Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Gifts

As a reader and writer, my guests receive books for Christmas.  Here are my picks:

First, the children.  Children always receive a game with the book.  Life is more than reading and I never want to give the impression that reading does not accompany fun.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
—so well-written even adults can enjoy this. 


Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story


For adults, always a Christmas book or DVD:

The Voice Revealed: The True Story of the Last Eyewitness: The Gospel of John

The Voice Revealed is a fresh look at the Gospel of John.

The Promise : A Christmas Tale


Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

Writings from some great writers.


The Nativity Story - A Novel
Angela Hunt is one of my favorite authors of historical and modern fiction.

The Nativity Story DVD

A Christmas Carol DVD (This is the one with Alastair Sim as Scrooge and is the best production I have ever seen.)

Books for Writers:

I have read all or part of these and they are listed in no particular order:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

The Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth

My favorite book on how short stories and novels convey truth.


The Writing Life

A book on the process of creative writing by a creative writer.



On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

The first half is a memoir; the second a how to. 



The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

An excellent classic handbook for all fiction writers.


Letters to a Young Novelist

Mario Vargas Llosa, a recent winner of the Nobel Price in Literature, pens letters to an aspiring novelist elucidating the principals of a successful novel.

The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor's Advice to Writers

The first half covers what editors wish writers would learn; the second, publishing. 


The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life
Wright discusses creativity in the life of a Christian, and Christianity in the life of a creative person.  An excellent background on creativity and living as a creative person.


Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

An excellent book for any fiction writer at any stage of the writing process.  The best book to read before you submit your work to an agent or publisher.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Dinner

Every year in the past I have roasted turkey for Christmas, serving a “traditional” Christmas dinner to our international guests.  Perhaps traditional American or traditional European would be more accurate.  Most of my guests have been from India or East Asia and turkey and the fixings are not at all traditional there. 
This year, I decided to forget tradition and go for celebration.   (I cannot cook a Christmas dinner without European foods, I simply won’t cook the traditional ones.) That’s right, for celebration, I’ll concentrate on color and taste,  Red and green and other celebratory colors, and spices and chocolate. 
Instead of turkey, we’ll have turkey/spinach/carrot/mushroom lasagna with an Alfredo sauce.  I will cook the boneless turkey breast in my slow cooker with onion and sage and shred it for the lasagna. 
And how about an Asian inspired vegetarian dish?  Fried red curry tofu will provide protein and color. 
These main dishes will be accompanied by bright green peas, roasted red carrots on a bed of yellow squash, and other vegetables, either roasted or otherwise prepared to make the best use of their color. 
To finish, everyone likes chocolate, so Molten Chocolate cakes are in order, along with a more healthful (and French) Apple Tart-Tatin.

What will you have for Christmas?  Would you like to make some of the dishes I am making?  I’m happy to share my recipes.