Monthly Archives: December 2020

Author of the Week, Vera Brittain, December 29, 2020

To All My Readers here at Reading Fiction Blog.

Going forward into 2021, as readers let’s explore famous authors, both classic and contemporary. Once a week I will post  an Author of the Week and a quotation. Finding new authors and new books can be exciting and informative and I love doing the research. Here is my first Author of the Week. Do let me know if you like this addition to my blog.




“Politics is the executive expression of human immaturity.”


Her best-selling 1933 memoir, Testament of Youth, about WWI became a film.


Vera Brittain (1893-1970) documented her experiences as a nurse, in her autobiographical account “Testament of Youth.” She describes how the young nurses worked long hours, in poor conditions. Despite the privations, Vera recounts how she engaged in her duties with great enthusiasm.


Visit Vera Brittain page:

Watch the trailer for the film


Discover an Author Every Week here at Reading Fiction Blog.



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The Beauty of Christmas Legends

Saturday’s Tales for Christmas,  December 19, 2020

Shall we go back to our childhood days today? The mythical Santa Claus and his magical sleigh, a sweet babe in a manger who brings love to the world, bright star lights on evergreen trees, festive feasts of meats, sweets, and gingerbread houses, the lonely elf on the shelf, and perhaps a boozy eggnog. One more item we can’t forget are the Christmas legends and fairy tales that make our holidays so warm and memorable.


Who doesn’t remember The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen? If you’ve forgotten this sad but poignant story, you can read it here at American Literature. My mom used to tell us this story every Christmas Eve as we drove around town to see all the Christmas lights.  And, this story is especially dedicated to Grandmas, Nanas, and Gramzies because this is a grandparent story too.

The audio is a real treat. The Little Match Girl was meant to be a read-aloud.

Read it here at American Literature:

Listen to the audio storybook read by Ewan McGregor, with page-turning illustrations. Beautiful! 


There is another Christmas legend, less known and one you may not have read. The Christmas Spider (also known as The Spider’s Gift, The Spider’s Miracle, and other cultural variations), a folktale originally from the Ukraine.

I found this story in an old Christmas book. You will be pleasantly surprised how a story about a spider for Christmas will endear you to these odd little creatures.

Read it here, reproduced from my Christmas Book.

The gray spider worked very hard every day making long strands of silk that he wove into a web in which he caught troublesome flies. But he noticed that everyone turned away from him because, they said, he was so unpleasant to look at with his long crooked legs and furry body. Of course the gray spider didn’t believe that, because he had only the kindliest feelings for everybody.

One day when he was crossing the stream he looked into the water. There he saw himself as he really was. “Oh,” he thought, “I am very unpleasant to look at. I shall keep out of people’s way.” He was very sad and hid himself in the darkest corner of the stable.

There he again began to work as he always had, weaving long strands of silk into webs and catching flies. The donkey and the ox and the sheep who lived in the stable thanked him for his kindness, because now they were no longer bothered with the buzzing flies. That made the spider very happy.

One night, exactly at midnight, the gray spider was awakened by a brilliant light. He looked about and saw that the light came from the manger where a tiny Child lay on the hay. The stable was filled with glory, and over the Child bent a beautiful mother. Behind her stood a man with a staff in his hand, and the ox and the donkey and all the white sheep were down on their knees.

Suddenly a gust of cold wind swept through the stable and the Baby began to weep from the cold. The mother bent over Him but could not cover Him enough to keep Him warm.

The little spider took his silken web and laid it at Mary’s feet (for it was Mary) and Mary took up the web and covered the Baby with it. It was soft as thistledown and as warm as wool. The Child stopped His crying and smiled at the little gray spider.

Then Mary said, “Little gray spider, for this great gift to the Babe you may have anything you wish.”

“Most of all,” said the spider, “I wish to be beautiful.”

“That I cannot give you,” Mary answered. “You must stay as you are for as long as you live. But this I grant you. Whenever anyone sees a spider at evening, he will count it a good omen, and it shall bring him good fortune.”

This made the spider very happy, and to this day, on Christmas Eve, we cover the Christmas tree with “angel’s hair” in memory of the little gray spider and his silken web.












Wishing you all the happiest of holidays,  the gift of love, the gift of peace, and the magic of Christmas stories!


For one more Christmas story—one of my own creations—stop by my December 7, 2017 blog post for Christmas River Ghost. A ghostly holiday story about family, celebration, coming home, and a Christmas peacock.

“They come—through the icy wind, between the naked trees, walking the bridge, by Eagle Hill River … on Christmas Eve … ”

Read the Christmas River Ghost: 



Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

 Stop by every month or sign up to follow my blog to read one short story every month. 


Comments are welcome!


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Coronavirus, an Infection of Mind, Body, Spirit?

Coronavirus, an Infection of Mind, Body, Spirit?

Monday, December 7, 2020

While I don’t normally review nonfiction books here at Reading Fiction Blog, I am compelled to make an exception this one time. Judith Von Halle’s book The Coronavirus Pandemic, Anthroposophical Perspectives is a read that became for me transformative and inspiring. As I write this today, Covid-19 has spread at the highest rate and speed since it began at the start of 2020. Globally we are at 67 million cases with 1.5 million deaths. In the US, the virus is now the leading cause of death, surpassing heart disease and cancer (282,436 deaths and 14.7+ cases). Below is my review. I hope this opens a window on your understanding of this global event that is devastating human lives all over our planet.



Author Judith Von Halle writes an impressive, and brave, perspective on why the Coronavirus pandemic is happening to us at this time. She addresses the psychological aspects but focuses mostly on spiritual knowledge, spiritual reality, and “spiritual-science.”  The term spiritual-science drew my curiosity. This 100-page book is a monograph that I would often pause in the reading so I could reflect on the somewhat radical ideas. Some readers will find certain insights a bridge too far, as I did at times, but most of it makes convincing sense and offers the reader a unique understanding of Covid-19. Haven’t we all asked, “Why is this happening now? What is really going on here with all this sickness, death, and widespread contagion?” Speculative answers abound out there, but Von Halle points to the world’s present “disposition” as one of the causes. You will find a good deal of Austrian scientist and visionary Rudolph Steiner’s philosophy here. Steiner’s “anthroposophy” is defined a creative educational system that aims to optimize physical and mental well-being. Much of Halle’s book reflects this spiritual-scientific research.

Von Halle asks, What entities stand behind the virus and why is it affecting humans? What measures can we take to prevent it? Most importantly, what does this crisis mean to individuals and the world community? She answers all of these beginning with “There is the individual karma, the karma of a people, and the karma of humanity. In the case of Covid-19 all three are undeniably involved.”  Von Halle instructs that because this is a pandemic event, the karma of humanity is at stake.

“What are the spiritual causes for the origins of the pandemic?”  According to Von Halle’s research, the cause is “materialism, which has spread out over the entire earth, —and especially in humanity’s predominantly materialistic way of thinking.”

She explains this mindset: “Humanity as such has developed a ‘disposition’ for illness by this virus in that it has promoted and cherished materialism in its thinking for the past 150 years …. Today mankind is trapped within a degenerate development, because it does not accept and nurture spiritual life with sufficient dedication.”  The historical perspective on this is fascinating, from Europe’s recent “march of materialism” to back in time to other widespread infections like leprosy, cholera, typhus, anthrax, smallpox, tuberculosis, and the Spanish flu in 1918.

For Covid-19, she includes a description of the medical symptoms and their psychological components (the infection causing rigidity of the lungs that fail to absorb oxygen, which aligns with the fixed and obsessive materialistic thinking). The breathing apparatus grows stiff when “a life of free thinking is no longer possible.”

The second half of the book moves on to the fears and psychological aspects of the pandemic regarding social separation and isolation. She follows this with simple soul exercises targeting “the true, the beautiful, and the good.” Such prayerful thoughts were wonderfully comforting and inspiring for me.

At the end, the question arises, will we be victorious spirits in our world? Or will more pandemics occur to provide another opportunity to focus on our spirituality and develop our souls to achieve in our hearts “the true, the beautiful, and the good.” What is abundantly clear is that if you or family members are struggling with the effects of coronavirus, these 109 pages might bring meaning and purpose to your healing. If you are healthy and stable, this book can shatter the old destructive beliefs and shine a bright light into your life’s purpose in the world. Even if you disagree entirely with Halle’s perspectives and research, you will take away a deeper sense of yourself to your fellow man and the unifying elements of life on this planet. Most of her writing is heartfelt and intelligent and will undoubtedly provoke positive thoughts into the most narrowest of minds about consciousness, self-knowledge, and soul development. The world soul may very well be on a path to spiritual rebirth. Highly recommended.


“Revealing unexpected perspectives to the COVID-19 pandemic, Judith von Halle asks urgent and difficult questions and offers shattering insights for humankind’s future development.”

Some Amazon Reviews of Von Halle’s books:

“I find Judith Von Halle to be one of the most credible living authors I’ve encountered, and at the same time she seems to be amongst the least understood (I don’t think this is her fault). Some things take awhile to understand, and understanding the life we’re living seems to take the longest. I am so appreciative of J. Von Halle’s contribution.”

“Love all Judith von Halle’s books. Her insight is truly unique and truthful.”


JUDITH VON HALLE, born in Berlin in 1972, attended school in Germany and the USA and subsequently studied architecture, graduating in 1998. She first encountered anthroposophy in 1997, and began working as a member of staff at Rudolf Steiner House in Berlin, where she also lectured from 2001. In addition she had her own architectural practice. In 2004 she received the stigmata, which transformed her life. Her first book was published in German in 2005, and she now works principally as a lecturer and author. She lives in Berlin with her husband.

Temple Lodge Publishing, U.K.



 Rudolf Steiner

 Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), read his biography here at Encyclopedia of World Biographies. Steiner remains an imperfectly understood and often controversial figure. 


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