include spoilers but since it's really more of a short story than a full length book it's hard to review it without the spoilers. I am counting it for my Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge because it deals with bereavement.

I didn't mind that the book was "overly sentimental." Most inspirational Christmas stories are. I was inspired by the story. I was inspired to hug and squeeze my babies and be grateful that they are alive and well.

The death of a child, especially a very young child, just isn't uplifting. I liked the story and was moved by it, but I was left feeling more sad than joyful. It's a Christmas book, so shouldn't it make me feel joyful?

What I did like about the book was that it included a sort of Christmas magic. Often I find books that are Christian are afraid to include anything that is extraordinary for fear if it seems magical it is evil. This book had a good balance of the secular idea of Christmas (such as magic and Santa Claus) and the Christian idea of Christmas.

I wish Keri had been more developed as a character. I found it odd that Mary was upset with how much Keri's husband worked and ignored their daughter, but Keri herself never voiced a complaint. It would have made more sense if there had been at least one scene where Keri expressed this displeasure to her husband. Or perhaps a scene where Mary tells Keri she needs to put her foot down and not tolerate it. Although perhaps Keri knew what Mary was up to when she says, "She's trying to tell you something and you're not seeing it."

My last complaint is about how Mary's brain tumor seemed to progress a bit fast from the time that she first learns of her condition. And like any Christmas story, the entire story culminates on Christmas Day. Uh huh. That part was a bit contrived, but again, like any Christmas story it's to be expected. No one ever has their epiphany the day after Christmas.

Overall I give it  Photobucket

This story has been made into a tv movie. I was disappointed that it wasn't available through Netflix but it turns out the movie is available here on Youtube. I'll try to have my review of the movie posted soon.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

2013 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

It's time! The 5th year of the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge! Like last year, there are multiple levels for participation, like children's books and watching Christmas movies...and I have an extra special twist this read on!

Details and sign up:
  • challenge will run from Friday, November 22, 2013 through Monday, January 6, 2014 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany).
  • cross over with other challenges is totally permitted AND encouraged!
  • These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore, a book of Christmas short stories or poems, books about Christmas crafts, and for the first time...a children's Christmas books level!
  • Levels:
            --Candy Cane:  read 1 book
            --Mistletoe:  read 2-4 books
            --Christmas Tree:  read 5 or 6 books (this is the fanatic level...LOL!)
          Additional levels:
            --Fa La La La Films:  watch a bunch or a few Christmas's up to you!
            --Visions of Sugar Plums:  read books with your children this season and share what you read
          *the additional levels are optional, you still must complete one of the main reading levels above

Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon

To kick off my annual Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge this year, I've decided to have a weekend read-a-thon!

  • Read-a-Thon dates: Friday, November 22 at 12:00am CST until Sunday, November 24 at 11:59pm CST (adjust your time zone accordingly)
  • You do not have to be signed up for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge to participate (but I sure would love for you to join us!)
  • I am not requiring that you read Christmas/holiday books during the read-a-thon, but I hope you will pick up one holiday tale, even if it's just to read some children's books with your kids or some holiday short stories
  • to check in on Twitter, we'll use hashtag #CSreadathon
  • as usual, you do not have to have a blog to participate...feel free to link up and check in from Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • If you're interested in joining us for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge, which runs all season long, you can do so at my Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit. Would love to have you! 

This reading event is hosted by Seasons of Reading. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.