Steuver's portraits are at once humane, heartfelt, revealing - and very, very funny. Tinsel is a compelling tale of our half-trillion-dollar holiday, measuring what we've become against the ancient rituals of what we've always been.
©2009 Hank Stuever; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"With impeccable research and solid reporting, Stuever has written the gift book that keeps on giving - Christmas consumerism wrapped together with traditional family values." (Publishers Weekly)
"Insightful, funny/sad, filled with poetry and despair; who better than Hank Stuever to take on the Christmas Industrial Complex with such ultimate humanity, given that he writes like an angel." (David Rakoff, author of Don't Get Too Comfortable and Fraud)
I really enjoyed this book! Narration was fantastic, it was read with feeling. I liked hearing about the lives of those people living in Frisco, TX. This book gave me an overall general view of what I hope Christmas to be but always falls short of-way short. I understand my desire for a beautiful fire, a table laden with goodies from my childhood and a family that's truly thankful. But the author is right, we can't go back. This book has actually helped me to come to terms with my disappointment every season. Perhaps, perhaps, I won't feel that longing next Christmas. Now that would be absolutely phenomenal!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially as it was a refreshing change from the usual current holiday glurge. The author seems to give an honest picture of the families he followed, treating them with respect, affection, and humor. I think he did a pretty good job of capturing, from an outsider's perspective, what we all want Christmas to be, how we try to go about making it happen, and how it can sometimes fall short of that dream. He completely nailed Stonebriar Mall, Frisco, a certain type of affluent North Texas demographic, and Canton. I laughed out loud at his description of Canton, remembering my own WTF-moment when I saw the scooter-people last time I was there. My only criticism is his seemingly hurried treatment of the last two years of the book. He really only covers a single Christmas - 2006 - and just checks in and gives us an update of the 2007 and 2008 Christmases. It's unfortunate, because he was in a unique position to thoroughly document how the changing economy impacted our attitudes between those years. I remember 2008 as the year we could no longer pretend that there wasn't something seriously wrong with the economy, and that Christmas as especially black. But I suppose it wasn't *that* kind of a book.
Ray Porter's reading was excellent. He lent a dry tone of voice to the text that seemed just right, and he gave a pretty good approximation of the Texas drawl. Most audiobook narrators seem to substitute a southern accent for Texans.
The book is interesting enough, but if there are real truths about the holiday season tucked inside I missed them.
"An American Christmas..."
I really enjoyed it. I wanted something to listen to that was about Christmas and took the plunge. It was definitely up there with the greats. Its a slice of an American Christmas, following a few characters across three years. Luckily for the author the first year of his project was 2006 when everyone thought the good times were here to stay. The following years briefly catch up on the residents of Frisco as the effects of the Credit Crunch are beginning to tell.
Jeff Trykowski the Christmas light's wizard. Because this is an audiobook there are obviously no photographs so I entered Jeff's name in Youtube and...wow! They are stunning!
Ray Porter is fast becoming my favourite narrator. I've just finished listening to his reading of They Thirst. This is a factual book but he still imbues the participants with a great selection of easily recognisable voices. I'm going to start looking at his back catalogue.
I love Christmas, as most of the people in this book do, so it definitely gave me a glow. There are sad bits and funny bits.
A prescient look at how Christmas is celebrated in a boom town in Texas. It touches on the history of Christmas in America, the economics of the festive period and the religious side too, through a cast of mainly sympathetic characters. It exposes the commercial side of the festive season mercilessly, but boils everything down to the important things. A nice easy listen. I'd really recommend it for your December credit.
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