Not technically late– today is Dia de Reyes (three kings day)/Epiphany/the Twelfth Day of Christmas! With that in mind, and just to catch up, I give you 12 recommendations:
1– Christmas in NYC.
If one must leave the nest, it’s best to find a second family that lives somewhere wonderful. It’s how I managed to survive my first Christmas without watching White Christmas with Mom, delivering meals with Dad, and Will’s grumbling about it.
I can’t endorse all tamales everywhere, but I loved the ones made para mi suegra, Sara, on Christmas Eve.
They even resemble tiny Christmas gifts, wrapped with ribbon! Is that beautiful or is that beautiful?
3– Gone With The Wind
Margaret Mitchell’s classic book provided my entertainment this summer. I’ve been meaning to write about it since, but this one simply can’t be done justice. Mitchell is a masterful story-teller– I was captured by the drama of both the war and the individual characters’ struggles within it, and then during Reconstruction. And how unique to follow a heroine with such obvious flaws. Selfish Scarlett will have money at any cost– and I went back and forth on whether you can really blame her. “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Loved it.
4– All Over But the Shoutin’ is the memoir of Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer-winning New York Times journalist whose people are poor Alabama “white trash.”
Bragg’s style is unique; somewhere between a novel and an essay. I found it touching and thought-provoking, and he struck me as extremely honest with his feelings and introspection.
5– The Blind Side has it all: humor, pathos, drama, and some good old-fashioned light-hearted SEC football rivalry. I haven’t read the book but I LOVED the movie, and I love the real story, which began at my alma mater. . . inspiring.
6– Invictus has some themes in common with The Blind Side— race and class reconcilation, sports, triumph through adversity– but felt very different to watch. It’s like the grander, historic version. . . Nelson Mandela rather than Leigh Anne Tuohy. Izzy and I both enjoyed it.
I’m addicted to Ree Drummond’s blog with step-by-step cooking instructions and accompanying photos. She makes creating delicious things simple and doable. And now I have her new cookbook in my hot little hands. Signed by PW herself! Can you believe it? (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
8– The Domino Book of Decorating. Another stellar Christmas gift. Dig it.
9– The Bishop’s Wife
Classic Christmas movie, featuring David Niven and Cary Grant. I don’t think Niven really gets to shine in his role as bishop (Candleshoe is better!), and Cary Grant actually frustrates you as the angel. But, that’s his intention, and it’s a worthwhile holiday flick. (Keep it in your back pocket for next year!) There’s also a professor whose bottle of sherry never empties, which is nice.
Here are six great songs, free as fresh fallen snow (huh??) from my friend Danielle and her bf. That’s BOY friend not best friend. (“Their kids will love the CD!” says Elizabeth.) You’ll love her version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Go ahead and download, and keep ’em in your i-tunes back pocket for next year.
11– The Brothers Karamazov is beautiful. I read it my last year of college, and it moved my heart. I’m hoping it wasn’t so moving only under the guidance of the best TA in the world, and so I’m picking it up again for the new year. Just wanted to recommend Dostoevsky, for the record.
But if you don’t want to go Russian (Russkies. Reds. Commies.), my brother John also highly recommends the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox. Or, a good one for today would be Twelfth Night, written by Billy Shakes for just this occasion! Netflix tells me that the movie involves cross-dressing and gender confusion. . . a reliable recipe for comedy.
12– Tidings of comfort and joy!