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Just finished: Christmas in Plains: Memories by Jimmy Carter. This very short book is basically exactly what the title says: a collection of memories of Christmas by former President Carter, mostly (but not exclusively) about his childhood in Plains, Georgia. It’s a fairly straightforward and earnest little work, and it has a number of interesting anecdotes about Carter’s early life. (My favorite involves the grapefruit truck that accidentally dumps its load on the road, and then the poor people of Plains scrambling to recover the grapefruits which they see as a wonderful bounty — until, that is, they make their first ever attempts at actually consuming a grapefruit.) The book is unabashedly sentimental, and can be read through in a single evening — it took me only a couple of hours. Not bad if you go for this sort of family remembrance (it’s not a large enough work to be considered a “memoir”); for me it suffered a bit in that I read it outside the Christmas season. I imagine that during the Holidays this book might resonate more than it did. I found it nice and enjoyable.

(Side note, having nothing to do with the content of the book: it is illustrated by Amy Carter, the President’s daughter. I found these illustrations — simple pen-and-ink drawings — horrid. That’s just pure personal taste, though.)

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