Monday, December 20, 2010

The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays

Book Club... And Then Some!

The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays 

Edited by Michele Clarke and Taylor Plimpton

Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I am not a regular reader of any of these writers (John Waters, Calvin Trillin, Chris Radant, Jonathan Ames, Corey Ford, Jay McInerney, Billy Collins, Mark Twain, Robert C. Benchley, S. J. Perelman, Roy Blunt Jr., Lewis Lapham, Daniel Blythe, Scott Horton, Dave Barry, George Plimpton, James Thurber, John Cheever, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Simic, David Rakoff, Charles Bukowski, Greg Kotis, P.J. O’Rourke, Fiona Maazel, Augusten Burroughs, Alysia Gray Painter, or David Sedaris), although I was familiar with the writing of some of them—whether or not they are some of today’s best humorists or classic writers.  Thus, it wasn’t because of my familiarity that I picked up The Dreaded Feast.

If you are looking for a short book (only 208 pages in 5 1/2 by 7 1/2-inch format) that is well-written and highly entertaining, this is a great choice.  Makes a great gift as well.

Although every story in the book can be found elsewhere, it is highly unlikely anyone would have found most of them, even if they were searching for them.  I found the choices excellent, and even if you did not agree, each is short; thus, that problem can be easily and quickly surmounted.  Writing styles vary, writers from different genres are mixed, and topics, too, vary, but, overall, this is a quick read.

Our family (all 18 of us) get together for all the big holiday celebrations, and we all enjoy (seemingly) getting together, sharing stories, eating food, and playing with the kids.  I’m not saying that ours is an ideal family situation; however, I think it comes pretty close.  But, you don’t have to have the “ideal” to appreciate the stories found here.  As-a-matter-of-fact, if you have something less than the “ideal,” you are likely to find the insights and revelations in this book sufficient enough to make you feel better regarding your own celebrations.

Get this book at
The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays

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