Augusten Burroughs is one of my favorite authors. He is raw with exceptional writing, and he makes me feel less bad about my childhood.
I am not exactly sure why I picked up his book on Christmas in late February. I think it was seeing the santa on the cover about to flash everyone. Yet I did pick it up, and finished it.
This book is unique from burroughs other works. It is a collection of short stories that focus on his memories of Christmas. The stories are told chronologically starting when he was a child to closer to adulthood.
This is not my favorite novel by Burroughs. At times it becomes quite crude. I had to stop listening to it at work as I wouldn't have wanted anyone to accidently hear. Specifically I have a hard time with the story about him sleeping with an older gentleman in a santa suit after a heavy night of drinking. After finishing the novel I see a more complete picture of the events. It was a not great period in his life, and the stories represent that.
Gather 'Round the Sound is an audio book production that was released by Audible for the 2017 holiday season. It is a short book at about 36 "pages" and contains four sections.
The first section is an audio interview with the GE office that handles letters from Santa Clause. It was an interesting piece that tried to capture a little bit about what happens to letters that go to the 12345 zip code. It was a little off putting that letters of a more serious nature are shoved in a box labeled adoption and seemingly forgotten. While answering letters is a great service it was not very in the spirit of the holiday to hear how the letters dampened the festivity of the office.
The second section was an Australian version of The Night Before Christmas. I found it short, and humorous. It put a Australian twist on the favorite classic.
The third section was a short story by Charles Dickens. Dickens is one of my favorite authors and it was a delight to hear one of his stories that I had not experienced before. The story was amazing, even if it was probably more appropriate for a Halloween production then a Christmas one.
Lastly, there is an improve caroling skit about a party that was not doing so well. I am not a huge fan of improve, but I think I would have enjoyed seeing the production much more than listening to it. It seemed forced and fake more then spontaneous. I do not feel like it translated well.
Overall, it was an interesting collection that I enjoyed listening to. It was worth the hour of time that I invested. Also, it is free.
How Santa Changed is a cute 38 page storybook about how Santa went from being a one-man show to moving to the North Pole with some new helpers.
The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. They are bright and colorful. They tell a story so vividly that you do not even need the words to understand what is going on. I read the book in Kindle. If you do as well then it would need to be fully appreciated on a tablet or phone.
The pages contain between twelve to one line of writing. On double pages, there are some sides with no writing. Most pages contain about four lines.
The word choices would be good for a reader who had a foundation, as long as they had help with some more difficult words. It seems more like it is meant for an adult to read to children. Even though my children are all much older, we will be reading this book together this holiday season.
I just really wish that Karl Steam did not feel the need to rhyme. Without that, it would have been a solid five-star review. However, the rhyming scheme does not stay consistent throughout the book. It was apparent enough that I noticed and had to pause to see what happened to the temp of the book. It just constrained the writing too much.
If you love Christmas and tales of Santa then I strongly recommend this book. Even if you do not have young children you will be drawn into the artwork and the story that it tales. The first thing that I thought of when I finished this book is "Wow, I can't wait to share this with my kids" who are all teenagers.
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