Thursday, December 11, 2008

Zanna's Gift by Orson Scott Card

books_zannasgiftZanna's Gift is subtitled "A Life in Christmases" and that's exactly what this is. It was first published by Orson Scott Card under the pen name Scott Richards a while back. It's been rereleased now under his true name and is available in a signed edition for an amazingly low price ($5.99) on his website. I highly highly recommend that you get this one. It's a very special little book and probably the best Christmas story I've read. After reading nearly 40 Orson Scott Card books, I'm still surprised by how wonderful each book is. His characters are top notch, his storytelling perfect, and he knows how to emotionally connect a story with it's reader. Zanna's Gift tells the story of a family that we first meet in the 1930's. Suzanna (Zanna for short) is one of 4 children, the others being all boys: Ernie, Davy and Bug. She's also the youngest and has an immense love for drawing. She shares a special relationship with her oldest brother Ernie who is the only one in the family who is able to discern what her drawings actually are. Unfortunately, Ernie passes away at the young age of 15 due to a brain aneurysm in his sleep. It takes Suzanna a little while to realize that he is dead, but when she does, she is distraught. She's upset mostly because she had drawn a picture of him reading a Bobbsey Twins book to her and she knew that no one else would know what the drawing was. She had put more work into that drawing than anything else she had done and it was going to be her Christmas gift to him. When Christmas comes, she brings out the picture, and despite the fact that no one knows what it is still, they all love it. The next Christmas, she brings it out again on Christmas morning to remember Ernie. The Christmas after that, her brother gives her a frame to keep the picture in and it stays in that frame throughout the rest of her life. It's always placed on the mantle on Christmas morning. We see the frame, and Ernie with it, carried through her marriage, the birth of her children, and through so many events. Throughout the book we watch the family grow and new generations come and they all hold the family traditions and pass on the family stories. This is a beautiful little book for Christmas and was especially meaningful to me right now considering all we have all gone through recently. It's mostly a book about remembering the lives of those we loved while still moving forward in our own lives. Finding peace in honoring the dead by what we do in life. I'm going to share the last line of the book because I think it's a very poignant one, though it doesn't give anything away. "Grief is just another name for love." I think that's a beautiful quote and it's one that I'll remember for a long time. This special little signed book is signed "To Chris: Love and Christmas, Orson Scott Card 2008." That's what Christmas is all about. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I also wanted to take the time to thank everyone for the wonderful response to the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge! It's really been fantastic and I hope I can live up to it's success so far. I was telling Nymeth in an email that I think Dewey would truly enjoy this, but she would certainly have something sarcastic to say over the sentimentality of it all :p I was a bit unclear in my last post...I'm putting everyone's names in the sidebar of the challenge blog, not on this if you don't see your name on the challenge blog and you've signed up, please let me know. Also, there are still plenty of slots open to host mini-challenges and I would love to have more people sign up for that! Please let me know if you want to and don't be shy!!! LOL...I've never hosted a challenge before and I honestly have no idea what I'm doing, so it can't be any worse than this :p Thank you all again! You're wonderful :)

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