Things to Read in the Holidays
Here are a few stories I recommend you to read.
1) Fat by Marie Potoczny
I’m sure you’ve thought about changing a few things here and there in 2014. Have you? Well, then you will enjoy this hilarious story about a fat girl who starts a slimming down diet. Don’t get too thin, or too weird, like the girl in the story. Especially be very wary when things start rolling out of you…
This story is an easy read.
“I was doing that one night, standing there, trying to look thin when I felt something tumble out of my fat rolls onto the wood floor with a little plastic clink and roll under the bed. I got down on my hands and knees, reached under the bed, and picked it up. It was a roll of cherry-flavored ChapStick I thought I’d lost a couple of years ago.”
Read the rest here.
2) 498 by Julian Zabalbeascoa
If you like your story to be about serious issues, well this war story is. We are talking about the Spanish Civil War, which is an old war, but the story is so general that it could have taken place in many other countries. A soldier looks back on the horrible things that he had to do and on the strange relationship with his cousin, named 498, who is his adopted brother. 498 finds his way in the war very well and develops into being a minor hero and a villain.
This story isn’t so easy to read, but the writer is clearly very talented.
“At the end of the night, he and I sat down at a campfire next to a burned-out church. Men carrying the stench of weeks on the road bragged of how many rojos they’d pitched into the darkness, and as the conversation continued around the fire, each man upped the one before him. If one killed four, then the next killed six. I watched the smile on 498’s face take shape. I felt out of place, and when it was my turn to speak, I just looked to 498. He said that, because of him, twenty-seven rojos were wearing the Spanish earth that night. The men laughed and called us children, but 498 stood and emptied his pocket of the twenty-seven pebbles. They fell onto the handkerchief where the men kept their cheese and chorizo, and somebody yelled at him, saying that was the only clean food they had left.”
Read the story here.
3) What It’s Like by Anya Yurchyshyn
This is an easy story again: about a daughter who is on a long bus ride to California to take her father to a home. During the trip she meets an old woman whom she explains why she can’t simply take a plane.
“My neck hurt and I was sweating. I shook myself to the ground by thinking about my father and a dog and his porch, waiting for what was coming.
‘After a while the plane levels out. You’re up there for a long while and you get food and drinks. You can even get a cocktail. You watch movies or read magazines and chat with other passengers. Eventually you have to land, so you slowly begin your descent.’
‘Don’t tell me about landing,’ she said. ‘I want to stay up here.’”
Read the story here.
4) You Remember the Planes by Paul Auster
And the last story is by well-known author Paul Auster, about what it means to be a Jew in America. The only irritating thing about this is that it is written in the second person, so it talks about you this and you that. I presume that is to make the reader think about what it means if they were a Jew in the US. Well, as a Jewish-American friend of mine says, America has always been very good to its Jews. But there are some dark corners, certainly, and this story does an excellent job explaining the less comfortable points.
“You remember the planes, the supersonic jets roaring across the blue skies of summer, cutting through the firmament at such exalted speeds that they were scarcely visible, a flash of silver glinting briefly in the light, and then, not long after they had vanished over the horizon, the thunderous boom that would follow, resounding for miles in all directions, the great detonation of blasting air that signified the sound barrier had been broken yet again. You and your friends were thunderstruck by the power of those planes, which always arrived without warning, announcing themselves as a furious clamour in the far distance, and within seconds they were directly overhead, and whatever game you and your friends might have been playing at that moment, you all stopped in mid-gesture to look up, to watch, to wait as those howling machines sped past you. ”
Read the rest of the story here.
The only drawback is, the story ends abruptly. Like, in the middle.
Songs to listen to during the holidays:
Although I’m not religious, I enjoy listening to these songs, because they’re gorgeous!
Peace on Earth
Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing a duet “Peace on Earth.” It’s an unlikely combination, but their voices sound splendid together and it’s a beautiful song.
King’s College Choir
The world-famous all male choir sings Christmas songs. If you like traditional songs, then this is as much like going to a real concert as … well, being at a real concert as they are played in many churches over the UK around this time of year.
Cluck cluck cluck
Poking fun at a Christmas classic? You can leave that to the Muppets!
Listen carefully to the words: 😉
Another duet. Steve Martin and Paul Simon’s irreverent*”Silver Bells” lists a few good things about Christmas: Feel like burning your house down with the tree and the plastic doodads in them? Or maybe start some legwork by becoming a Santa and holding a pretty 12-year on your lap? After all, 12 is not that far from 18. LOL!
*See Word to the Wise
Mariah Carey and Celine Dion
And here are two grand ladies if you like some high Cs with your kitsch. Boy, can they sing!