By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated November 04, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

Tinsel

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  • Book

Washington journalist Hank Stuever approaches his study of Christmas excess as an exercise in American anthropology, picking conservative northeast Texas as his Samoa and living among the natives in order to observe their strip-mall shopping rituals over three holiday seasons. While he occasionally lapses into bewildered snark, overcome by all those megastores and megachurches, he still manages to find the heart in his characters’ obsessive consumerism. By Tinsel‘s end, he’s come to the somewhat jolly realization that no matter how prepackaged and homogenized the holiday has become, something about it remains inviolably personal. B

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Tinsel

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