Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

No Northstar after all: it wound up being a blustery, snow-flurrying kind of day with 4WD + snow tires required.

We came back home in time for some tea and A Tale of Despereaux. With a star-studded vocal cast, this charming film adaption is out just in time for Christmas vacation. For those who haven't yet read Kate Di Camillo's Newbury winner, you can keep reading, as there are no spoilers below...

It's always hard to condense an excellent book into as good a movie, with some notable exceptions--which springs from the differences between the two media. Speaking very generally, what makes a book spectacular--beyond memorable, engaging characters, a plot with some kind of hook, and an interesting setting--involves sticky subplots, delightful details, and virtuosic verbiage (okay, that's a bit of alliterative hyperbole..but it was hard to resist). Because films move their stories via a series of images instead of words on a page, they can be visually dense but must be less dense a medium than books in other ways. And even though Despereaux is a fun, well-done movie--especially in terms of its enticing visual detail, talented vocal acting, and marvelous soundtrack--it also feels thinned out compared to the book.

So see the movie, but do read the book, too. (While you're at it, read a couple of di Camillo's other wonderful children's books, Because of Winn Dixie and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.)

In other news, today we started decorating our Christmas tree...a super-round, butterball of a Tannenbaum that lists a bit to the left--but it's still beautiful and makes the family smile.....

Happy Holidays to everyone!

What I'm listening to:
1. On the way home, I started in on a Beginning Arabic CD--once I was past the chains-required section of the road. It was a fun way to while away the drive. Learned how to say a few simple things, including "I want falafel," "Are you a doctor?" "I'm thirsty," and so forth. Wonder if any of it will stick?

2. Christmas music, natch! Actually, KDFC has been playing non-stop Christmas music: some chestnuts, some lesser-known favorites, and many obscure pieces and adaptations. Some are a bit cheesy, some are uneven in quality, but overall it's a welcome change from the regular seasonal Muzak.

What I'm reading:
See previous note about reading while driving...As a result, I'm going slowly with The Calder Game.

What I'm working on: Micaela, audition arias, Christmas music for a church service next week...
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