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Dakota Christmas (Kindle Single) by [Bottum, Joseph]
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Dakota Christmas (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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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: 88 KB
  • Print Length: 20 pages
  • Publication Date: December 3, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006GP07GU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,457 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Denise L. Wiktor on 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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author Joseph Bottum gives a nostalgic and memorable account of his childhood Christmases on the prairie in South Dakata. Living in Pierre, a small town, he remembers back to the days when Christmas was a family time, and the distress of walking home on a Christmas Eve with nothing for his mother because the store closed early. A kind man solved the problem for him, and his mother got a gift.

What I liked best is that he says the facts don't flee our memories, but the feelings do. He remembers the type tree that they had in different years, gifts that he and his sisters received, but not the emotions that went with them. He also remembers the cold of the winters and lying on the floor next to the radiator propped up on cushions to read, his body too hot, but the draft from the radiator pipe gap causing his hands to be cold. I also loved it when he said that he decided that what his sister needed was a bank to keep her money in. Although things didn't work out quite right on that one, it was the thought that counted while in the junk store.

There is a lot of humor in this Kindle Single as Bottum tells about the food served the minute you walked in someone's home, and the gifts bought for family. I love the passage, "It was all too much. By the time Christmas itself arrived, the season had taken us by the throats and shaken us into jelly. Who could stand against it? For that matter, who could stand it?" (Loc.138) It's a funny, serious and heartwarming look back at a time that we think was simpler, but I'm not sure the people who lived it thought so.

The writing is wonderful and the story is true and honest. I enjoyed this look back with the author, even though I've never been to South Dakota. That isn't necessary to enjoy this "Dakota Christmas."
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