The Carols of Christmas: A Booklook Blogger Review

Christmastime is here…

Okay, so not really, but who is with me in looking forward to the Christmas season? One of my favorite things about the holiday is the music. I have several books which talk about the stories behind the hymns, but I had yet to come across one which focused on the Christmas Carols…until now!

What first struck me was the simplicity of the layout. I love that each of the 21 songs are categorized into themes. Topics range from specific dates, to Scripture, to aspects of the season. I do think I would have preferred the topics be more consistent, like all Scripture references or all aspects of the season. There are one or more songs included, both religious and secular. I was a little surprised to find the secular songs included, but found their stories just as interesting. 
I was pleasantly surprised by the details in this book. Each of the songs is studied in depth to a degree I did not expect. The author delves into the backgrounds and lives of the lyricists and composers in much more detail than I thought. While it is interesting, in some ways it distracts from what I am most interested in, which is a concise understanding of the song’s story. There are also moments of explanation about the musical aspects, which as a musician I did find interesting, but I think it could be a little too much information for those who may not be musically inclined. 

Perhaps it is because of my experience with other stories-behind-the-songs books, but this one did not keep my attention the way I had hoped. I would most likely use this as a reference book rather than just sit and read it through for pleasure. Still, the writing is high quality and well done and I think it would be very helpful tool for musicians and church leadership alike during the Christmas season.

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