Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Top Ten Christmas Songs

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the music. There’s something about the songs we sing at Christmas that conjures simultaneously the mystical and the earthy, the celebratory and the contemplative, that encapsulates the historical meaning of the word “solemn.” And so, just for fun, here is the list of my top ten favorite songs at Christmastide.

10. Savior of the Nations Come

9. O Come All Ye Faithful

8. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

7. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

6. Of the Father’s Love Begotten

5. O Little Town of Bethlehem

4. Masters in this Hall

3. I Saw Three Ships

2. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

1. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

And when my son Luther saw what I was doing, he wanted to make his own list. So here it is in no particular order.

We Three Kings of Orient Are
I Saw Three Ships
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Angels We Have Heard on High
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Joy to the World
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
O Come All Ye Faithful
The First Noel