I have always wondered about Truman Capote and the duality of his life. I would see him on talk shows when I was young and he seemed like such an odd, little bohemian intellectual. His decadent New York life style rubbing elbows with the Studio 56 crowd did not surprise me nor his odd obsession researching the killers in In Cold Blood but what did floor me was that he wrote A Christmas Memory. Could it have been written by the same person?
I believe A Christmas Memory to be one of the most heart warming and beautiful Christmas stories ever written. It is about a friendship between two lonely people, one a small boy and the other an unusual elderly woman. Their love for one another and the their shared loneliness touches me every Christmas when I see the film, re-read the short story or simply remember the characters. The story is a retrospect of his childhood in Alabama. Everything I have learned about his early years in the South contradicts the face paced, drug immersed, life style he chose in New York City and I am not only fascinated, but saddened by Capote's writing and life style choices over time. Nevertheless, I will be grateful to him my entire life for one of the most beautiful stories every written.
Anyone who loves Christmas traditions in bygone days will love Irving's Christmas at Bracebridge Hall. It is somewhere between a short story and a novella describing a visit to Bracebridge Hall in Yorkshire, England at Christmas time. It starts with the narrator's stagecoach ride through the English countryside in late December, his impressions of the great estate of Bracebridge Hall and the inhabitants. In rich detail, Irving describes everything about the holiday festivities over the next two days, from food to decorations to games they played. This story is a wonderful narration of an 18th Century Christmas and is not only a historical description of the traditions and customs of England in the past but a cozy and cheerful story which will put anyone into the Christmas spirit who reads it.
Amanda Hughes, author of Historical Adventures blogs about her reading, her writing, her appearances and even a few recipes!