I had meant to come back with a holiday message after Festivus, but I got steamrolled by family and Christmas preparations. Had I made time, I would probably have referred to Lemony Snicket’s new Christmas book, The Lump of Coal, and its perfect beginning sentence:
The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles.I may have even gone so far as to quote the end of the book, which doesn’t give the story away but can only add to your desire to own the book by making this great statement:
It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season like all the other seasons is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them, and that’s the end of this particular story.And then I would have wished you a Merry Christmas and/or a continued Happy Hanukkah.
But I didn’t do that. I was absorbed in my delightful niece, because when two-year old children come on the scene, they are all-consuming of time and energy. But in a good way. We had a wonderful Christmas being together with my family. The fourth grader has barely taken off the earphones to her new iPod shuffle, and the seventh grader was so happy with her simple cell phone, that I thought she might start jumping on the couch. Which would have certainly compromised her carefully maintained teenage dignity. The girls and my husband, finding leather Prada purses in the thousand-dollar range, thoughtfully bought me a Prada fragrance which I now love. My husband spent the days finding time for new video games Pure and Lost, and we all gathered to watch the complete DVD with musical commentary of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Hold it. Book blog. Bookwise, I received Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World and Lost on Planet China or How I Learned to Love Live Squid and The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World and One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good. (Okay, I bought that one myself in desperate hope of change for the new year.)
On Saturday, I chatted online with the other members of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book panel, and we made our final shortlist. A database that we were using made the discussion more focused, but not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. I’m very proud of our final shortlist and its variety of literary tone, artistic style, reading range, and even genre. The announcement of all the titles will be on January 1 on the Cybils site. I know I’m all a-tingle, too.