Heart of the Holidays
2007 / Sparkle Press
Review by Kathy Parsons
Heart of the Holidays is a charming and uplifting collection of recollections, poems, and quotations about the holiday season. Author Sheryl Roush is a motivational speaker and trainer who has written and compiled ten books so far. Two of them, Heart of a Mother and Heart of the Holidays, have included music CDs to accompany the text. The Holidays CD contains eight pieces from Laurie Z.’s 2001 Heart of the Holidays, her joyful, beautiful, (and tragically her last) collection of holiday music.
The book itself has six chapters: “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” “Yuletide Around the Globe,” “Hanukkah,” “Winter Solstice,” and “Ringing In the New Year.” The majority of essays, poems, and quotes come from American women, but there are thoughts and ideas from men and women from around the world, several different cultures, and various faiths. Some of the stories about the holidays are fairly commonly-shared experiences while others are deeply personal. Some are funny and some are heartwarming, but all were selected to share and uplift the true spirit of these various holidays and celebrations. A few writers shared interesting traditions from their own families that could prove meaningful to others. I especially liked one parent’s suggestion that before any gifts can be opened on Christmas, the recipient is required to express something he or she is grateful for. Sometimes these kinds of books can be a bit too sugarcoated, but I really enjoyed this one, and it got me thinking about the memorable Christmases of my own life.
The accompanying CD contains eight selections: two of Laurie Z.’s originals, two Chanukah songs that Laurie arranged, her arrangements of “What Child Is This?” “Carol of the Bells,” a medley of “Deck the Halls” and “Angels We Have Heard On High,” and Jack Palance’s smile-making reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” It’s a wonderful sampler of Laurie’s music. (The full-length CD is still available at most online music outlets, and my review of the full album is at www.MainlyPiano.com.)
This is a lovely book that would make a great gift. Pick one up for yourself, too, and bask in the warm glow that comes from sharing the special times of the season.
November 12, 2008