2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Books make seriously awesome gifts, but you’ve got to give the right ones. Giving hardcore science fiction to someone who only reads historical romance may not go over very well. If you’re totally at a loss of what  books to give this year, I’m here to help. I’m going to skew this towards newer books, so you can be reasonably confident that your gift receiver won’t already have it, but I may make some additional suggestions as well. If it is a book I have reviewed, the title will link to the review. Hopefully everyone you need to buy for is represented here in one way or another.

Continue reading 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Audiobook Thoughts (Sound Bytes)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, narrated by Simon Prebble
Published in audio by Blackstone Audio

Synopsis:

Yeah, I’m guessing most of you actually already know the basic idea behind A Christmas Carol.

Thoughts on the story:

I don’t know you guys, I mean, whoa, Dickens sure isn’t subtle about his MORAL. But on the other hand, even in the most fun adaptations, A Christmas Carol has a very obvious MORAL, so I was less bothered than I might otherwise have been, solely because I 100% expected it. That being said, I’m not sure I actually particularly enjoyed A Christmas Carol, I think it is much more entertaining with Muppets or animated Disney characters.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Simon Prebble is great, he gives a solid performance, and I have no qualms about recommending him.

Overall:

If you’re in the mood for A Christmas Carol, you could do much worse than this version, I think overall it is a bit easier to take in audio than in print.

If you want to hear more of my thoughts about A Christmas Carol, they were the subject of the latest What’s Old is New Classics Rip.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio*
Indiebound: Audio*

I will be on hiatus through the end of the year, please feel free to link up any audiobook reviews during that time. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: .
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
Published by Viking Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin

There is a lot to do during the holidays: buying presents, making cookies, putting up decorations, and doing a million little things. This is all a lot to handle for a little llama who is getting dragged to and fro with his mama llama. Llama Llama is more than a bit frazzled and overwhelmed by the whole thing. Finally, his little self is unable to handle it any more and he throws a temper tantrum. Luckily, Llama Llama has a smart mama who, though she lost site of his tolerance a bit while trying to get ready for the holidays, does realize that the point of all of this is to create an atmosphere for togetherness, and that she needs to not let preparations get in the way of time with her little llama. She explains all this to Llama Llama, and takes time out of her busyness to sit still and cuddle with him, which helps to stop the llama drama.

This is our second Llama Llama book, and both Daniel and I are big fans. The illustrations are adorable, and Llama Llama is the typical extremely cute and occasionally frustrating toddler. He has very toddler reactions, which means that Daniel can relate, understand, and empathize (“Llama Llama is SAD!”). His mama is both firm and loving, a great role model for fallible parents who might similarly forget their child’s limits during holiday preparations. My only real criticism of Llama Llama Holiday Drama is that it didn’t seem to scan quite as well as Llama Llama Red Pajama. Still, though, we will absolutely be buying and reading more of Dewdney’s Llama Llama books.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
 
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TSS: Let it Snow

We’re in the middle of a winter storm until midnight tonight, although we’re only supposed to get 3-5 inches over all that time. Still, though, I think this is going to be sort of a quiet day at home. At the moment, Daniel and I are watching Elmo, hopefully that won’t be true the whole day long. He does like Elmo a whole lot, though:

I think that I’ll probably make my famous fudge (which is mostly just the same as the back of the marshmallow fluff jar, with a few alterations) for my work cookie exchange while Daniel is napping today, because this fudge takes a few days to set. We’re also going to go and make Christmas cookies with my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law after Daniel’s nap. I’m sure that, on the way, we will play in the snow as well, because Daniel has been having a lot of fun with that this week.

Although I had lots of fun taking videos of Daniel this week, I didn’t get much reading done. In fact, I only finished two books, both of which I also reviewed already (covers link to post):

In addition to those two, I also posted the list for my List Exchange Challenge with Nicole, and reviewed these books:

Hopefully I’ll get a little more read this week

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Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – Audiobook Review

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

“Holidays on Ice” is not really summary-able, since it is a collection of humorous stories in the vein of most of David Sedaris’ work. As you might guess, this one focused primarily on holiday-related stories. Most, but not all, were Christmas-centric, including Sedaris’ hilarious recitation of his time working as an elf for a department store Santa.

Any time you want to read David Sedaris, I will always suggest that you listen to the audio. Sedaris reading his own work is quite entertaining, but Sedaris on paper seems to lose something for me. Being able to hear his interpretation is simply invaluable.

All of that said, “Holidays on Ice” was not my favorite Sedaris. He was on form, and his stories about his own life were hilarious as always, but there was an additional component to this work I haven’t seen in some of his other books. In addition to humorous memoir, there were also some pieces that were simply written as darkly humorous bits. These sections dragged. Sedaris’ work is funny because it is about him. These additional pieces – a faux Christmas letter written by a woman having a terrible year and a ‘sermon’ by a television producer wanting to create a mini-series based on a small town’s Christmas miracle – felt like they were trying too hard. Perhaps those pieces actually would have worked better as the written word, since I like to hear Sedaris relate his own story.

Sedaris’s pieces were quite funny, but not my favorite of his work. Always opt for audio with him!

Buy this book from:
Powells: paperback/audio*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound: paperback
/audio*
Amazon: paperback
/audio*

This review was done with a book borrowed from the library.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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