Joe P. Asher
The Edsel T. Godbey Appalachian Center on the campus of Southeast Community and Technical College hosted a reading and book signing for the recently published Kentucky’s Twelve Days of Christmas: A Wealth of Kentucky Holiday Tales.
Two of the authors featured in the book, Kentucky author and Benham native James B. Goode and Stephen M. Vest, read excerpts from the book and answered questions on Monday.
According to Goode, the editor of the collection, the book covers “a range of themes from those that wax nostalgic to those that examine the dark side of holiday dysfunction.”
“Christmas stories, poems and songs were being written by Kentucky writers almost from the beginning of the Commonwealth in 1792,” said Goode. “The amount of quality material not anthologized far exceeded expectations.”
Goode noted the idea for the book came about in 2011.
“This began as a conversation between Steve and myself in the summer of 2011,” said Goode. “I had known Steve previously because I published in his magazine.”
The book is divided into 12 sections, reflecting the 12 days of Christmas. The stories and poems included in the book were all written by Kentucky authors, some better known than others. The book includes works by Goode, Vest, Harriette Arnow, Wendell Berry, Sallie Bingham, Irvin S. Cobb and others.
“Originally it was a book of Christmas material that had been published in Kentucky Monthly,” said Goode. “That was sort of the seed of the idea. And as we discussed this, we discovered there were only two Christmas anthologies that have ever been published that involved Kentucky writers.”
Vest said it was a little know fact that a well known Christmas song, included in the book, was written by a Kentucky writer.
“We discovered a few things too. Did you know ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ has a Kentucky connection?” asked Vest. “Haven Gillespe (co-writer of the song) is from Covington. He wrote that as well as about 700 hit songs as well as one recently recorded by George Straight.”
The book is available in most book stores, and can be ordered online at www.kentuckymonthly.com.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com