Book Report: Christmas Presence

While the holiday season tends to be so packed with things to do (shopping, cooking, eating, partying, visiting) that reading a Christmas-themed book sounds next to impossible, Christmas Presence (Catawba, 2008) may have that problem solved.

The collection of 50 stories and poems from 45 Western N.C.-based women writers holds plenty of inspirational reads that clock in at under ten minutes per prose-piece. Need a quick pick-me-up mid-family dinner? Flip to Glenis Redmond‘s sensory-rich poem, “Presence.” Need a laugh? Karen L. Jackson’s “Elves for Santa” is an all-too-relatable tale of home redecorating. Go back in time with stories by Louise K. Nelson and Mary D. Marsh, or take in lesser-known folklore and traditions thanks to Penny Morse’s “Grandpa and the Snow Snakes” and H. Byron Ballard’s “A Season of Lights: How We Celebrated a Hillbilly Yule.”

For readers familiar with local authors, a few of the stars included in this book are: Poet MariJo Moore, columnist Susan Reinhardt and novelist Nancy Sales Cash.

Some of the tales collected in Presence verge on overly-sentimental, but it is the season for nostalgia and mushiness. If not now, then when? And it’s unlikely that the audience for Presence (or any holiday read, really) is looking for sharp, involved, scholarly literature. No, this is a time for cozy memories, warm ideas, feelings of peacefulness and goodwill and—should the stressful reality of the season encroach—for relaxation and a little humor.

Christmas Presence, edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham, delivers.

Editors Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham will sign copies of Christmas Presence at Malaprop’s on Saturday, Dec. 13. The 11:30 a.m. event is free.

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “Book Report: Christmas Presence

  1. tgh60

    Why no male writers? Sounds pretty sexist to meto just have only women included. This sexist thing cuts both ways you know.

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