Sunday, 30 November 2008
Sunday Salon - Christmas Wish List - mostly books..
I am absolutely delighted. Yesterday I met my eldest son at Collected Works, where I was picking up a book I had ordered (Robin McKinley's Rose Daughter,). And my 20 year old said there was a book he was wanting to read. A book!!! Well, the bookstore didn't have it, so I ordered it for him and said, "Merry Christmas, you know what one of your presents is", and it should be in by next week so he'll get it before we go, AND the clerk said he'd read it and loved it! World War Z by Max Brooks. I was so happy I practically floated out of the store, because my son seldom asks for books, and to get him one that he wants!! I also took the opportunity to order The Wood Wife by Terri Windling. So far, Nymeth,
Rhinoa , Carl, Deslily,
Dark Orpheus, and Robin, a new to me blogger at A Fondness for Reading, have reviewed The Wood Wife, and all thoroughly enjoyed it. This will be my airplane book, at least it's the book of the moment. I keep changing my mind about what I'm bringing, however I will save that post until closer to leaving.
On this quiet Sunday, as our city prepares for either snow or snow pellets or rain tonight and tomorrow, I am dreaming of books to buy. On my Christmas wish list this year, which will sadly have to wait until late winter because our Christmas present is really going overseas to England in 15 days! FIFTEEN!!! A girl can dream anyway, and my husband brought home the newspaper which, he said to me, I would be happy to know, contained this years' Best Books to Buy for Christmas Gifts! There is one title in particular that I have wanted since I read a review about it last spring: Champlain's Dream, by David Hackett Fischer. You can find it on Amazon here.
I lived in Quebec City for 3 years as a teenager, the city that Champlain founded in 1608. For me, history is made real when I can see the places and imagine the events as I stand on the ground. I loved York for that reason, because wherever I went, there were layers upon layers of events and history and it enchanted me. Here in Canada we don't have as much physical remnants of history as Europe does, as the Aboriginal peoples lived for 30,000 years and left little trace. It's in their stories and traditions only, and the occasional encampment discovered in by accident in an excavation. What we understand as physical 'history' began with the first explorers and settlers. I love imagining how the land first was, how it was when the settlers first came, what Champlain would have seen. I am interested in the early history of Canada, and our relations with the native peoples, and how the land looked - the enormous dark forests, the rivers and lakes filled with fish, the wildlife. When I lived in York for a year in 2000, one of the things I was so surprised to find I missed about Canada was the feeling of the landscape. Anyone who reads Canadian fiction knows that the landscape is always present. The hard rock face of the Canadian Shield, the forests, even some of our Canadian words like moose, I discovered I missed hearing. Anyway, I am interested in how the explorers came to Canada and what they first found, and how they helped to shape our country. I really want this book!
Also on my Christmas wish list this year is: Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre. It's NOT a book, but it's on my wishlist, high up! This is a new release, with all 26 Faerie Tales she produced for PBS in the US, finally together in one collection. I have long been looking for the individual versions, which was only way it was available until now, and it wasn't available. So this is a dream come true! (I've already shown my husband the Amazon site and dropped a very large hint.) They are retellings of the fairy tales using well-known (usually) American actors and actresses, with high and very charming production standards, and witty, funny, and somtimes dark retellings. Here is a link if you are interested in knowing more. Here is also an excerpt of the description (just because I love reading this over and over!): "From the Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Andersen, twenty-six of the most beloved stories of all time are brought to life by A-list actors (in some of their most unique and memorable roles) as well as master directors including Tim Burton and Francis Ford Coppola among them --- You'll in seeing Robin Williams as the Frog Prince,Eric Idle as the Pied Piper, Billy Crystal as one of the Three Little Pigs,Jennifer Beals and Matthew Broderick as Cinderella and her prince, Bernadette Peters and Christopher Reeve as Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming, Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski as Beauty and the Beast, Paul Reubens as Pinocchio, James Earl Jones as the Genie inside Aladdin's lamp, and Carrie Fisher as Thumbelina.
Each one of these stories is literally hand crafted by the directors (some of them famous directors like Francis Ford Coppella) and Shelley Duvall to reflect a certain style --- An example being the Sleeping Beauty tale was set in Russia with the sets and costumes designed to look like scenes from classic Russian motifs, the music from the Russian ballet --- Another being the direct rip off of the classic Jean Cocteau film "Beauty and the Beast".
All of these were designed with the intent of entertaining not only children but adults --- Some of the best moments in these are only things that adults will understand --- Christopher Reeve does a fantastic job in his multi-role part in "Sleeping Beauty" as does Malcolm McDowell as the Wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood" --- McDowell infuses the character with a subtle dark sensuality --- His chemistry with his then wife Mary Steenburgen is strong.
Probably the best one of all is the "Three Little Pigs" with Jeff Goldblum (as the Big Bad Wolf), Valerie Perrine (as a ravishing piglette), and Billy Crystal(as one of the three little pigs) --- The writing in this one is completely off the wall as well as it should be --- So enjoy with a loving heart and the mind of an innocent child. *sigh* Pure magic.
Also at the top of my list is Nigella Lawson's new book, Nigella's Christmas. I had a chance to peek at the book yesterday at Collected Works, and I confess, I do want this book too! Maybe it's a good idea if I stay out of bookstores for the next 15 days, at least until we get to England! Then, it will be another story!!! Yes, a really bad pun, sorry...
And that is what is at the top of my list. I haven't really looked this year because we are going to England, and because, I confess, I keep bringing home books anyway! And if we don't go soon, Nigella will come home with me.
What's on your Christmas wish list this year?
PS Middlemarch Update: ON page 171, Chapter 17. And I have a confession to make: Will Ladislaw has just paid a visit to Dorothea in Rome, where she is on her honeymoon with Causabon. Well, to my surprise Eliot was writing Ladislaw as if he was falling in love with her. What? I gasped. Wasn't it Lydgate? So, I did a very rare thing, but I went to the back of the book and read part of the ending. I had it wrong from my memory of the BBC production. Dorothea never gets together with Lydgate - it's Will, her husband's second cousin, that she ends up with!!! To all my Gentle readers who kindly didn't tell me I had it wrong, I apologize! And I still don't know the full ending, so I don't feel too guilty. I hate reading the ending of a book I am enjoying, but I had to know! Now I can relax and watch the real romance unfolding. Already there are terrible cracks in Dorothea's and Causabon's marriage, but that was more due to them innocently not knowing that they had never really talked to eachother - a lovely comment by Eliot on how bad marriages everywhere are made!