Sunday Bulletin – December 21

PicMonkey Collage

When it comes to Christmas music I prefer a mixture of vintage classics and unique contemporary artists. This year when I finally got into the Christmas music mood I organized my CDs (yes I still listen to CDs!) and found these four on the top of my favorites. Doris Day is just the best. I love the mid-century arrangements of her songs, with the swoony strings and breathy vocals. Instant nostalgia. David Archuleta has such a pure, clean, beautiful voice and this CD, a collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, always makes me cry. You can feel the passion in his singing and it is very heartwarming. Mindy Gledhill is one of my favorite indie artists and her interpretation of holiday standards is just as quirky and loveable as her regular music. Christmas would not be Christmas without Bing Crosby, would it? His version of ‘White Christmas’ will never be surpassed and I adore listening to this CD early in the mornings on my way to work. It makes me happy all day.

You can see some of my other favorites here.

What are you listening to this year?

Books finished this week:

West of the Moon by Margi Preus – I read this great middle-grade book for the reading challenge at work. It is a fairy-tale influenced story of a girl named Astri who only wants to join her father in America. He’s left her behind in Norway until he can earn money to pay for her passage. Things don’t quite go according to plan – she has an evil aunt who sells her to a crass old man as his goat girl. When she decides to escape the adventure begins and it is riveting. I never thought I’d stay up late to read a juvenile fiction novel, but this one is very good and intelligent. The writing is thoughtful and the author doesn’t talk down to her intended audience. I’d recommend this for kids 10 years old and up.

Parallel Lives by Phyllis Rose – I absolutely loved Rose’s The Shelf, a great book about reading and libraries. This is a very different book. Parallel Lives chronicles the marriage woes of five Victorian couples: Effie Grey and John Ruskin, Thomas and Jane Carlyle, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, George Eliot and George Henry Lewes and Charles and Catherine Dickens. The preface to the book is brilliant and set the stage for a fantastic book. However, I didn’t much like the rest of the narrative. I think it is more to do with my own feelings than any flaw in the book – I felt like I was reading a load of gossip about a very private and intimate subject and it made me squeamish after a while. I struggled to finish, especially after reading about the Dickens marriage (what a jerk!), and I just didn’t enjoy observing these couples and their troubles. It does make me grateful, though, that I wasn’t born in the Victorian era.

Have a wonderful Sunday!