Top Ten Christmas Wishlist Books

This is a rendition of thebrokeandthebookish.com’s Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day). However, after looking at the lists, I decided to do next week’s now. After all, what’s the use of putting out into the world what I want for Christmas on Christmas Eve? Santa, let alone anyone else, would never be able to implement that quickly! So, here’s my wishlist of books now:

Top Ten Christmas Wishlist Books:

1. xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths by Kate Bernheimer
-I have her previous anthology, “My Mother, She Killed Me, My Father, He Ate Me” and it is glorious.

2. Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano
-I love her lyrical writing style.

3. Animalia by Barbara Helen Berger
-She’s so beautiful and touching!

4. When the Sun Rose by Barbara Helen Berger

5. The Prince’s Doom by David Blixt http://www.amazon.com/Princes-Doom-David-Blixt/dp/0615894437/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418840600&sr=1-1&keywords=david+blixt
-Oh my goodness, I didn’t know this was out so soon, and it’s in paperback, and-and! I must have!!

6. Diary of Johannes Burchardus
-This diary is a firsthand account about Pope Alexander VI-the Borgia Pope!-and I love the quotes I know, and I crave it.

7. To Be or Not to Be by Ryan North
-This is a choose your own adventure Hamlet book. How do I not have this?

8. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
-This is the sequel to Seraphina, coming out next year, and I must know what happens next!

9. Prudence (The Custard Protocol) by Gail Carriger
-This is another coming-out one, but it’s on my list of must-read. This is the sequel series to The Parasol Protectorate, about Alexia’s daughter.

10. Jester Leaps In: A Medieval Mystery (Fools’ Guild Mysteries) by Alan Gordman
-I loved Thirteenth Night and want to know what happens next.

So, that’s me. What does your wishlist look like?

Downton Abbey 2012 Christmas Special

Downton Abbey goes Scottish!  Spoilery thoughts below (random things first and more overall storyline ones later, because that’s how I take my Downton):

 

1. I love everyone’s faces as the bagpiper goes around the table.  Next time I need to find out anyone’s real personality in a pinch I’m gonna get in a bagpiper.  Their face will tell me all I need to know about their gut reactions to things.

2. I really liked how Cora’s reaction to the Susan-Rose dynamic brought up Sybil so palpably.  It hit just the right balance between connecting to the past to hold the story believably together and not dwelling on the past so much it’s melodramatic and and a buzzkill.

3. I LOVE Rose’s dress that makes her look like a “slut.”  Yes, I would have loved anything that makes a Downton Abbey character call slut, but I genuinely like that color on Rose and the way the back straps fly.

4. KILTS.  That is all.

5. I really want to know how the Scottish fans felt about having Gilly (the Scottish accented servant) described as speaking with a voice from a “bygone age.”  That just seemed like an odd and badly-chosen term.

6. Seeing someone naked is TOTALLY the way to know how ‘nice’ someone is.  Let everyone who’s not been called back by someone after they had sex know-there should have been clues in their naked body that they were not nice enough to call.  That line was hilarious.

7. I know it’s taking awhile, but I’m tickled coral pink by the Edith Eyre storyline.  Plus, if the show pushed that relationship any quicker it’d seem more like a flighty, ill-considered, irresponsible gambit such as Edith’s been entangled in before, rather than the real relationship it’s evolving into now.  That being said, Gregson needs to figure out how to make his case without this incessant whining.  Rochester had cross-dressing, storming, and domination to overshadow his complaints, and no matter how you feel about that in a romantic hero, it beats the hell out of whining.  Gregson needs to get something like that soon.

8. Hurrah for the fair!  Just what we need in order to keep Carson’s range of disapproval going.  Carson’s Disapproval is like garlic-the always reliable, tasty, basic ingredient of this show.

9. They actually found a baby whose facial features reminded me of Sybil.  I am impressed.

10. I think incorporating Rose into the season is a very smart move.  They need more young blood, particularly with more mourning around, and there’s an awful lot of potential for interesting dynamics between her and both Cora and Maggie Smith.

11. Mrs. Patmore was the cutest thing all episode long.  Wearing a coat over her blouse so it doesn’t “jump” on people is exactly the sort of thing I’d say back then.  I would have liked it a little better if they’d shown the spice guy taking at least a few moments to try and distract Mrs. Patmore before flirting with other girls so she’d have at least that excuse and he’d be showing her at least that pinch of respect, but it’ll do.  Mainly because of the way Patmore SOLD IT when she was overcome with relief at finding out he wasn’t a real opportunity.

12. I really liked the Jimmy and Tom storyline.  Is it a little sad that Tom had to be physically assaulted to earn Jimmy’s acceptance?  Of course.  Is it believable?  Hell yeah, and good TV to boot.  When you’re constantly living with someone it’s really hard to do something out-of-the-ordinary enough to really change their opinion of you.  It made total sense to me that something that dramatic actually had to happen in order to alter their dynamic, so this didn’t even feel like punching it up to make drama like sometimes happens with this show.  It was really well done.  Also, I vehemently disagree with those who think friendship will be more cruel to Tom than awkwardness.  Tom feels guilt at himself, he feels disgust-whenever he encountered awkwardness from Jimmy all those internalized things from society would be emphasized and strengthened.  Tom needs Jimmy’s acceptance to feel all right about himself again, to erase the guilt, and to just feel like a proper human being with rights instead of the disgraced, shameful person he’d been before.  Also, I don’t think this is how the show will play it up, but in my head it makes total sense that once Jimmy does accept and forgive him, Tom will be able to stop obsessing about him.  Let’s face it-he didn’t know Jimmy enough to have anything like serious feelings for him, he was just a hot piece of ass who seemed to maybe actually be GAY and HERE and that was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.  It’s not love-Tom is obsessed with this because of what the reaction did to him, and now that it’s FINALLY blowing over they should be able to be true friends and even the sexual tension should start getting erased.  It’ll be great.

13. It made me so happy and Christmassy to see Ivy and Daisy, and Alfred and Jimmy, being friends.  Just everything about it=merry!

14. I took a quiz during Season 1 about which Downton Abbey character I was, and got Anna.  This first time I have ever been able to see it is when she sat there saying, “I am racy.”

15. Did anyone else expect O’Brien to get hired by Susan and jaunt off to India?  She said she’d like to see a new place, she’s losing her position on the show as evil mistress due to lack of enemies now Alfred’s all settled, and she’s totally in with Susan because of the hair issue.  I’m still surprised that did not happen.

16. Perhaps it’s because I missed the episode where Sybil died, but Matthew’s death didn’t seem in any way over-the-top or too cliched to me.  Was it a cliche?  TOTALLY.  I sat there from the instant he was all joyful-looking in his car to the end of the show saying, “They’re doing it!”  However, it felt like a Niagra Falls type of cliche: Is it what you want?  No.  Does it have any bearing on real life?  Not so much anymore, but there was a time.  Is it shiny and foreseeable?  Utterly so.  Is it incredibly easy to just melt into it and let it run its course?  For me-yes.  That’s what’s going to happen, it made sense, it was there, it fit in with the time and the series’ shiny way, and it went.  (Also, it reminded me of “Lady and the Tramp.”)  I’m fine with it.

17. Well, Branson finally got a taste of his own stalkery-bullying-persistent method of courtship.  It seems fitting.

18. Everyone needs to stop predicting Branson and Mary getting together.  That is utterly absurd.  If it happens I will have to stop watching.  Even if it is going to happen, let me keep my illusions that the writers have more sense than that for as long as possible.

19. Hurrah, Downton Abbey!  This one really worked for me.  I loved it!

Fairy Tale Christmas Comforts

The Christmas tide is very near and things may seem very stressful.  That means it is once again time to keep things in perspective by noticing all the ways in which your holiday festivities will probably NOT resemble a fairy tale:

 

1. Even if you don’t get around to sending everyone their Christmas cards, you won’t have to worry about your children being cursed in retaliation.

2. The delivery people for your balls, toys, and treasures will not ask to share your bed as a reward.

3. If, instead of buying, you are spinning raw materials into gifting gold, you can rest assured that even big mistakes or delays will not result in you losing your head. (Or your baby.)

4. Any unwelcome visitors who trick their way into your house will likely settle for Christmas dinner, or perhaps even Christmas cookies, so your flesh is pretty safe.

5. The gingerbread men will not insult anyone.

6. No matter how sick you get of Christmas carols, even the awful ones will not have the power to lure your loved ones away from you.

7. At least you weren’t asked to build a jeweled palace overnight for anyone’s gift.

8. Even if you don’t have someone’s gift ready on time, you will not have to make up for it by giving up “the first thing you see” or “the first one who greets you” upon your arrival home.

9. Even if your family doesn’t allow you to sleep on Christmas Eve, at least you don’t have to face the big day with no sleep AND exhausted feet.

10. Reveling in your new possessions will not land you in hell or cause you to lose control of your limbs, even if those new things are red shoes.

11. No matter how mechanized the new toys are, none of them will carry your children off into the sky (even if you would like them to).

12. Don’t worry if a gift exchange seems uneven-even the presents that seem like small beans can show just how much magic there is in your relationship.

13. Even if you received a living thing, you won’t lose it if you don’t pick out the right name right away.

14. Even if a gift starts to fall apart, just remember: it has no control on anyone in your household’s looks, love, or ability to handle cutlery.

 

Happy 200th anniversary of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Merry Christmas!  Just remember, it could be worse-it could be a fairy tale.

There are 14 reasons today because the Grimms’ anniversary demanded 10 all their own, and there were a few non-Grimm fairy tale references I could not resist adding.  25 Points for every fairy tale reference.  55 for every new one added.

Tolkienmas Tale-ol 3: “Return of the King”

To finish commemorating Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films in appropriately festive fashion, I offer a song about “Return of the King,” to be sung to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard On High.”

 

“Aragorn we have Crowned on High”

 

Mordor we have breached, today.

Brought the Ring to Mount Doom’s fires

And Gollum’s bite has torn away

Sauron’s hold on our desires.

 

Burn, in the fiery chasm

Burn, in the fiery chasm

 

 

Now heroes claim victory,

Now Lord Sauron’s lost his ring.

And by Gondor’s flowering tree,

Aragorn is crowned the king.

 

Aragorn, is the king of Gondor

Aragorn is the king of Gondor

 

 

Hobbits their way home do wend,

For their Shire has been saved.

Fellowship’s quest is at an end,

Just goodbyes still must be braved.

 

Frodo sails into the west

Frodo sails into the west

Frodo sails into the west.

 

For previous ones, go here:  https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/tolkeinmas-tale-ols-2-the-two-towers/

https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/tolkeinmas-tale-ols-1-fellowship-of-the-ring/

Tolkeinmas Tale-ols 2: “The Two Towers”

The next Christmas carol I’ve bent into service as a festive song to celebrate Peter Jackson and his Tolkein films commemorates “The Two Towers” to the tune of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

 

“Walking through a Rohan Warrior-land”

 

Uruks come,

couldn’t miss them.

Theoden,

Are ya listenin’?

Saruman the White, besieges us tight,

Walking through a Rohan Warrior-land.

 

Gone away is Eomer.

Here to stay is Aragorn.

Protecting us when, it begins again,

Walking through a Rohan Warrior-land.

 

At helm’s Deep we can fight by the elves

And pullback behind our rows of walls.

They will try to kill us as we slay them,

And Aragorn will see we never lose our balls.

 

Later on, at 5th sunrise,

Gandalf comes, with our good guys,

Now fight unafraid-uruks’ll get PAID.

Walking through a Rohan Warrior-land.

 

At Helm’s Deep we can fight with heroes,

And charge out for ruin and the red dawn.

We will win the day for the Rohirrim,

As the ents face Saruman on his lawn.

 

Later on, with the hobbits,

Isengard’s forced to stop it.

Now mankind’s been saved,

the way has been paved,

Walking through a Rohan Warrior-land.

 

For the “Fellowship of the Ring” carol see: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/tolkeinmas-tale-ols-1-fellowship-of-the-ring/

Literary Classics Gift-Giving Guide

For those who prefer to get their advice from sources more reputable than Disney, I have here a few gifting tips from the literary classics.  Names of works or authors are accepted.  24 points per reference and 50 points to any new references you add.

 

Literary Classics  Gift-Giving Guide

 

1. Make sure to get gifts in the desired color-it keeps things rosy.

2. Don’t give gifts that are too big-it might become an invasion of their space.

3. Consider giving gifts you made yourself-anything that could become an intimate password response just makes home feel more yours.

4. Musical instruments are marvelous romantic gifts, if you can afford the right quality.

5. Things that light up are good gift ideas-it’s always good to have one more light in dark places, in case all other lights go out.

6. If your gift is taking someone else’s place for something distasteful, like chores, remember that it helps to have a good motto to get you through it-preferably about the satisfaction of giving.

7. If getting something engraved, be sure to include both your name and the recipient’s.  It might just help your name reach the ears of someone it’d be very interesting to meet.

8. Getting something in the recipient’s style is far more important than getting something more fancy or expensive.

9. Stories are even better gifts if you can make the recipient the star of the tale.

10. It’s generally agreed by the classic authors that medieval weapons are a great gift idea-more modern arms, not so much.

 

Hopefully these signposts will help you further along in your great holiday gifting quest.  Good luck!

Disney Gift-Giving Guide

It’s now officially the time of year to delve into a blizzard of gift-giving.  Luckily, there are a few tips to be gleaned just be remembering the Disney films we’ve known and loved for years:

 

Disney Gift-Giving Guide

1. Items that change color make memorable gifts.

2. It’s best if gifts last past midnight.

3. Statues don’t fare well as gifts, but if you’re going to give one make it of the recipient’s loved one-not the actual recipient.

4. Books are great gifts.  Lots of books make an amazing one.

5. If giving magical tokens, consider including a case to keep them in so they don’t fly away at a crucial moment.

6. Music boxes are lovely presents, so long as you won’t be sharing space with anyone ratty enough to break them.

7. Even lucky bugs do not make good gifts.

8. Hats are fun gifts-even if they’re too large, so long as they make them feel like a hero.

9. It’s okay to wrap live animals in boxes without holes, so long as they are babies.

10. Always do exactly what fairies tell you to do about a present.

 

And remember, no matter how successful your gifting adventures turn out this year, everyone will still feel that that, to paraphrase, “The greatest gift of all is having you for a friend/sweetheart/family member.”

 

20 points for every reference, 45 for any you add.  And a happy season of gifting to you!

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