Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Free Books

I wanted to list some Christmas books that are available free online--audio versions too.

The Christmas Angel (audiobook here) is generally comparable to A Chritsmas Carol, but the Scrooge is an embittered old woman who decides to test the Christmas spirit on Christmas Eve by dropping childhood toys out her window for passersby. (She had meant to simply burn them.) Will she see honesty and altruism or greed and deceit? The trials seem to confirm her cynicism, but one of the remaining items, an angel that topped a childhood Christmas tree, becomes the Christmas Angel and shows her the rest of the stories--the events she didn't see. The theology is a little quirky in spots, but no worse than that of A Christmas Carol. And the reader for the audio version is especially good for this kind of work. It's short--under two hours for the audiobook.

A couple of stories by Kate Douglas Wiggin, best known for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm:

The Old Peabody Pew (audiobook here) is about an aborted romance between a small-town failure who left to make his fortune and the girl he left behind. It's rather low-key but moving.

The Romance of a Christmas Card (audiobook here) concerns a pair of Christmas cards produced by a minister's wife and their unforeseen effects.

Both stories are a bit slow-moving at first by modern standards, but they're worth the time.

(Technically there's also The Birds' Christmas Carol--audiobook here or here. It's an engaging story of the doomed-pious-waif variety. Such things don't bother me as much now as they used to, but I thought I should warn you.)

If you don't mind a Catholic touch--and I hope you don't--there are two short stories by Francis J. Finn (audio):

"Looking for Santa Claus" in My Strange Friend (audio version is 17 here) has innocent, pious munchkins inadvertently overcoming evil.

"The Wager of Gerald O’Rourke: A Christmas Story"--no e-text, but it's number 26 on the same page--involve's a sleepyhead's bet about getting up early and how it changes some lives for the better. This is a good intro to Finn.

On a purely humorous level, there's "The Thin Santa Claus" by Ellis Parker Butler. There are audio versions, but this is dialect humor, which requires specialized skills. You can try these, but I haven't heard them and can't vouch for them (you will have to search the pages):

Version 1
Version 2
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