LocalLit book preview: A literary way to celebrate Christmas in July

‘Keeping Christmas’ anthology has story by mother of former New Lenox resident

Earlier this year, when I reviewed “Thornsby by Fred McLaren: The Complete Comic Collection” and then wrote An Extraordinary Life story about Fred McLaren, I only lightly touched on one important point.

Anf that point was how Fred McLaren’s mother, Matilda Rose McLaren, a homemaker, was also a freelance writer. When talking to McLaren’s son Tom McLaren, Tom felt Matilda partly inspired Fred’s creativity.

Tom also mentioned that one of Matilda’s stories was featured in an anthology called “Keeping Christmas: The Celebration of an American Holiday.”

The anthology, published in 1990, includes pieces by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, Langston Huges and Earl Hamner Jr.

Tom was proud (and rightly so) that his grandmother and Illinois writer had a piece included in this collection. The McLaren family lived in New Lenox for many years.

Of course, I had to order a copy. It’s this book I’ll be reviewing in Tuesday’s LocalLit newsletter.

Its Amazon description is brief: “Nineteenth and twentieth-century stories depict the meaning of Christmas for a variety of Americans.”

The book is available on Amazon and other sites that carry used books.

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Denise  Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.