Friday, December 3, 2010

A Bookish Christmas List: Part 2

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
~Dr. Seuss~

I appreciate the sentiment Mr. Geisel and agree wholeheartedly. But, if we must get presents, they may as well be bookish!

It's nice to find just a few words in black and white that wrap up a universal complexity. Life is suddenly neat and understandable. There is calm in the chaos. And Montgomery is good at this. I could happily read a quote by her every day for a year. (Picture below from

Jane Eyre is in my top-five-favorite-stories list. The book has everything--tension, love, mystery, drama, regret, wit, and honesty. And it's got Jane. A strong, independent female with a brain and a heart and a will all her own. To call this a love story would be unfair. It's much more. It's childhood to adulthood to motherhood and all that happens in-between. Brontë took a big chance with the themes in this story. Good for you, Charlotte. And even better for us. It's a love story, yes, but in that it's a life story, and life, in essence, is the sum of love in all its manifestations.

Peter Pan Giclee Print
I know my last list had a Peter Pan item, but as it's my favorite book in the universe, it seems reasonable to have another bookish gift related to it. There are tons more prints of children's book art by classic illustrators at the linked site, like Tenniel's White Rabbit below, so browse away. (Photo below from

Pewter Narnia Vial Pendant
I didn't read The Chronicles of Narnia till my early twenties. Of course I loved it. I just wish I'd read the series as a kid. It would have been one of those reads. One of the Alice's. I'm not a huge fan of the new movies, but they've given rise to Narnia merchandise like the pretty necklace below, designed by Bob Siemon and representative of Lucy's gift from Father Christmas. (Picture below from Here's another Narnia inspired design, but it's a bit expensive for me: wardrobe jewelry chest.

Mr. Darcy Proposal T-Shirt
I know. I know. But I really adore that scene and all the tension that's led up to it and the response and the following action. Plus the four sentences printed on the shirt are perfectly poetically timed. I'm a romantic and proud of it. Nothing to hide. I love Darcy. There. I've said it. I'd much rather have tickets to this than have the shirt, but with roundtrip airfare and a bus ticket to Bath and a room and food, that would be a lot to ask for for Christmas. And anyway, I couldn't wear the t-shirt. I'd have to get regency garb which would cost even more money, plus I'd just look weird with short hair, so the shirt it will have to be! Oh, and check this out: P&P Graphic Novel (Picture below from

Enesco Classic Pooh and Piglet
Pooh was also on the last list, but he deserves to be on all Christmas lists. Enesco makes pretty patchwork figurines and this Pooh one is very distinctly Christmasy and friendly. (Picture below from Also, though it's only really (probably) loosely based on the original story (wherever and whatever that is--oral, eventually written, adapted, simplified, softened, etc), Disney's Beauty and the Beast is sweetly represented by Enesco. I'm not really a Disney fan, but I do like everything about that movie: Belle

The Giving Tree Necklace
I didn't realize until I started an academic study of children's literature that Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree was at all controversial. I had read it as a story of the beauty, sacrifice, selfishness, and regret of love. Apparently many readers are disturbed about other things the story seems to be saying about motherhood and abuse, but I just didn't see it. Goes to show literature, once freed from the cage of the author's mind, takes on a life of its own. I still think of the book the way I did upon my first read. No offense academia, but I'll keep my interpretation and you can keep yours.

If you ever get the chance to visit Wordsworth's final home, you may have the pleasure of enjoying Grasmere gingerbread as well. If you've walked a long way to get there and you're holding a glass of wine in one hand and hot gingerbread in the other, you may never want to leave. I wouldn't blame you. But if you do manage to pull yourself away from the gardens and the view of the lake and the tidy rooms full of books, you can always have gingerbread and Wordsworth at home. You can even share this book with early readers. But if you buy yourself a copy of some of Wordsworth's works, for heaven's sake don't go to Barnes and Noble. Get something used. Something with character. Something that smells. Like this or this or this. Anything but new and crisp. This is Wordsworth we're talking about.
The minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage eaves;
While smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze
Nor check the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened?--till was paid
Respect to every inmate's claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honor of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And a merry Christmas wished to all."