Sunday Bookends: Snow, disappointing books, more Christmas books and movies

It’s time for our Sunday morning chat. On Sundays I ramble about what’s been going on, what I and the rest of the family have been reading and watching, what I’ve been writing, and some weeks I share what I am listening to.




What’s Been Occurring

I’m starting a new feature on Saturdays where I’ll ramble more about what’s been going on generally in my life. You can find this week’s HERE.

In that post I rambled about the snow we received this week, the snow we might get this week, and some other fairly innoculous stuff.

Here are a couple extra snow photos that I didn’t share yesterday. The kids went out (at my urging) to sled since there was a fine layer of ice on top of the snow. The result was a couple of injuries so it might not have been my best suggestion. The sled was very hard to stop. Oops.



What I/we’ve been Reading

In yesterday’s post, I ranted a bit about the book Little Miss picked out for me a week ago during the local library book sale. She picked it off the shelf so at least I don’t own the book now. I really thought the book was going to be a good one and for the first several chapters I had a hard time putting it down. Eventually, it became a bit wandering and tedious, though, and then, out of the blue, in the 21st chapter of a 23-chapter book, the author dropped two fairly minor swear words and then the big one. Fudge, but not fudge, as the narrator says in A Christmas Story.

It was so bizarre. I mean I was happily skipping along, though getting a little disturbed by the darkness the book was starting to throw at me, and then boom! The bad guy dropped the word and it was just completely out of place. It was like serving vegan food at a biker bar, or biting into a piece of chocolate, swallowing it, and finding half a worm. I told a friend it was like reading a sweet Miss Marple book and then all a sudden she just turned around and said, “Well, f-it, I’m over this sweet stuff,” and walked off the page and out of the book. Okay, I didn’t exactly say that to my friend, I added a bit more for this post, but it was close.

Needless to say, I will not be reading any more books by Leslie Maier. I don’t need any more nasty surprises.

This week I am back to Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon (and hopefully spelling Shepherds right since I have been spelling that three ways lately thanks to writing too much lately and burning out my brain – or because I’m stupid. One or the other.). I actually never left Shepherds Abiding, as I have been reading a chapter here or there for the last couple of weeks to drag the book out for my enjoyment.

I had a bit of a breakdown this week when Little Miss had a cup full of water on our table for her art project and I knocked it over and it spilled down the table and onto my hardcover copy of Shepherds Abiding, crinkling many of the pages in the process. At first, I was upset at Little Miss, but quickly realized I’m the adult who one, allowed her to have the water on the table and two, had left my copy of the book on the floor. Why was it on the floor? I can’t remember, honestly, but I think it was because I was doing schoolwork with her and laid it down and – who even knows. I do stuff like this all the time.

So the book is a bit beat up, but I can still read it. I also have it on Kindle, but for Christmas, I like to read actual books because I am a book snob at times.


If you have never read Shepherd’s Abiding, it is the eighth book in the Mitford Series, and here is a brief description:

Millions of Americans have found Mitford to be a favorite home-away-from-home, and countless readers have long wondered what Christmas in Mitford would be like. The eighth Mitford novel provides a glimpse, offering a meditation on the best of all presents: the gift of one’s heart.

Since he was a boy, Father Tim has lived what he calls “the life of the mind” and has never really learned to savor the work of his hands. When he finds a derelict nativity scene that has suffered the indignities of time and neglect, he imagines the excitement in the eyes of his wife, Cynthia, and decides to undertake the daunting task of restoring it. As Father Tim begins his journey, readers are given a seat at Mitford’s holiday table and treated to a magical tale about the true Christmas spirit.

I hope to listen to The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham this week, as I stole The Husband’s Audible credit to buy it. We have Audible for a few months, but may have to get rid of it in February because everyone keeps raising their prices and it’s getting to be a bit much.

Little Miss and I read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson this week and absolutely loved it. This is a book that was read to me when I was in elementary school and has stuck with me all these years, even though I only had it read to me that one time. This year while looking for Christmas book ideas for Little Miss, I spotted it on a list of suggestions and had planned to order it on Amazon. Then, in an effort to conserve money for Christmas, I delayed order it. I was so excited, however, when I went to the book sale at the library and found an old copy of it!



The story was as hilarious and touching as I remember it and I even found myself crying at the end, after laughing for just about the entirety of the rest of the book. If you’ve never read it, do yourself a favor and find a copy. It is a children’s book but it is so well done that it is entertaining even for children.

Here is a description:

This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.

Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.”

The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. You and your family will laugh along with this funny story, perfect for independent reading or read-aloud sharing.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start! When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked.

It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.

I just learned this week there is a movie and I couldn’t find it streaming anywhere, but someone put it up on YouTube 8 years ago so I think I’ll check that out this week.



The Husband is reading Star Trek: The Vulcan Academy Murders

Little Miss and I are reading Paddington At Large because we can’t remember reading it before. For homeschooling, we are still reading Children of the Longhouse.

The Boy is stuck reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because I am an evil, evil homeschooling mom. Bwahaha!

What We watched/are Watching

This past week I watched It’s A Wonderful Life (again) as part of the ‘Tis the Season feature I am doing with Erin of Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs. You can read about that HERE.

The Husband and I also watched a couple more episodes of Brokenwood Mysteries, because it’s so good.

I watched part of A Christmas in Connecticut and then felt uncomfortable with it and abandoned it part way through.

I also watched a couple videos by Darling Desi, one of which you can find here:



We watched the first episode of Season Three of The Chosen Sunday night and will watch the second tonight.

You can watch it on their YouTube channel for 72 hours and then you have to watch it via their app. Seasons one and two can be found streaming on Peacock and Amazon and I believe Netflix now.



We got interrupted watching A Man Called Ove the week before last and never got back to it until last night. It’s a really good movie. This is the Swedish version and it’s available on Amazon. This is not the Americanized version that will be coming out with Tom Hanks. I don’t think that version is necessary when the Swedish one is so well done. If you do watch it, please make sure to have some tissues and be prepared for some sweetness and some heartache.




I hope to continue with the Christmas themes this week by watching a couple other Christmas-themed movies/shows. When I found The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on Youtube, I also found that someone had uploaded A Walton’s Christmas and The Christmas Box with Maureen O’Hara. I think I might add those to the list for this week.

I plan to watch The Shepherd, which is part of The Chosen series, as well before Christmas. You can find that here:




What I’m Writing

Today I’ll be finishing the last chapter of my Christmas novella, Beyond the Season, which I am sharing here on the blog in chapters. It finishes up Tuesday and then I’ll post a link to a Bookfunnel file of the full story.

What I shared on the blog this week:

What I’m Listening to

This week I listened to this on YouTube a lot while finishing my Christmas novella.

Now it’s your turn. What have you been doing, watching, reading, listening to or writing? Let me know in the comments or leave a blog post link if you also write a weekly update like this.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Bookends: Snow, disappointing books, more Christmas books and movies

  1. Lisa, it was a delight to catch up with this post. After Christmas, I am planning to stay warm with a book (probably waiting under the Christmas tree). You mentioned the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I was thinking this morning about finding time to watch it again (seen it many times), as the magic of the story never ages. Stay safe on the sledding slopes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is so annoying when you get involved with a movie and it’s characters and then all of sudden the movie turns really dark and evil. Just really wicked and creepy weird stuff. I don’t why all these movies now are doing that, well I kind of do. Same reason Christianity is getting attacked lately, at least in movies that is. I used to watch these very popular medical shows on television and then about 4 years ago I started seeing how they all had the same types of scripts. Attacking or getting people to hate people who question some medical procedures, or pushing certain procedures over others. That is when I realized that most of the shows made here in America now are just propaganda.
    I started watching a vlogger called Lily’s life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IJl5HUAFCc&t=934s. I always love watching what it is like to live in other countries. I miss traveling. I am going to check out some of your recommendations, looks like you have a lot of good ones in this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I told a friend it was like reading a sweet Miss Marple book and then all a sudden she just turned around and said, “Well, f-it, I’m over this sweet stuff,” and walked off the page and out of the book. – LOLOLOL that would be hysterical. And I would laugh and be scandalized at the same time.

    I loved The Best Christmas Pageant ever as a child! The book and the movie!

    I think we are going to watch The Little House Christmas episode tonight. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about Miss Marple. lol. I would both giggle and be scandalized.

      I started the episode last night. I’m going to finish it today. I vaguely remember watching it many, many years ago. I had totally forgot Adam got his sight back!

      Like

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