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Dakota Christmas (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Bottum
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A memoir of childhood Christmases on the South Dakota plains. By turns sweet and comic, sentimental and serious, Joseph Bottum's "Dakota Christmas" is an instant Christmas classic. In this beautifully written account of the mad joys and wild emotions of Christmas for children, Bottum captures the universal spirit of the season even while he recounts his memories with a sharp particularity that brings them alive for readers.

"Her hair was the same thin shade of gray as the weather-beaten pickets of the fence around her frozen garden," he writes of one chance Christmas encounter. "She had a way with horses, and she was alone on Christmas Eve. There is little in my life I regret as much as that I would not stay for just one cookie, just one cup of tea."

"Joseph Bottum is one of America’s most gifted writers, with a perfect ear and a matchless style," the essayist Andrew Ferguson notes of "Dakota Christmas." And "to watch him deck the halls with his customary humor and generosity of spirit is glad tidings indeed--guaranteed to make your Yuletide bright."

"Families have always loved brief Christmas classics that could be read aloud by the fire," adds Michael Novak. "Joseph Bottum's 'Dakota Christmas' is such a classic."


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

I have to admit, when I glanced at the title of Joseph Bottum's Kindle Single, Dakota Christmas, I was a bit skeptical. Whenever I see something with "Christmas" in the title, I get visions of sugarplums dancing in my head... and it makes me want to reach for an aspirin. But this is not your garden-variety holiday fare (despite the requisite mentions of Slinkys, cap guns, bouncing nursery horses, and yes--ultimately--God). So, too, despite Bottum's channeling the ghost of Christmases past, inviting us to take hold of his sleeve and revisit scenes of yuletide cheer. In these tender, but not too precious, childhood recollections, we’re treated to a quiet respite "from the mess and clutter of our overpopulated Christmas desires." Take your Kindle under the covers with a flashlight and read this Kindle Single with the same relish as a young Joseph Bottum and a gifted Jules Verne. --Erin Kodicek

Product Details

  • File Size: 85 KB
  • Print Length: 20 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006GP07GU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,451 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories, feelings December 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this for my husband who is from South Dakota and returned only a few days ago from a trip back. I was happy to be able to get it for his desktop and he will never kindle. Then we read it out loud. He too is from Pierre and I had to stop and repeat the direction they were going to he could remember it. He laughed about the third horse before I knew why. For him it was a memory of the nature of his home, about the small things that make the people there.

For me, I love Jody's writing, it reminded me of books and radiators, of smells and when this time of year was a pure torture of waiting. He mentioned the holly and I remembered my mother's milk glass basket with pine needles and over sized ornaments.

I think this story will warm the hearts of Dakotans not at home, and those of us who like this time of year. I thought of the story my mother put out every year (I think Capote) of Christmas in the kitchen with his grandmother making fruit cakes. At 99 cents its a steal, plus if you download the Amazon for Desktop (free) you get three classic books.

Denise Wiktor
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Essay December 3, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I first read Joseph Bottum's "Dakota Christmas" -- a companion to the also-very-fine "Dakota Thanksgiving" (hint hint, O Kindle People) -- when it appeared as a print essay some years ago, have reread it with pleasure many times since, and am delighted to see an expanded version appear in Kindle form. This piece combines what to my mind are the absolute requisites of the readable memoir: deft sketching of people and landscape, a comic sensibility, and most of all, a capacity for regret at one's own failings, large or small.

I have loved "Dakota Christmas" and will enjoy having it at my fingertips. Most of all, I rejoice for the author that more people will be able to say the same thing.

Cheers, Jody!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars yesterday's Christmas December 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a short read, maybe thirty minutes or so, and has a lovely Christmas theme to it. I was in the mood for a Christmas-type story, and this one gave me that feeling of nostalgia I was looking for. Although the Deep South is far from South Dakota, there were still so many things to identify with in this short story.

It made me think about why are the most special Christmases the ones we remember from childhood. There is a "difference between childhood and age: A month was once forever, and now it's just a month." And I think Christmas was once something special for us as children, and now it seems to be just another holiday, the last one on our hurried way to closing out yet another year.

Here, the author gives us a Christmas message with enough sentiment and nostalgia without being overbearing: while trapped in "the mess and clutter" that complicate and speed Christmas along, don't overlook the true purpose of it all. For me, it was a gentle and thoughtful reminder to look for those things, and people, that make Christmas truly special. It makes you think about a different Christmas this year, the one that is simple and unrushed, the kind of Christmas that creates those special memories that feel like childhood.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars South Dakota, my Home December 23, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In many (most) parts of America, when people meet for the first time, the first question they ask is what you do (by which it is understood that they mean "for a living"). In South Dakota, we may get around to talking about that, but the first question is almost always "where are you from?"

That's because South Dakotans feel a deep connection to our place here in the middle of the Country. And while six degrees of separation may be the norm, in South Dakota it's rarely more than one or two. If you don't know someone from the same town as your new acquaintance, someone you know surely does.

Clearly, that's why Dakota Christmas has struck a chord, such that it has been a top seller on the Amazon Kindle this Christmas season. Well-known author, and South Dakota native, Jody Bottum knows where he's from and knows how to tell a tale. It's a collection of seven whimsical, Christmas tales from his childhood revealing deep connections to his family and his place of birth, much of which hasn't changed too much since the 50-year-old grew up in the state.

Dakota Christmas is adapted and expanded from something Bottum first wrote 11 years ago and I vividly remember the first publishing, chiefly from this line about South Dakota Christmas food, which he describes as "Jell-O molds with carrot shavings, chocolate packet pies, neon-pink hams, pricked to death with cloves and drowned in honey." Eleven years ago, a good friend emailed me that line and reading it again reminded me of some good laughs.

When I posted a link to Dakota Christmas on my Facebook page, I was surprised by the diverse number of people who had also read it. But I guess I shouldn't have been. If you live in South Dakota, or if you want to know what Christmas was like out here on plains, you'll want to join that list of readers. Merry Christmas from South Dakota, my home.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Americana December 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Joseph Bottum's essays about his childhood in South Dakota represent some of his finest work. I can think of few choices which would make for a better read sitting by the fire during the Christmas season. Bottum has remembered the really important things from his early years in a special place and time in America.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast read.
Unlike some others, I found this book taking me back to many of my own Christmas memories and adding a smile on my face.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars sorry!
Sorry, it didn't get me into the spirit of Christmas and couldn't follow the author's thoughts. They seemed very random.
Published 1 month ago by Lorelei Confer
4.0 out of 5 stars South Dakota Christmas.
Enjoyed.
Published 3 months ago by Delores
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
I read a little and thought it would be a fun book. After the first chapter it was just boring!
Published 8 months ago by Konnie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Christmas Short Story!
Extremely well written stories of a young boy growing up in the Dakotas. One can close their eyes and visulize the Dakota's brutal winters. Enjoyed this story of days gone by.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Dakota Christmas needed more.
Dakota Christmas was "okay" reading. I liked the title and the premise of the book.
It just had too much exposition of explaining, talking about the background; I just... Read more
Published 11 months ago by BEvers
1.0 out of 5 stars Dakota Christmas
No insult intended to people in the Dakotas, but I found this book too boring to continue reading it. Maybe other people will enjoy it, so don't be discouraged by my comments.
Published 11 months ago by Malcolm Mackellar
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like
I didn't like this book. It was not at all interesting and not what I thought it would be. Do not recommend.
Published 12 months ago by Carroll
1.0 out of 5 stars Christmas?????
It was waaaaay too wordy and as far as I could tell had little to do with Christmas. It didn't hold my interest past the first ten pages. Sorry.
Published 12 months ago by Gramma B
5.0 out of 5 stars Dakota Christmas
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the tale. The power of love, and caring for strangers in this Amish community changed many lives.
This was the perfect Christmas surprise.
Published 21 months ago by Mary E, Bois
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More About the Author

The author of bestselling Kindle Singles, from "The Gospel According to Tim" to "Dakota Christmas" (revised and expanded as part of his new seasonal volume, "The Christmas Plains"), Joseph Bottum is a widely published essayist and poet, with work in magazines and newspapers from the "Atlantic" to the "Wall Street Journal."

The former literary editor of the "Weekly Standard" and former editor in chief of the journal "First Things," he holds a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy and has done television commentary for networks from the BBC to EWTN, including appearances on NBC's Meet the Press and the PBS NewHour. His books include his latest poetry collection, "The Second Spring."

He lives with his family far off in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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