Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: The Carols of Christmas

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas or at the very least Christmas carols? I think not. After all, Christmas is 14 weeks away from today. I mean, you can at least start making a list and checking it twice. As for carols, have a strict policy about not listening until the day after Thanksgiving. So, I wouldn't suggest listening to carols right now because you might be burnt out come Christmastime and that would be a shame.

I suppose most people have a love or hate relationship with Christmas carols. I, for one, love them and am baffled by people who hate Christmas carols. As someone who loves to sing, many carols bring back some of my favorite childhood memories of singing in the car on the way to our grandparents' houses and often getting lyrics wrong. For example, in the song "Winter Wonderland", I used to think the line, "Later on, we'll conspire," was "Later on wilken spider" and it never made sense to me. I think I was an adult before I figured it out.

One of my very favorite Christmas albums is the The Statler Brothers "Christmas Card". I know I've mentioned it on the blog before. My parents' owned the album, or vinyl as we say in 2015, and we later had a cassette tape and would listen in the car often. I now have it on CD and load it up on my iPod every December and listen to it over and over and over again. It brings back great memories.

There is so much more I could say about Christmas carols, but I write all of this as a preface of sorts because the book I'm reviewing today is called "The Carols of Christmas" and it was written by Andrew Gant. The subtitle is "A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs."

The subtitle of the book basically sums it all up. Mr. Gant gathered stories and the history behind some of the oldest Christmas carols. There are 21 songs in the book of which Mr. Gant tells of the origin and/or history of each. Many of them are not of English origin so the original words in the original language are also usually included. There are also illustrations and snapshots of some of the oldest version of these songs. At the end of each chapter are the lyrics and notes in English as you and I know them.

The 21 songs included in the book are:

  1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  2. O, Christmas Tree
  3. The Holly and Ivy
  4. I Saw Three Ships
  5. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  6. Good Christian Men, Rejoice
  7. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  8. While Shepherds Watched
  9. O Holy Night
  10. Ding dong! Merrily on High
  11. Angles from the Realms of Glory
  12. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
  13. Away in a Manger
  14. I Wonder as I Wander
  15. Good King Wenceslas
  16. Personent hodie
  17. Here We Come a-Wassailing
  18. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  19. We Three Kings
  20. What Child Is This
  21. Jingle Bells
The content of the book is about 200 pages and the print is rather small, so, there is a lot of content. I found the stories to be rather interesting, but I am a  lover of history and tend to like to know the origins of this, that and the other. So, this book was right up my alley. If you  or someone you know enjoys songs, carols, and knowing the origin behind such things, then this book would be a great addition to your library. It retails for around $20 on Amazon and you can check it out in this link. 

1 comment:

Erika said...

Some of my favorites are on that list! I really don't like all the Christmas stuff being out now; I want to soak up fall and only fall!

But the day after Thanksgiving, bring it on!