On Dec. 6, the Long Branch Book Club met to discuss Once Upon a Christmastime by local author Peggy Perry, a thought-provoking, heartwarming compilation of short stories.
The club members all enjoyed the book and of the four stories, two stood out as favorites, A Ringing Wish and The Angel Tree. The Ringing Wish centered around a community’s tradition that picked one child’s name from a hat to ring the ancient church bell and make a Christmas wish that always came true. All agreed it was a beautiful story, uplifting and that it would make a great movie.
The other favorite story, The Angel Tree, although heartwarming and beautiful, was centered around loss at Christmas. The story reminded the readers of those not with us and the pain that sometimes come with the jolliest of seasons. The tale helps the reader traverse that misery and through Christmas miracles born from tragedy, moves the reader beyond that horrible pain of missed loved ones who can no longer physically share this wonderful holiday. Most of the club agreed this was a magical story and that it too would make a great movie.
The author, Peggy Perry, attended the meeting and gave extra insight into the stories. The first story in the compilation, The Gift Bag From God, is the story of a new angel in Heaven who is charged by God to deliver Jesus his Christmas present, but the new angel peeked into the bag and does not understand the gifts inside. Perry explained that every year she gives her fellow Sunday School teachers gifts, but one time a few years back she couldn’t think of what to give them. She went to the store and a voice told her to pick out star Christmas cookie cutters. The voice urged her to pick out other things as well. When she arrived back home she sat trying to figure out how they all fit together. Thus the birth of this story, The Gift Bag From God.
The third story, the Grandparents Tale, explores grandparental figures who helped look after the baby Jesus. The group liked the story and felt it was a nice tale, but lacked the emotional punch of the two favorites.
All of the group agreed that Once Upon a Christmastime is appropriate for children to read or be read to. They also agreed it would make a great gift for Christmas. A couple of the group are already planning to gift the book this season. The book is available for purchase online at Amazon.com or at the Long Branch Saloon. Peggy Perry has a new book out, Angels with Attitude. This is a short story compilation focused on just what the title describes.
Jan. 3, 2018 the Long Branch Book club will meet to discuss A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, a novel set in 12th century Korea and shares the story of a young boy who dreams to make pottery, but he isn’t of a high enough class. The journey to achieving his dream takes the reader to another time and country to share the amazing life of this young man. Anyone is welcome to join the discussion. If you are under 21, please call the Long Branch Saloon first, 830-519-4006. Snacks will be provided.