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The Christmas Plains [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Bottum
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.00 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A well-respected writer and editor's memoir of childhood Christmases set in the sometimes harsh but always captivating landscape of South Dakota.

Wreaths and holly, fruitcakes and mistletoe, ornaments and snowflakes, St. Nick and Scrooge's humbug, Joseph and Mary, a young child in a manger and magi from the East. These words automatically stir up the season of Christmas and invoke memories of family and friends and hope and faith. By turns sweet and comic, sentimental and serious, the former editor of First Things magazine shares his reflections of the mad joys and wild emotions of the season while growing up on the South Dakota plains.

Editorial Reviews


"Joseph Bottum is one of America’s most gifted writers, with a perfect ear and a matchless style, 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." —Andrew Ferguson, senior editor, The Weekly Standard and author of Land of Lincoln

"Calling Joseph Bottum’s The Christmas Plains a classic wouldn’t do it justice. This is simply a superb piece of writing—elegant, evocative, funny and absolutely memorable. Anyone who loves Christmas—and who with a young heart doesn’t?—needs to read, and reread, and share this wonderfully vivid collection of Christmas memories."
—Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, author of A Heart on Fire and Render Unto Caesar

"Evocative, insightful, and above all, beautifully written."
—George Weigel, author of the bestselling Witness to Hope and Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace

"If you haven’t read Joseph Bottum on Christmas—on any subject, for that matter—The Christmas Plains will be a wonderful discovery. If you have, you already know the pleasure you’ll get from his stories. Christmas brings tidings of joy, he writes, but not always comfort 'in the modern sense' of ease and relaxation. Joy is an activity—'something we do,' Jody writes—but comfort is 'an aspiration that can never be fulfilled short of the grave.' Thanks to The Christmas Plains, I’ll keep this distinction in mind when the frenzy of the Christmas season arrives."
—Fred Barnes, executive editor, The Weekly Standard

"In The Christmas Plains, Joseph Bottum draws on the memorable characters and haunting landscapes of his South Dakota youth to weave a richly textured reflection on the meaning of Christmas. Using his considerable talents as a storyteller and spiritual writer, Bottum affirms a truth as old as the Christmas story itself: God’s grace can reach us through surprising means – including the follies, disappointments, and delights of the Christmas season."
—Colleen Carroll Campbell, author of My Sisters the Saints

"Christmas, unwrapped and lifted high, in all its giddy, glistening glory."
—Nancy Tillman, author of the bestselling On the Night you were Born and The Crown on Your Head

About the Author

JOSEPH BOTTUM is one of the nation’s most widely published essayists and poets, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers from the Atlantic to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and National Review. A bestselling eBook author, Bottum is the former editor in chief of the journal First Things and former literary editor of the Weekly Standard, where he remains a contributing editor and regular writer. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, lectures widely on literary and religious topics, and lives with his family far off in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1092 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009I8RMDI
  • Publisher: Image (October 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008C83EAK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,454 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Joy November 14, 2012
I am not a big fan of "Christmas books." The ones I've glanced at or read seem mawkish and tawdry.
Enter "The Christmas Plains." It is a joy, a gift one must give at least to oneself, and, I would say, to as many friends as possible. It is literary and personal, and yet in it I experience the Christmas of the plains (where I live now) as well as those of my youth (in California, of all places!). Joseph Bottum is not a writer but an author. He is often compared to Dickens, but he reminds me of Willa Cather in his skill with the language.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious November 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Joseph Bottum is one of the most original voices in American literature today, and here he tells a tale for the ages that will bring smiles, and tears, and understanding, and wisdom. But be warned: if you read this book, you'll start sending gift copies to people you love. I did.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An early Christmas present November 14, 2012
Joseph Bottum calls Christmas "the compass needle that points us to God". He takes us on a wonderful journey through the season mixing in his childhood memories and penetrating observations of our society in the present day to remind us that,"...if we follow it- if we surrender,joyfully,to it- Christmas will lead us where we need to go." Mr. Bottum is a gifted storyteller and an engaging writer. I recommend you buy this insightful and enjoyable book and read it before Christmas!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! December 3, 2012
Joseph Bottum has once again proven himself to be a master of the English language with his latest artistic triumph. He weaves together the perfect story of Christmases long ago. He evokes the true spirit of Christmas, as only he can.

If you have never treated yourself to one of his books, you are in for a feast of the written word. I dare say that Joseph Bottum's new book is destined to become an instant classic.

I tried to stay awake to finish the book on the first night, but couldn't. I literally fell asleep and tried to will myself to get up to read more; it was that well-written! Do yourself a favor and buy this today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas galore. December 6, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a beautiful roundup of American and earlier Christmas traditions, told in the frame of Jody Bottum's reminiscences of growing up in South Dakota. A valuable book to have for one's own Christmas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destined To Become Christmas Gifts January 10, 2013
Oh the joy of finding, between the covers of a small book, words that charm and delight a reader. Because even though all books are made up of words, some are created to much more pleasing advantage than others. It's difficult to describe, but easy to recognize and with The Christmas Plains by Joseph Bottum you will immediately appreciate that this is quality writing, because there it will be nestling into your mind as you keep turning pages. There are some authors who have such a way with what they have to say as to be completely captivating. Such is Bottum and this book. While he is sharing many of his memories, don't be surprised when some of your own rise to the surface. This is a fascinating little book, brilliantly written, and for some reason I want to buy a copy for everyone I know and present it to them next Christmas. And so I probably shall. There comes, every so often, a book you simply feel the need to share. This is one such book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Plains January 30, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It says it's about Christmas in the Dakotas. Far from it. He rambles on about nothing and certainly nothing about the Dakotas. Was boring. Had to push to get it finished.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering good times January 9, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was given to me by a friend at Christmas time. What a good selection! I, in turn, ordered a copy sent to a friend of mine and recommended it to several others. It is especially meaningful when one can relate to many of the essays by remembering one's own holiday experiences.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful read....Mary Jean Jensen
Published 1 month ago by Eldon S Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the imagery
First a disclaimer, My husband is from South Dakota and we know the author. That is not enough to get me to buy a book, but my husband can "see" the things Jody writes... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Denise L. Wiktor
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas for book lovers, hermits and city dwellers all.
Our past and present, from Dickens to the bleak midwinter of the Dakotas, J Bottom gives the reader so many memorable turns of phrase to bookmark. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Blake Hurst
1.0 out of 5 stars No storyline here...
I did not enjoy this book. Unfortanely this was selected in my book club… I did not finish. Boring Boring Boring. Was hoping for some kind of storyline.
Published 16 months ago by Coach "J"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written Story Collection
The Christmas Plains by Joseph Bottum is a sheer joy to read. It was a pleasure, feel good story from beginning to end. Read more
Published on March 2, 2013 by DEBRAGG
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I just could not get into this book. I tried but found it boring. Everybody is different in what they like to read,and this book was just not for me. Read more
Published on March 1, 2013 by S. Conaghan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Christmas Plains: A Geeky Review
Joseph Bottum's The Christmas Plains is, in a sense, a journey towards the meaning behind the Christmas season. Read more
Published on January 26, 2013 by B.D.S.Amodeo
3.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Cheer
I know I'm a bit behind reviewing this. After all, nearly all the stores have replaced the reds and greens with pink hearts, chocolates, and mini heart shaped antacids. Read more
Published on January 21, 2013 by Madam Librarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing by a talented professional
I was very impressed by the quality of the writing. Rarely does anyone have such talent and skill. It is not actually about a South Dakota Christmas. Read more
Published on January 4, 2013 by Shirley Fischer Arends, Ph.D.
3.0 out of 5 stars Some excellent passages, some tedious and repetitive
I was looking for a light Christmas read, no blood, no guts, no trauma. I found some interesting passages, well written and thoughtful, but more formulaic passages of predictable... Read more
Published on December 29, 2012 by Susan Armagost
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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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