December’s Monthly Stories and Poems
The end of the calendar year is often a busy time, but also a time where we reflect on what has happened over the year and where we find ourselves in our own lives. Not only that, it is often bound up with traditions, leading us to think about our place in the communities that are close to us, as well as in the wider world. December’s Stories and Poems give us plenty of opportunity to stop and pause, as we drop in on the lives of a number of different characters in their own unique situations – some of those situations will feel closer to us than others, yet all of them draw connections to what it is to be a human navigating the journey of life.
We continue to look to this year’s Reader Bookshelf for literature that connects us. Featured texts this month come from one of the short stories taken from the collection Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, an extract from The Crossing by Manjeet Mann – a book featured on the Children’s Bookshelf, and a poem from the anthology This Same Sky, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.
Some of those we meet in this month’s stories and extracts are taking journeys in the most physical sense of the word, discovering how their travels are having an impact on how they see themselves as well as the world. Through relocation, we can find our worlds shifting and we might find ourselves wanting to keep hold of moments of familiarity to help us feel stable, and in some cases, so we can build foundations for new homes and ways of being. But what happens when home is somewhere that has a lesser impact upon our wellbeing? As we approach the season of goodwill, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that moments of magic and wonder can be found where we might least expect them.
December’s stories and extracts are:
Times have changed from the times they used to be (extract from Under the Greenwood Tree) by Thomas Hardy
This Blessed House by Jhumpa Lahiri – from Interpreter of Maladies
150 days before (extract from The Crossing) by Manjeet Mann
A Voyage to Brobdingnag (extract from Gulliver’s Travels) by Jonathan Swift
The Partridge by Martin A. Hansen
A special thanks goes to Trine, one of our international Reader Leaders in Denmark, who has recommended The Partridge as part of December’s pack.
There are many different moods contained in this month’s poetry selections, and we may find ourselves moving through them in a time when we can feel lots of emotions, sometimes all at once. As with the stories and extracts, December’s poems remind us that, often, two states of being that seem to be opposites can exist in the same space at the same time. We might also feel ourselves inspired to find our own simple moments of wonder, regardless of whether or not they are accompanied by the fall of snowflakes.
Pride by Dahlia Ravikovitch (translated by Chana Bloch and Ariel Bloch) – from This Same Sky
December Morning in the Desert by Alberto Ríos
Comprehending It Not by Norman Nicholson
Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare
The Snowflakes Sail Gently Down by Gabriel Okara
If you're a Reader Leader head to the Online Community Hub to download this month's selection.
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