Tom’s Christmas Reading Recommendation

We have said it a few times recently that QUT Library has a whole bunch of Christmas movies and books to get you into the holiday spirit. And it’s still true! Here is another recommendation from Tom to get you inspired to read something festive.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – available to borrow from QUT Library in print or as an audiobook or eBook

“Marley was dead: to begin with.”

The opening line to possibly the most famous Christmas story of all time is a classic, and one many of us have heard countless times since we were old enough to remember Christmas.  The number of movies, plays, TV episodes, and re-interpretations that have adapted one of Dickens’ most famous stories is immense.  The story, trials, and morals that follow shrewd businessman Ebenezer Scrooge are so ingrained into modern popular culture that there is no point restating the plot here.  Many people are familiar with the tale but how many have actually read the original?  I’m a little ashamed to admit that I did not read A Christmas Carol until well into my twenties.  In fact I’d never read any Dickens.  I was expecting something old and stuffy, written in a style of English that would be difficult for me to comprehend.   But it turns out that Dickens is a master of 19th Century sass.  He spends the first few pages slyly pulling apart the common phrase ‘as dead as door-nail’, feeling that coffin nails should be considered the most deceased types of iron. He has such a wonderful way with words and style, and the rhythm of language that you feel compelled to be drawn along by his prose.  The original novella is such an important part of our current culture of Christmas, and everyone should spend some quality time with it.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie, TV show or book? We want to know! Find us on Facebook, Instagram on Twitter or leave a comment on this blog!

Sue’s Christmas Recommendations

QUT Library has so many Christmas movies, books and TV shows to get you into the festive mood. We have asked some our librarians what their all time favourite Christmas movies and books were. Here is what Sue recommends!

The Polar Express (2005) Available on DVD or online via Click View (QUT Login required)

Continuing our theme of best loved Christmas movies, make sure you get hold of The Polar Express before everyone else does.  Bit of a heads up, though – do yourself a favour and read the original, award winning, children’s picture book  by Chris Van Allsburg first so as to fully appreciate the lavish, darkly-themed artwork that became the inspiration for the movie.

What’s it about? Having reached an age where he doubts that Santa is real, a young boy (we never learn his name) wakes suddenly on Christmas Eve to see a mysterious steam train in the falling snow outside of his bedroom. Imagine his amazement when he realises that the train is waiting for him to board, ready for their journey to the North Pole! This movie is not like other Christmas films.  It has a magical, shadowy quality which characterises it, just like the beautiful full-page illustrations found in the original book.  It is this that appeals to me so strongly.  My children and I enjoyed reading the book together for several years before the movie’s release in 2004 and I was delighted that the film remains so stylistically true to the book’s artwork.

The movie is a 3D animation using motion capture and is entered in the Guinness World Book of Records as being the world’s first all-digital capture film.  The music is amazing, featuring an original score by Alan Silvestri along with many well-loved Christmas favourites.

I would recommend this movie for children aged perhaps 7+ as it may be a bit dark for the littlies.  Having said that, this is a heart-warming, powerful and endearing movie that continues to be a seasonal favourite at our house.

Tom’s Christmas Recommendations

QUT Library has a wealth of Christmas movies, books and TV shows to get you into the festive mood. We have asked some our librarians what their all time favourite Christmas movies and books were. Here is what Tom thinks!

Arthur Christmas (2011)  Available on EduTV via Informit (QUT log in required)

This is the movie that is currently in my ‘must see’ Christmas movie rotation list, and absolutely love showing it to friends that have never seen it before.  Arthur Christmas is a 3D animated film by Aardman Animations (the same folks who brought us Wallace and Gromit) that portrays the legacy of Santa Clause as a very real, and very secret, family business with the title of ‘Santa’ being handed down from father to son for centuries.  The humour is wonderfully British and ranges from the very silly to some darker adult jokes, whilch leads to some great scenes such as an army of elves questioning the existence of children, and a European Union-esque security alliance scrambling predator drones when they mistake Santa’s sleigh as an invading alien spaceship.  The characters are voiced by all of your favourite English actors including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton.  In the end this movie is about family, the spirit of Christmas, keeping tradition, breaking tradition, and wrapping presents with only three bits of tape.

The Snowman (1982) Available to borrow from QUT Library

The Snowman holds a very special place in my childhood, as my family would watch it every Christmas Eve, in the dark, with only the coloured glow of our Christmas tree to light up the room.  It is a gorgeous, animated short film, based on the picture book by Raymond Briggs, which tells the story of a small boy who builds a snowman that comes to life at the stroke of midnight.  They go on a series of small adventures including a magical flight to the North Pole, where they meet Father Christmas at a party full of other living snowmen.  Remarkably, the film is completely wordless and relies on music and animation to tell its story.  It never fails to bring a tear to my eye, especially during the enchanting song “Walking In The Air”, and the tale’s sad and bittersweet ending.  It won a BAFTA and an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Here is a trailer for one of the more recent sequals to The Snowman, The Snowman & The Snow Dog.

We have even more to recommend so keep an eye out for more blogs with Christmas cheer!