Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Christmas Presents

Ask and ye shall receive! I received 7 books for Christmas, my highest haul ever, I believe. Included in the stack is The Sandman Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman who I talked about on July 21, Sept. 24, and Sept. 9 (I'm not sure which years). Gaiman has written children's books, but his adult work is also popular with the YA crowd. I read American Gods with the YA Reading Group at Readerville.

Don't know when I'll get to read this book or any of the books I got for Christmas, since I have a big stack from the library I need to get through. What to do, what to do.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Christmas Present II

I planned to check out really new Christmas books while I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday, but I forgot. I forgot both times I was there.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Christmas Present

I find nostalgia a little boring, myself, so after spending some time browsing the Christmas picture books I'd bought in the past, I decided to look for some new ones. By new ones, I mean, books at the library that I haven't read before.

An interesting book I stumbled upon was Christmas at Anna's by Kate Spohn. I didn't find much about this book on-line other then the fact that it is owned by a number of libraries. One of the things that interested me about it is that the author wrote another book I was very fond of back in my young mother days, Ruth's Bake Shop. No link for you on that one, either, because it appears to be out of print. I'm having trouble finding sites that even include the covers of these two books.

Here's the deal on Christmas at Anna's--these two kids go to spend Christmas with their artie cousin, Anna. Anna has a studio and does things like inviting friends over to make wreaths Christmas Eve. Now, the kids I know really don't care to do artie things, especially at Christmas. Or, if they do, they don't want to do them outside of school. That's where artie Christmas stuff belongs, right?

However, I'd like to do artie things at Christmas time, so I liked the book. The illustrations threw me for a while, though. They are very rough, sort of amateurish, almost as if a child did them. A child who was a better artist then I was or am, but still, they seemed childish.

Then, I thought, wait a minute, Gail. This book is told by a child narrator. So the illustrations are the kinds of illustrations a child telling this story might make!

Very, very cool idea.

Now if someone looks for information on Kate Spohn or one of these two books, they might end up here.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Christmas Past III

I have tried three times to post an entry about one of the last Christmas books I bought for my family--Haunting Christmas Tales. The first two times the posts DISAPPEARED!!!. Is that haunting or what?

I'm not including a link because all the sites for this book I found sound essentially the same--"Nine haunting Christmas stories...blah, blah, blah." Plus my searching capacity is glacial today. Plus I've already done it twice. I'm worried about growing old and dying in front of my computer.

Anyway, the entire family refused to read this book. If I have time this year, I'll give it a go between Christmas and New Year's. That will be festive.

Okay, I posted the title for this entry and was able to at least keep that much. Let's see what happens now.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Christmas Past II

Another Christmas book I bought for my family back in our murky past, was Santa Calls by William Joyce whose A Year With Wilbur Robinson is one of my all-time favorite picture books.

Joyce is capable of not only drawing in a retro style, he can write in a retro style, too. Santa Calls harkens back to the days of adventure. And it has a heart-tugging ending.

I'll have to see if I can get the little nippers to read it again this year.

Christmas is less then a week away. I haven't finished decorating my tree. Gotta go.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Christmas Past

When my children were small, I would buy a children's Christmas book each year for a present to the family. One of our favorites was Bialosky's Christmas. Wish I could give you a nice link, but the book was published nearly 20 years ago, and most of the Internet sites that mention it are used book sites.

Anyway, Bialosky was a bear who woke up Christmas Eve morning, realized what day it was, and went about getting ready for Christmas. I just loved reading about him making decorations for his Christmas tree, cooking an all honey menu for Christmas dinner, and making presents.

But when I was just rereading it, I thought, How unrealistic. Going out to get a Christmas tree, putting it up, and decorating it with ornaments from the attic is an entire day's job all by itself, forget about making the ornaments. And making presents? He would have had to have started back in September or October. Even Christmas Dinner can't be done in one day. The baking has to start weeks before, and the rest of it is two, maybe three, days of work.

No wonder the book is out of print.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

His Dark Materials Adapted for Theater

Or should I say "theatre" since we're talking about a London production? Either way, a two-part adaptation of his work is supposed to be staged by the National Theatre in London this Christmas, and it has set a house record for pre-performance bookings.

Though I loved The Golden Compass, I was nowhere near as fond of the second book in the trilogy and gave up on reading the third one. The books are heavy on religion of a rather mysterious nature as far as I was concerned. I'm not objecting to whatever religious philosophy Pullman was writing about. I'm objecting to the fact that I couldn't figure out what he was writing about. However, the article regarding the theater production that I linked to above goes along way to explaining what was going on. You see, you have to have read Paradise Lost by John Milton. You have to have read Paradise Lost, which I did while I was in college, and you have to have understood it, which I didn't.


Evidently there were also references to Blake, Keats, and Dante that I didn't get, either.

Nonetheless, there is talk of a movie version, which I would probably go see hoping the screenwriter would be better educated that I am and clear everything up for me.