Records of the Year?

Another year-end list! This time it's the top three records of the year according to Entertainment Weekly's David Browne. 1) Extraordinary Machine, by Fiona Apple; 2) Guero, by Beck; 3) Late Registration, by Kayne West.

Read more about EW's choices...or tell us your own.

The Greatest DVDs Never Made

Want to buy that film-lover on your list The Magnificent Ambersons or The African Queen? Sorry, neither are available on DVD--at least not officially. Last year the rest of the Marx Brothers comedies and the great Astaire and Rogers musicals finally made it to DVD. So did La Dolce Vita, which had been involved in a legal dispute. And it took Warner Brothers several years to catch up but last year they finally released White Heat, Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Meet Me in St. Louis. Here are a few others I'm still waiting for: Johnny Guitar, Penny Serenade, Night on Earth, La Ronde (1950), Man in the Wilderness and Exterminating Angel. So what's on your most-wanted list?

Holiday CD is music for tired ears

If your ears are jangling from too much holiday noise, switch to the uplifting sounds of this CD, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World's Favorite Tenors. Not only are their voices glorious, but the selections - including I'll be Home for Christmas and Joy to the World - hit just the right note, too. Happy holiday listening!

Holiday CD is music for tired ears

If your ears are jangling from too much holiday noise, switch to the uplifting sounds of this CD, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World's Favorite Tenors. Not only are their voices glorious, but the selections - including I'll be Home for Christmas and Joy to the World - hit just the right note, too. Happy holiday listening!

Bah, Humbug! Who's the best Scrooge?

scrooge

There have been dozens of film and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens' classic Christmas ghost story A Christmas Carol including musical, animated and dramatic versions. But which is the best, and which features the most convincing portrayal of Ebeneezer Scrooge? Is it Reginald Owen, Alistair Sim, George C. Scott, Michael Caine, Mr. Magoo, Bill Murray, Disney's Uncle Scrooge, Patrick Stewart or someone else? Our family favorite is the musical 'Scrooge' featuring Albert Finney in the title role. Although this version is temporarily not available from the library's collections, it's worth looking for. What's your favorite?

The Sound of Music's 40th Anniversary

The Sound of Music is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a TV special this week and a special edition DVD. This classic American musical, an enduring guilty pleasure, has something for everyone: the stunning backdrop of the Alps; the story of a nun who...doesn't remain a nun; Rodgers and Hammerstein's indelible score; escaping the Nazis. Here are just a few of my favorite things: the masterful editing of the Doe-a-Deer sequence; the nuns' harmonies at the end of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria"; the sizzling chemistry between Maria and Captain Von Trapp at the party; and Eleanor Parker's catty attempts to hang on to "Georg". The 40th anniversary DVD puts the, er, streusel on the strudel, with an all-new retrospective documentary featuring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer; several featurettes, including "The Von Trapp Family: Harmony and Discord" as seen on A&E; a karaoke singalong (!); and Mia Farrow's (!!) screen test.

Smart Gifts

books

Need some ideas for that special reader on your list?

“Reader Perfect” suggestions cover many categories, formats and genres, as well as age groups.

Amazon.com gives you not only the Best Books of 2005, but also the
Top 50 Editors' Picks.

For the wee bookworms on your list, there's the age-appropriate Parents’ Choice Holiday Gift Guide.

And don't forget The New York Times Editor's Choice and the 100 Notable Books of the Year.

A book is a gift you can open again and again. ~ Garrison Keillor

What's on your wishlist?

If you're anticipating a visit from Kris Kringle, what are you hoping to find
under your tree?

A pony?
A toy train?
An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle?

I hope you don't find a lump of coal!

(Leave a comment with your wishlist ... you never know when Santa might peruse the AADL blogs!)

It Was 25 Years Ago Today

What album should mark the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death? Plastic Ono Band, a critical favorite from Lennon's uneven solo career? Nah, I vote for A Hard Day's Night, which includes some of Lennon's best Beatles-era songs. As for individual songs, I suppose most fans would pick "Imagine", but my vote goes to his definitive cover of "Twist and Shout" which is one of the best, infectious rock vocal performances of all time. And this time of year there's always "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". (I wonder what Lennon would have said about McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time").

U.S. Postal Service Honors Children's Literature Stars

Starting in January, the United States Postal Service will be honoring some of children's literature's most beloved characters. Eight different animals will be featured on the 16-stamp sheets.

Appearing on the stamps will be Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar, Lucy Cousin's Maisy from Maisy's ABC, the Wild Things from Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Curious George from Margret and H.A. Rey's Curious George Flies a Kite, the pig Wilbur from E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, Leo Lionni's mouse Frederick, Ian Falconer's Olivia and Dr. Seuss's tongue-twisting Fox in Socks.

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