Page 6, 15th December 1995

15th December 1995
Page 6
Page 6, 15th December 1995 — Christina White reviews a varied selection of this year's literary stocking-fillers

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Locations: Oxford


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Christina White reviews a varied selection of this year's literary stocking-fillers

One Wintry Night, Ruth Bell Graham, Lion Publishing: £12.99

ON A cous wintry night, Jeb finds shelter from the snow with a kind lady who retells the Christmas story in the context of Eden", Noah and the Crucifixion.

Ruth Bell Graham is married to American Evangelist Billy Graham, and her picture book evokes good old fashioned values, log cabins and Mama's apple pie. The illustrations are beautiful. If Laura Ingalls Wilder was once your required reading then this will definitely appeal. Graham has 19 grandchildren and six great-grand children so she is well versed in the art of story telling a lovely book.

A Gallery of Reflections The Nativity of Christ, Richard Harries, The Bible Reading Fellowship A Lion Book:


IN THE DEEP mid-Winter many of us stumble around in the cold, dressing to the soothing sounds of the `Today' programme. Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, has been a regular of late on the 'Thought For The Day' slot; his Christmas book is easy on the eye and gentle to the soul. This is a tome to dip into and savour. He delights in the 'quiet, tender, attentiveness' of Geertgen's 'Nativity' and confidently roams from Byzantium to the Renaissance, linking the traditions of Christian painting and sculpture. Good with mince pies on Christmas Eve.

Journey of the Magi, Nigel Gander, Avon Books: £4.95 NIGEL GANDER is 'an enthusiastic convert to Catholicism'.

His short play for schoolchildren is dedicated to 'The numerous modern 'Simons' who bravely and joyously carry the unexpected, heavy burdens which life has placed on their shoulders'.

Oh dear a eulogy for all small boys with a loathing of double maths. Budding Oliviers would give their hind teeth to utter the camel driver's immortal line: "Terri bly sorry, Sir, but the Syrian wine went to my head". Legends of the stage have started with less.

The Word Made Flesh The Meaning of the Christmas Season John Paul II Fount:£5.99 THIS PAPERBACK book brings together a collection of addresses made by Pope John Paul II over 20 years. Solid, Christian reflection on the power of prayer and the recurring message of the Christmas season: peace and good

will toward men. Enlightening and thought provoking.

This is not a book for the faint hearted; but it would make an excellent stocking filler for any prospective bishop.

John Paul II's not for turning his message is clear and unequivocal, urging us to bring the spirit of Christmas into our lives.

The Night Before Christmas, Alice Taylor, Brandon: £5.95 ALICE TANI/JR hails from rural Cork and chronicles country life with warmth and compassion.

Her days and nights encompass a forgotten world of simple pleasures and saintly charms: village grocers wrap packages with brown paper and string; hobs are blacked; walls whitewashed and turf fires laid. Children play snakes and ladders and help with the chores.

Taylor has an eye for detail: the blue and white enamel of a mixing bowl, the crisp, starched folds of her mother's apron or the dark, velvet luxury of a box of chocolates. Her memories are mouth watering, scented, rich and evocative as she recalls the preparation of a Christmas feast. There's np angst of the Joanna Trollope variety, or macabre goings on in the woodshed. Ladies of a certain age, who relish a Miss Read book after tea, will enjoy the quiet gentleness of it all.

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