Billy Goat and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best in the holiday season.
(Actual conversation at the library a few days ago, as I was checking out more than a dozen books -- Library patron: "Well, you're all set for Christmas, I see." Mister Troll: "Of course! What else are you supposed to do at Christmas, talk to people?" Library patron: "...")
One day down, one book down and I still have lots of time to talk with family. In the meantime, in the spirit of the season, let me recommend the best Christmas story...
Recommended: The Dark Is Rising (Susan Cooper)
This is the ultimate winter story. On his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton learns that he is the last of the circle of Old Ones, born to seek the six Signs of Light. As Christmas falls upon the little English village, Will must stand alone against the full strength of the Dark.
The Dark Is Rising is filled with beautiful contrasts: the cheerful warmth of a family celebration and the sinister iciness of the servants of the Dark; the charm and familiarity of Christian traditions with the ancient, pagan symbols. This is a story for winter nights, to read snug at home, with chill and gloom outside your windows. In no other story have I seen Christmas drawn with such warmth and such iciness at the same time.
Ms. Cooper is a talented author. She is best known and loved for her series, The Dark Is Rising, of which this eponymous story is not the first: Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree.
You may read the stories in any order, which is a lovely bonus (though probably you should save Silver on the Tree for last). The style of each is relatively unique, and Will Stanton does not feature in all of them. Of course, Rule Number One applies (no author is ceaselessly brilliant); most people pick either The Dark Is Rising or The Grey King as their favourite.
Support Books Under the Bridge
Shop at Amazon.com