December 2009

Chris Van Allsburg

Holiday cheer from Chris Van Allsburg
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What marks the start of the holiday season for you?
Since we celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas in our home, the beginning of the holiday season can sometimes start with the lighting of a candle, or a trip to the local Christmas tree lot. My daughters, when still young, would always pick out the largest tree we could tie to the car roof.

Does your family have one very special holiday tradition?
We like to put antlers on our mini Schnauzer.

What are you most looking forward to during the holiday season?
My eldest daughter is going far away to college this fall as a freshman. I look forward to her return during the holidays.

What’s your favorite holiday book or song?
Nat King Cole’s rendition of “The Christmas Song.”

Why do books make the best gifts?
Because it is possible to find a book to suit just about everyone on your gift list. Because the inscription one can place within a book will connect the recipient to the gift giver each time the gift is opened. Because toys break but good stories are remembered forever, and because books are really easy to wrap.

What was the best book you read this year?
I read contemporary fiction, and I’m especially fond of short stories, as they make for ideal bedtime reading—one or two and it's lights out. However, I encounter around the house the paperback modern classics my children are assigned to read in school. It is very tempting to revisit these titles, which, in the last year, included works by Nabokov, Fitzgerald and Salinger. I guess I’d have to say The Catcher in the Rye was my most satisfying recent this read.

What’s your number one resolution for 2010?
To spend less time reading newspapers and consequently feeling the world is coming to an end, and more time reading books that provide momentary sanctuary in a reality that is not my own.

Get the Book

The Polar Express

The Polar Express

By Chris Van Allsburg
ISBN 9780395389492

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