Five Best Stories About Memorable Celebrations

From a Wall Street Journal column headlined “Five Best: Stories of Memorable Celebrations”:

Selected by Dana Brown, the author, most recently, of ‘Dilettante: True Tales of Excess, Triumph, and Disaster.’

Appointment in Samarra
By John O’Hara (1934)

1. This deliciously dark novel takes place in a 1930s Pennsylvania town during the Christmas holidays. Told from multiple perspectives, what begins as a detailed social exposition about small-town America takes a sharp turn when the focus shifts to Julian English. Julian seems to have everything—beautiful wife, successful business, high social standing—and proceeds to lose it all over the course of 72 hours due to three drunken, self-destructive episodes.