‘Tis the Season: Penguin Christmas Classics

I’ve recently fallen in love with the Penguin Christmas Classics collection of books so I wanted to share them with all of you in case you haven’t seen them on the shelves in your local bookstore!  The line collects a bunch of classic Christmas stories into these beautiful festive editions.  They have red spines with white typography and the covers feature cardinals and are primarily white, gold, green and grey.  The collection includes six books in total:

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank L. Baum

A Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories Louisa May Alcott

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman

Christmas at Thompson Hall: And Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope

The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol

So far I’ve gotten four of the six but I want to complete my set.  They seem like the perfect coffee table books to decorate with during the holidays and of course, read from while sitting in a cozy armchair!

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Kristin

‘Tis the Season: Not-So-Secret Santa Mini Challenge

I was so excited when I saw Alexa Loves Books’s Christmas mini challenge! It’s called the Not-So-Secret Santa Mini Challenge and if you win, you get $25 worth of books from either Amazon or Book Depository!  The challenge is to pick a book character (or several book characters) and tell what you would give them for Christmas!

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Alexa already came up with some great ideas in her post so I’m going to try my best to pick different characters but there is one repeat I couldn’t resist (cough Lara Jean cough).  Here are the top 5 characters I would love to buy Christmas presents for!  Which book characters would you love to shop for if you could?

Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han)

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Lara Jean loves baking just as much as I do so shopping for her would be so much fun.  I think she would adore this pastel pink KitchenAid mixer because it would make her life easier and it completely matches her aesthetic.  Plus, a KitchenAid mixer is the ultimate baker’s dream tool.  I think Peter K. would appreciate this gift too because it would mean more sweets for him!

Cath (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

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Cath is a writer through and through and if there’s one thing a writer always needs (besides a pen), it’s a place to write down their ideas.  I think Cath would really like these flowery Rifle Paper Co. notebooks.  She could keep them with her when she’s traveling back home to visit her dad or when she’s sitting in class so if a Simon and Baz idea comes to her she can jot it down without having to fear it being lost.

Anna (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins)

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Anna is obsessed with film and writing movie reviews.  It would be easy to get her a notebook as well, or something banana to add to her collection, but I think she would really enjoy this film projector necklace by Betsey Johnson.  It seems like something she wouldn’t think to buy for herself but it would allow her to incorporate her favorite hobby into her everyday wardrobe.

Echo (The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey)

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Echo is a girl after my own heart because she shares an affinity for good food.  We already know she loves macarons and I think it would brighten her holiday to get a giant custom box full of her favorite flavors.  Echo is really busy trying to figure out how to stop the war between the Avicen and the Drakhar so she doesn’t have the most time to be stopping to think about food and she can eat these macarons on the go.

Hermione (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)

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Hermione is everyone’s favorite bookworm and what’s better to gift a bookworm than a set of collectible books?  I think Hermione would appreciate this gorgeous collectible set of the Penguin Drop Caps editions and they would look lovely arranged in a central area on her bookshelf to brighten up the area where her neutral colored magic books are displayed.

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Kristin

Batman ’66 By Jeff Parker & Jonathan Case Review

A few nights ago I read the first two issues of Batman ’66 and for lack of a better phrase, I’m completely obsessed.  In just 50 pages (30 pages in issue #1, and 20 pages in issue #2), we’ve already been introduced to Batman, Robin, Riddler (the Frank Gorshin version), Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, and Circe.  And we’ve already gotten some classic Boy Wonder exclamations such as “Holy Evil Alliance,” “Holy Tightrope,” and “”Should I enter it into the Bat-Computer?”  The first two issues each contain one main story, and a backup story.  Jeff Parker, who writes the series, told the NY Post that he listens to the characters speaking while he creates their dialogue, which you can easily tell while you’re reading.  Parker has a much bigger opportunity to tell grander stories since there’s no budget for effects in a comic book, and it comes through in his writing that Parker is basically telling dream Batman ’66 stories which wouldn’t have been able to be told on the television series due to monetary restrictions.  We haven’t seen a full blown Batusi yet, but hopefully Parker was foreshadowing in the first issue when a bar patron asks “Batman, I was hoping to run into you! Can you show us how to do that dance we heard about?”  Sadly Bats doesn’t have the time because he and the Boy Wonder are investigating a serious crime.

Jonathan Case, who illustrates and colors the series, created artwork which perfectly captures the overall tone.  He uses bright neon colors which pop against contrasting backgrounds, and in the first issue with the Riddler, he outlines all of the landscapes with blue lines which creates a kind of 3D effect in a much more attractive version of Gotham.  Case perfectly captures the likeness of the Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar’s ’66 characters, using smooth rounded lines, and hairstyles consistent with the decade to depict the cast of the comic.  And I just have to say this – Case’s Catwoman is purrfect.  I’m also loving the use of the exaggerated sound effects within the comics’ panels.  And the covers are drawn and colored by Mike and Laura Allred, who just so happen to be two of my favorite artists.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have flipped through these issues.

According to Comics Alliance, a very classy Mad Men-like version of Harley Quinn will be appearing in issue #7.  If you’re reading the comic digitally, you’ve already seen Harley’s introduction, but since I’m reading in print, I’m only up to issue #2.  Batman ’66 is part of the DC2 initiative to convert readers to digital comics.  I’ve been reading the physical printed copies, which are released on a very delayed time schedule compared to their digital counterparts, but since I loved the first two issues so much, I think I’m going to finally cave in and start buying the series from ComiXology… as well as the print issues… and the trade.  *Makes fist* damn you DC Comics for monopolizing my bank account!

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