Joseph Bottum on a Dakota Christmas

This week’s edition of Coffee & Markets is appropriately focused on Christmas. Pejman and I are joined by Joseph Bottum, author of the surprise Kindle Single hit Dakota Christmas, to discuss his upbringing on the plains of the Dakotas, the difference between rural and urban perspectives, literature in the age of the internet, the impact of technology on reading and learning, and more.

Dakota Christmas is a bit of a surprise hit for the author.  The Washington Times:

As far as Christmas miracles go, it ranks somewhere between virgin birth and the Sisyphean persistence of fruitcake.

A writer loses a plum magazine-editing job in New York City, decamping to his native South Dakota. Out of the blue, a major online publisher asks him to adapt and expand an 11-year-old piece about his holiday memories. The resulting essay, warm and wise, becomes a surprise electronic best-seller – topping works by authors such as Nicholas Sparks and Tom Clancy – and a small beacon of hope for a beleaguered profession struggling to survive in the digital age.

“It’s been sweet,” said Joseph Bottum, who has recently lived that scenario. “What else could one want for a Christmas piece?”

A freelance writer and former editor at the conservative religious journal First Things, Mr. Bottum is the author of “Dakota Christmas,” a top seller for Amazon’s Kindle, an electronic reader and e-bookstore.

By turns serious and comic, the piece offers a richly detailed, loosely chronological account of Mr. Bottum’s bookish boyhood on the Dakota plains, reflecting on both the spiritual and secular meanings of the holiday season in a sentimental, melancholic manner reminiscent of the animated television classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I will post my review shortly.

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Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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