Blue Christmas & Christmas Bliss

I want to quickly mention a book series by Mary Kay Andrews I’ve fallen in love with this holiday season. I happened upon this series while searching for positive and uplifting holiday reads. I read Blue Christmas first and enjoyed it so much I had to get Christmas Bliss, which I’m still reading and am enjoying just as much.

The main character, Weezie Foley, is a strong female character, and her best friend Bebe has attitude you’ll also love. Weezie’s an antique/junk dealer and many of the scenes include her wheeling and dealing to acquire the used treasures. The setting in Savannah also works well with the stories.

While these are the only books in the series I’ve read so far, I found them light and charming reads and am looking forward to reading more in the series.

Favorite Book of the Month: A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

I’m starting a new feature. At the end of every month I’ll post a review about my favorite read. I’m posting a little early due to the holiday. In December my favorite read was A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Here’s what it’s about:

Taking its place next to Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood on the Modern Library bookshelf is this new and original edition of Capote’s most famous short stories: “A Christmas Memory,” “One Christmas”, and “A Thanksgiving Memory.” All three stories are distinguished by Capote’s delicate interplay of childhood sensibility and recollective vision.

This was the first time I read A Christmas Memory and the other short stories in this collection. I’m a little shocked by that. It’s a book many of us older kids have read in high school English class, although it’s also suitable for middle schoolers.

What wonderful stories these are! Written in the perspective of the main character, Buddy, and based on Capote’s childhood during the Great Depression, it still holds up as entertaining today. Great lessons in human nature, these stories will have you both laughing and crying. This is a collection I could read every holiday season.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

A Very Special Ugly Christmas Sweater

My son was on the lookout for an ugly Christmas sweater to wear to work today. Unfortunately, it’s been another year of not finding them plentiful in stores. This surprises me considering a report I watched on the news about how popular they’ve become along with the ugly Christmas sweater parties. So I told him I’d make him a sweater if he drew up the design. Since it was a bit too late to knit him one, he gave me an old sweater and I improvised. This is made with a standard man’s sweater, felt, tiny pom pom balls, buttons, glue, and like colored thread. We’re both pretty happy with how this turned out. Very easy to make in a few hours.

Book Review: Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

This week’s holiday spotlight is a review or Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien. Here’s what it’s about:

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange, spidery handwriting and a beautiful colored drawing or some sketches.

The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents everywhere; how the accident-prone North Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house.

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humor to the stories.

This updated version contains a wealth of new material, including letters and pictures missing from early editions. No No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and “authenticity” of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.

The version of Letters from Father Christmas I read was beautifully done. With actual envelopes inside and all the illustrations included, it was like reading the real letters. The fact that Tolkien did this for his kids amazed me. The amount of work he put into the stories and the illustrations . . . WOW. And the polar bear Tolkien added to the usual mix of North Pole characters added to the charm of the letters. This collection shows a side Tolkien’s sense of humor I didn’t know he had. I was laughing out loud. I wanted to buy all my family and friends a copy as a gift this Christmas.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

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