Ralphie Parker and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun are just as much a part of holiday traditions as any Rankin and Bass special. Humorist Jean Shepherd based A Christmas Story on several of his previously published short stories about his boyhood in Indiana. Some of those gems originated in Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters, a book that brings the funny out of all-American rites of passage. From the schoolyard misadventures of Delbert Bumpus to the title story about a junior prom, Shepherd makes it much easier to laugh at adolescence than it was to live through it. After all, who could resist “Daphne Bigelow and the Spine-chilling Saga of the Snail-encrusted Tinfoil Noose”?