Monday, December 16, 2013

This Year's Introduction

The above photograph from my latest reading of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, is taken from a charming notice I found on line, from Rosemary, who I hope will not mind the liberty if I reproduce it here.

Below, would be the text of this year's introduction which I share for any that might be interested.  Call it, a statement of faith.

Welcome everybody! As most everyone here already knows, I'm Brad Craft, a bookseller here at the University Bookstore, and every year, I read aloud Truman Capote's little masterpiece, A Christmas Memory, among other things. Well, 'tis the season again.

'Tis the season, as they say, of Joy; “Joy to the world” and “Joyeux Noel,” “repeat,” indeed, “the sounding Joy,” etc. Joy, it seems, is all all over the place, under the tree, ours for the taking, everywhere you look, right underfoot, and to be had for a song. I read, and read aloud, for Joy. Joy, not of the sacred sort, perhaps, but joy nonetheless. Joy in the discovery of books, in the wonder of them. Joy in the familiar and the new. Joy in the sound of poetry and the resonance of great prose. Joy in the apt phrase and the original thought, in the expression of the individual mind, in the comic scene and the perfect sentiment. Like everyone else, I read to be moved, and amused, informed and entertained. I read to be made better by reading, and I read just to pass the time. I read aloud, as I say, for the joy of it – not, I would hasten to add, for any satisfaction with the sound of my own voice, all appearance to the contrary. I read aloud rather to remind myself, and any who might listen, that in literature there is Joy. In one way, the oldest way, to read aloud is to set that Joy at large; to say the words aloud, to hang even the old and familiar words, as it were, once again in the fresh air.

We know this Joy in the noise of words from the first words we say, and for which we are cossetted and made much of. And when our children and grandchildren want the same story read to them again, and again, and again, we are reminded – again – that the sound is how we, most of us, come to the sense. Sound is the source: of memory, of literature, of our primary communion with our fellow beings – though – noting the exception – it's true, I can't really speak for any of you more contemplative types, ye Buddhists and Quakers and the like. I'll leave you to shift for yourselves.

As for me, I read Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory aloud then, every year, for the Joy of it. (Remember this, please when I get to the sad bits. As Montaigne said, "The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it."  And he would know better than me, about everything, frankly.)

And so, A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote.


  1. I wished I could be there.
    I bet you have an outstanding voice.
    Is there a CD of your reading?


    Linde Lund

  2. No, but an earlier rendition is available in 6 parts on Thanks for asking!