A favorite children’s book I loved when my kids were young was The Night Tree by Eve Bunting. First published in 1991, the now 20-year-old story relates how a young family drove to a forest on a cold December night to decorate a living Christmas tree with edible ornaments for wildlife. The story and luminous illustrations capture the spirit of holiday giving and a special ritual in a cherished place.
The publishing industry stayed afloat this year by designing and selling books for e-reader; those devices jumped from novelty items to the mainstream. Brick and mortar booksellers had a rougher time. Biblio behemoth Borders closed stores across the country. Closer to home, RiverRun Books in Portsmouth nearly closed its doors, but was saved by a swarm of Locavestors. The indie bookstore is one place where unsung gems can shine. We’re ticking through some of the year’s books that didn’t have big names, big budgets, and big promoters to sell them.
Whether you’re listening to a Glee Christmas, or you’re stuck on Perry Como, whatever paints your peppermint, Christmas music is in the ear – or maybe memory – of the beholder. We spoke to a man who’s Christmas spirit springs not from a specific era, genre, or artist – but from an instrument…the tuba or a euphonium…your pick. A
While taking a break from the online portion of my Christmas shopping the other day, I discovered a colorful conversation ballooning on Facebook about a disgruntled minority that isn’t part of the 99 percent. That is, the overwhelming percent of all Christmas chores thought, bought and wrapped by the women of the household. This, of course, was not a conversation backed by facts or data, but an informal survey based more likely on the spirit of Christmas exhaustion.
However you celebrate the holidays, we are now in deep. Hannukah begins at sundown tonight. There are five more shopping days and umpteen things to do until christmas…the holiday parties, the food shopping, the secret santa gifts, school plays and pick-ups. Time seems to compress as our wish to enjoy each other in this dark season expands.
If there are gamers in your family, their Christmas lists probably include a new title or two, or maybe a shiny new HD or even 3D video game system. As with all things in pop culture, games are subject to their own trends, some are blockbusters, some bomb, and others inspire franchises and copycats. Here to tell us what’s hot in video games now, and what could be coming down the pipe is Clay Wirestone. He’s an avid gamer and freelance writer who has written for Mental Floss Magazine. He’s also the arts editor for the Concord Monitor.
A story to restore your faith in music superstars this holiday season. Elvis Costello is rallying his fans to save money by *not* buying a shiny new gift box set of his music called “the return of the spectacular spinning songbook”. The title comes from a trademark of Costello’s live shows with his band, the Attractions…he invites audience members to get to go up on stage and spin a massive, game-show style wheel of song titles from his back-catalog…whatever comes up, Elvis & the Attractions play.
Sales have been brisk for guns this holiday season. Black Friday 2011 surpassed the single day record for FBI background check requests on gun customers by 32%. Today, a background check of sorts on the Freedom Group, which has swiftly become one of the world’s leading manufacturers and sellers of guns. Natasha Singer a reporter in the Sunday business section of the New York Times, investigated the shadowy Wall Street investment company that has quietly acquired some of America’s most venerable gun and ammo manufacturers.