Movies are not my thing. Really, not my thing so I think I’ve seen the standard Christmas movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Christmas Story maybe once or twice in my lifetime. I am not a huge fan of the mush or the overly sentimental either unless it is done just right and I am, like Simon over at Savidge Reads, a bit of a scrooge, especially when it comes to movies and spending pots of money on ridiculous gifts. However, there are two Christmas films that have entered my heart and become a much-looked-forward to treat at this time of the year. One is a classic, black and white, old Hollywood production. The other is a contemporary multi-storyline blockbuster. Both are fantastic!
The Bishop’s Wife (1947). Magical, heartwarming, charming, old-fashioned and beautiful. Cary Grant and Loretta Young are irresistible as the angel Dudley and the neglected bishop’s wife, Julia. David Niven is perfection as the distracted bishop. This is a lovely favorite that I watch every year on Christmas Eve.
Love Actually (2003). Funny, touching, romantic. Many stars appear in this interconnected set of stories. Liam Neeson! Emma Thompson! Hugh Grant! Keira Knightley! Alan Rickman! Colin Firth! So many marvelous actors, yet Bill Nighy steals the show as the aging rock star Billy Mack. I think it is a perfect companion to The Bishop’s Wife – something nice and something naughty.
How about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas film?
One of the joys of this season for me is the music. I absolutely love to sing and Christmas songs are so wonderful to sing to. And because we’ve heard them a million times throughout our lives we know the words to them! Here are some of my favorite Christmas albums – what are yours?
My favorite Christmas music.
Johnny Mathis ~ Merry Christmas. How wonderful is this man? His voice is so smooth and velvety and it is at its best singing these standard holiday tunes.
Mariah Carey ~ Merry Christmas. Yes, yes, I know Mariah is kind of a joke now, but this Christmas CD is fantastic. Who doesn’t like ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’?
Vince Guaraldi Trio ~ A Charlie Brown Christmas. This takes me right back to childhood when I used to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on tv every year. It makes me feel very nostalgic.
CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra ~ Christmas Goes Baroque. I love the nice, peaceful tone of this lovely CD. There are some surprising arrangements of familiar songs here that make them interesting again.
The Lower Lights ~ Come Let Us Adore Him. This mainly Utah based group of musicians have produced a marvelous folksy take on traditional hymns and holiday favorites.
She & Him ~ A Very She & Him Christmas. Mellow, sixties-flavored tunes from actress Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.
Do you have any favorite Christmas albums?
It’s Black Friday here in the States, but I have no interest in entering the fray. Shopping frustrates me under normal circumstances so I blissfully stay home while everyone else is out fighting for that amazing deal. I’d rather use the time to read as I am back at work tomorrow, although I might venture out later to use a Barnes and Noble coupon that is facing expiration.
I love the discounts that can be had on books this time of year. I usually end up purchasing several books for myself for Christmas because I can’t pass up the special offers of 20, 30 or 40 % off. And I urge my family to buy me books, as well, though many of them see it as a waste of their money.
What books are you hoping to get as gifts this year, either from others or from yourself?
Here are my choices:
The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt was recently awarded the National Book Award for non-fiction. The fascinating tale of the discovery of Lucretius’s poem On the Nature of Things and how his philosophy influenced the major figures of the Renaissance has received mixed reviews, but I think it sounds riveting.
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie has become a major hit in my library system. I love reading biographies of women rulers (last year at this time I read Cleopatra by Stacey Schiff) and I know next to nothing about Catherine and would like to know more.
A Jury of Her Peers by Elaine Showalter is a wonderful tome that I have taken out of the library many times. I’ve finally realized that I need my own copy as I think I will refer to this book throughout my reading life.
How about you? What books are you hoping Santa brings your way?
I missed Pryday last week, but am back this week with a question about commenting. Does anyone else ever feel nervous or ambivalent about commenting on blogs? Or am I just a weirdo? I sometimes get a huge complex about my comments not being good enough, smart enough or articulate enough when I want to comment on blog posts and then I end up not commenting and wish I had. There are a few blogs that I have read for years (I won’t name them) that are so intelligently written, funny and sophisticated yet they completely intimidate me and so I have never, ever commented on even one post.
Does anyone else experience commenting anxiety or worry about how you come across in your comments? Tell me.
The library I work for is entering phase one of a major remodeling project to be completed, hopefully, by February. The library is nearly 12 years old and is in dire need of new carpeting (heavily trafficked areas are currently held together with duct tape), paint and a better configuration of the furniture and computers. I’m really excited about the changes that are coming and will happily sacrifice comfort during the construction phase. I am the kind of person who is affected by the environment I’m in and have been known to avoid certain stores if I don’t like the “feel” of them. For instance, there is a well known bookstore in my area that has great used books and reasonable prices, but I refuse to shop there because it is smelly, dirty and not pleasing to the eye. But I’ve discovered that not everyone cares about the atmosphere of the library or stores they use. My cousin mentioned that she doesn’t care one bit about what her library looks like or how it is arranged – she’s just there to gather her books and go. This observation has made me curious:
Do you care about the atmosphere or feel of your library or bookstore? Are you affected by how it looks or smells?
Hoover, Alabama Public Library