Saturday, January 1, 2022

Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack

Baked Alaska by Josi S. Kilpack is the 9th book in the Culinary Mysteries series with the brave and likable Sadie Hoffmiller on another adventure.
As always, Sadie isn't looking for trouble, but it still manages to find her. She is on a cruise to Alaska with Shawn and Brianna her adult children and her boyfriend Pete, hoping that she can finally relax and stop worrying about when she's going to trip over another dead body. But as in the other books, trouble seems to find poor Sadie. First, she and her boyfriend come upon a woman who has been drugged and is nearly dead (but for their intervention she probably would have been) and then another passenger on their cruise mysteriously dies! All this stacked upon Sadie's worries about her children, including her daughter Brianna's upcoming wedding of which Brianna's mother-in-law to be seems determined to take control! How will all this play out? Read this delightful mystery and find out! Baked Alaska was first published in 2013.

The Night Before Christmas Directed by Arthur Rankin Jr.

The Night Before Christmas purportedly by Clement Clarke Moore was made into a delightful movie for children in 1974. It was directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. and based on the short story/poem of the same name. It is a sweet Christmas movie appropriate to watch around Christmastime.
It is geared toward children, but adults would love it as well. Rather than showing just the story of The Night Before Christmas itself, it also includes part of the life of the author and suggests what inspired him to come up with the story in the first place. Mr. Moore's daughter Charity wants a book about Santa Claus for Christmas. But what is he to do when he realizes there are no books published about Santa Claus? And worse, what are he and his wife Catherine to do when Charity gets sick with pneumonia? Watch the movie HERE and find out! You can find more movies directed by Arthur Rankin Jr. on Amazon HERE!

The Elves and the Shoemaker by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) is a cute Chistmas/Winter time story about an old couple who are very poor. The husband is a shoemaker, and while he works hard, he and his wife have fallen on hard times. He has just enough leather to make one more pair of shoes; he cuts out the leather, goes to bed, and then in the morning when he and his wife wake up, to their astonishment, they find that someone has come in the night, and made the leather into a beautiful pair of shoes!
Who could have done it? And who keeps coming back, night after night, making the leather the shoemaker buys into more and more pairs of shoes? Read the story and find out along with the shoemaker and his wife, who is doing such a kind deed for them! The Elves and the Shoemaker is a cute story for children but can be enjoyed by adults as well. It was first published in 1806.

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen is a post-Christmas story (taking place on New Year's Eve) and is a rather sad story. I don't want to give the ending away, but rather than ending happy, it teaches its reader to think about others. The little match girl (I don't believe we ever learn her name) belongs to a poor family.
Her father is abusive, and she doesn't have very nice things. She's barefoot in the middle of winter, and is forced to sell matches in the streets. She doesn't dare to go home, because, having not sold any, her dad with punish her if she doesn't bring some money back. She has a few fond memories of her grandmother who died the previous year, and when she decides to strike one precious match against a wall to try to warm herself, she is reminded of her grandmother. The Little Match Girl is a good story for children and adults to read and discuss together. It was first published in 1845.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Night Before Christmas-Clement Clarke Moore

The Night Before Christmas (also known as A Visit From Saint Nicholas) purportedly written by Clement Clarke Moore, is a sweet children's story about a man's encounter
with Saint Nicholas when he visit's the house of the man and his family. It is a big reason for the current image of Santa Claus, his reindeer's number and names (excluding Rudolph who wasn't alive yet) his mode of transporation, and his penchant of getting into people's houses through their chimneys and out again. It is a sweet, rhythmical story perfect for children to hear especially around Christmas time! The poem was first published in 1823.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is an enduring Christmas classic for many reasons. The story of an unfeeling, pragmatic person coming to an understanding that his inaction is going to lead to not only a bad end for himself but for others as well, and making a change for the better is something that connects with many people. Old Ebenezer Scrooge is not a hardened criminal. He hasn't done anything illegal. But his greed and his
selfishness have made him into a mean old miser. When his old business partner's ghost (Jacob Marley has been dead for seven years) and three other ghosts, one after the other, pay Mr. Scrooge a visit, he begins to realize what an idiot he's been. While Charles Dickens is a bit wordy (writers tended to be back in those days) the story is still a wonderful tale of hope and redemption, and I highly recommend it. A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, performed by Patrick Stewart

I have enjoyed listening to Patrick Stewart's naration of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for the past few years. It is a fantastic performance of the best parts of the book. Patrick Stewart does not narrate the book word for word, and it makes a story more powerful, in my opinion. His voice does a great job performing the voices of the various characters of Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Mrs. Cratchit, and all the others.
Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge is a penny pinching, pragmatic man who doesn't commit crimes, but doesn't show compassion to his fellow humans either. One Christmas Eve night, he is visited by the spirit of his old business partner, Jacob Marley who has been dead for exactly seven years. After this visit, he is visited by three other ghosts, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. And he is spurred on to change his ways, or he will die a lonely death, forgotten by everybody. But worse, little Tim Cratchit a small boy with a disease like rickets or renal tubular acidosis will die as well if Scrooge doesn't change his ways! Does Scrooge make the change to save both himself and little Tim? Read the book, or listen to Patrick Stewart's audio narration of the story, and find out! A Christmas Carol was originally published in 1843. Patrick Stewart's production was fist published in 1991.