Friday, December 30, 2011
I am pretty sure I found this at the Library's Used Book Store, and it received an enthusiastic thumbs up from one of the Holiday Challenge Readers.
Loved it. In fact, I daresay this was the best of all the holiday books I read this year.
This book is Santa Claus explaining himself. Laying out the historical truth and the evolution of the myth, beginning with his childhood in modern day Turkey. Nicholas was an orphan with a trust fund who was uncomfortable with his wealth in the face of so many in need. As an adult, he became a priest. His good works continued and he became a bishop. As rumors of "miracles" spread, so did his fame and he felt the need to abandon his life to continue his mission of giving gifts to those in need.
The book goes on to explain the sainthood of St. Nicholas (which embarrasses him) and frequently returns to a theme of Magic vs. Illusion. Travels begin (dude was on the damn Mayflower) and assistants are recruited - many historical figures - and they are all unnaturally long-lived.
My suspension of disbelief held pretty well. Although Santa kinda skipped over the part wherein he broke his eternal vow of celibacy in order to marry Mrs. Claus. (Even if you are a couple hundred years old, an eternal vow is an eternal vow.) I even got a little misty hearing Santa describe his reading of the "Yes, Virginia" column - reprinted in its entirety.
I can't say this is an Every Year classic. But I am pretty certain it will be a repeater in my house.