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…

Christmas Playlist

Well, Advent is in full swing and that means preparations for Christmas are at the forefront of everyones' minds. And, of course, when you're doing all that wrapping, making, boxing and baking, you need something to listen to. So here's my playlist of the things I've been listening to the most this holiday season.

1. Downe in Yon Forrest by Kemper Crabb

My new favorite Christmas album

2. The Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra

Tchaikovsky gets the Ellington Treatment. Simply fantastic!

3. 40 Essential Carols by The Queen's College Choir, Cambridge

This one has almost all of my favorite carols in one place.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas by The Vince Guaraldi Trio

Classic Christmas jazz and nostalgia.

5. The Messiah by Handel (conducted by Christopher Hogwood)

This recording by the Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Christopher Hogwood is regarded as the best recording of The Messiah. And Handel's Messiah, in my opinion, is the greatest piece of musical art ever created.

Runners up:

Christmas by Alabama
City on a Hill: It's Christmastime