Fourth Sunday of Advent

Yay! It is the last Sunday before Christmas! I have played the organ, flute and saxophone today for a beautiful Carols by Candlelight service and a morning service that was done like a Christmas morning service so all in all I have played a lot of carols today. I have loved it!

One of the carols we did today was Love Came Down at Christmas by Christina Rossetti it really is beautiful and I absolutely love it so I have decided to share it with you all.

 

Love Came Down at Christmas

 

Love came down at Christmas,

love all lovely, Love divine;

love was born at Christmas,

star and angels gave the sign.

 

Worship we the Godhead,

love incarnate, Love divine;

worship we our Jesus:

but wherewith for sacred sign?

 

Love shall be our token,

love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and all men,

love for please and gift and sign.

 

Christina Rossetti

 

Happy reading!

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The Nutcracker illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat (Mini Book Review)

The Nutcracker by E. T. A Hoffmann, retold by Kate Davies, illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat

Blurb

A beautifully illustrated retelling of The Nutcracker, capturing the magic of the ballet and the excitement of Christmas Eve. Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince on a journey to the land of sweets, brought to life in a spectacular pop-up finale.

Review

Every Christmas I read a different version of The Nutcracker, this does mean I have quite a few different versions of The Nutcracker in my house now. This year’s choice is a little children’s version which is very abridged with beautiful illustrations and a stunning pop up illustration at the end.

I must admit I did miss a great deal of the story but understand why it had been shortened in such a way. The other thing I loved was how the story flowed so well, even though elements of the story were missing it did not make the story disjointed in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book and highly recommend it to children and adults. However, care needs to be taken with the pop up illustration as it is very delicate and could easily be damaged. I give this little book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Friday Poetry: Clare Bevan

Hello!

This week’s chosen poem is by Clare Bevan and I chose it because I have had a lot of students excited about acting in their school nativity plays.

 

Just Doing My Job

I’m one of Herod’s Henchmen.

We don’t have much to say,

We just charge through the audience

In a Henchman sort of way.

 

We all wear woolly helmets

To hide our hair and ears,

And wellingtons sprayed silver

To match our tinfoil spears.

 

Our swords are made of cardboard

So blood will not be spilled 

If we trip and stab a parent

When the hall’s completely filled.

 

We don’t look VERY scary,

We’re almost small and shy,

And some of us wear glasses,

But we give the thing a try.

 

We whisper Henchman noises

While Herod hunts for strangers,

And then we all charge out again

Like nervous Power Rangers.

 

Yet when the play is over

And Miss is out of breath

We’ll charge like Henchmen through the hall

And scare our mums to death.

 

Clare Bevan

 

Happy Reading

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Christmas Reading List: Update

Well it is beginning to look very festive in the Book Dragon house hold. Today more decorations have gone up and more sorting and tidying has also been happening. Slowly we are getting ready for Christmas. This has also meant the reading has slowed down slightly but I’m still reading my festive books and I have crossed off a few more from the list.

Christmas Reading List (The crossed out ones are links to the reviews)

 

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

Tidings by Ruth Padel

Murder at Christmas by various authors

The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann

Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

One Day in Winter by Shari Low

 

I will post some festive snaps later in the week.

Happy Reading

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Third Sunday of Advent

Today I had the Carol Service for my one church that I play for and it was interesting because we went for half traditional carols and half new hymns. I think it went down well with everyone, well nobody shouted at me so it must have been ok.

My second service was Third Sunday Advent so I have gone for another Advent hymn for my Sunday post because as you will have noticed I’ve been posting one every Sunday in December so far.

 

Hark, the glad sound!

Hark, the glad sound! The Saviour comes,
the Saviour promised long;
let every heart prepare a throne,
and every voice a song.

He comes, the prisoners to release,
in Satan’s bondage held;
the gates of brass before him burst,
the iron fetters yield.

He comes, from thickest films of vice
to clear the mental ray,
and on the eyeballs of the blind
to pour celestial day.

He comes the broken heart to bind,
the bleeding soul to cure,
and with the treasures of his grace
to enrich the humble poor.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of peace,
thy welcome shall proclaim,
and Heaven’s eternal arches ring
with thy belovèd Name.

 

Philip Doddridge (1735)

 

Happy Festive Reading!

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The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (Review)

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

9781911547709

About the author

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Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was a playwright, poet, novelist and short story writer.

Blurb

Everybody in the county knows that the great manor of Canterville Chase has been haunted for 300 years. But when the American minister Mr Otis moves in with his wife and  family, they refuse to be frightened by something as Old World as a ghost.

The Canterville Ghost vows to have his revenge and terrify them all to death with his most despicable deeds. But after the minister offers practical solutions such as Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover for the bloodstain in the sitting room, and the twin boys torture him by pelleting him with their peashooters, it’s the poor ghost who is left severely spooked.

Can he possibly rescue his reputation, or will the family offer him a chance to finally lay his – detachable – head down forever?

Review

I was very excited to find this book whilst looking for Christmas presents at Waterstones. I love the film of this story where the ghost is played by Patrick Stewart.

This is a super little short story where you can not help but feel sorry for the poor ghost. He has spent all his ghostly life haunting and terrifying the residents of the manor and now all of a sudden he has a family he can not scare and who delight in scaring him instead. He tries all his tricks but to no avail and slowly it starts to affect his health. That’s if ghosts actually do have ill health?

The Otis family are stereotypically American and a real good laugh. They take everything in their stride and are not fazed by anything. Thankfully one member of this family can also be the ghost’s biggest aid.

I love this little story, I find it sweet and funny and just generally a fun read. I highly recommend this book to everyone and give it a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

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Friday Poetry: Anne Bronte

Hello!

I am still slowly getting all the house decorated in Christmas decorations but with concerts and teaching this is taking a quite a while. Yesterday, we finally bought our Christmas tree but because it is absolutely soaking wet because all it did was rain yesterday it is in the garage drying off before it comes into the house to be decorated.

Due to all the Christmas music I am encountering at the moment I wanted a suitable poem and thankfully I have found one!

 

Music on Christmas Morning

Music I love – but never strain

Could kindle raptures so divine,

So grief assuage, so conquer pain,

And rouse this pensive heart of mine –

As that we hear on Christmas morn,

Upon the wintry breezes borne.

 

Though Darkness still her empire keep,

And hours must pass, ere morning break;

From troubled dreams, or slumbers deep,

That music kindly bids us wake:

It calls us, with an angel’s voice,

To wake, and worship, and rejoice;

 

To greet with joy the glorious morn,

Which angels welcomed long ago,

When our redeeming Lord was born,

To bring the light of Heaven below;

The Powers of Darkness to dispel,

And rescue Earth from Death and Hell.

 

While listening to that sacred strain,

My raptured spirit soars on high;

I seem to hear those songs again

Resounding through the open sky,

That kindled such divine delight,

In those who watched their flocks by night.

 

With them I celebrate His birth –

Glory to God in highest Heaven,

Good-will to men, and peace on earth,

To us a Saviour-king is given;

Our God is come to claim His own,

And Satan’s power is overthrown!

 

A sinless God, for sinful men,

Descends to suffer and to bleed;

Hell must renounce its empire then;

The price is paid, the world is freed,

And Satan’s self must now confess,

That Christ has earned a Right to bless:

 

Now holy Peace may smile from Heaven,

And heavenly Truth from earth shall spring:

The captive’s galling bonds are riven,

For our Redeemer is our King;

And He that gave His blood for men

Will lead us home to God again.

 

Anne Brontë

 

Happy Friday!

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Here are a few of the decorations so far.

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson (Review)

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

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About the author

10015

Kate Atkinson was born in 1951 and is an English writer of novels, plays and short stories. She is the creator of the Jackson Brodie detective novels. She has won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995 and in 2013 and 2015 she won the Costa Book Awards.

Blurb

Three Festive Stories

Review

This was a nice short read of only 68 pages and although I read it in one sitting it can easily be dipped into.

The first story is called Lucy’s Day and it is all based on Lucy a mother of four who has given up her top career job to look after her family and in a way look after her elderly cleaner who doesn’t do much cleaning anymore and really just needs company. This is just one day in the hectic life of Lucy and out of all the chaos it shows the Christmas spirit coming through and that no matter how busy you are over Christmas you can still take time to appreciate the magic of it all.

The second story Festive Spirit was my least favourite of the three. I really hated the ending of this story, I found it disappointing and frustrating. I was hoping for so much more from this story and it just felt like a major cop out at the end.

The third story was my favourite. It showed that, for some, Christmas can be a lonely affair and also a time of bad news. However, it also showed that Christmas can be the time of contemplation and planning new beginnings. My favourite part was when Gerald was walking Dog and came along to the church; it really warmed my heart. This story was truly beautiful and it brought a little tear to my eye.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 Dragons because I just did not enjoy the second story. However, the first and third story make this book a well worth read and I highly recommend it.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

 

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