Before I get to the blogpost proper, I’ve got news! If you haven’t noticed already in our Shop, we’re hosting our annual Christmas Play Sale this month—ALL month! Through October 1st, all our Christmas scripts are 20% off, so if you plan to perform a play this December now is the time to find a good script to use!
I’ll be sharing more about our different Christmas dramas throughout the month, but for now you can head to our Shop and browse the scripts in our Christmas category to learn more about the five Christmas plays we have available: Rejected, Christmas at The Three Bees, The Twelve Months of Christmas, The Gift, and Padlock Homes and the Case of the Missing Splinter.
Now, to What I’ve Been Reading this August:
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Somehow I’d missed David Copperfield in high school (I read Oliver Twist instead and didn’t much like it), so this was actually my first time reading Dickens’s semi-autobiographical novel. If you remember my review of A Tale of Two Cities earlier this year, you’ll know this was my second Dickens novel of 2019. And, of the two, I have to say I enjoyed David Copperfield more (though they were both great!).
The biggest thing that sometimes bothers me about my favorite Dickens novels (especially Our Mutual Friend) is that the final happy resolution comes about through a “righteous deception,” in which noble characters pretend to be leading the hero along some dark path but all the while they’re actually leading them to a perfect happily-ever-after that magically appears in the final chapters to the hero’s surprise. That always feels a little like cheating to me. Anyway, all that to say the “righteous deception” motif did not appear in David Copperfield, which I appreciated! The hero has to struggle and fail and endure and figure things out himself without an unexpected miracle from friends who are creepily good actors (looking at you, Boffins).
The Mysterious Mr. Quin, Agatha Christie
Not only did I read my second Dickens of the year but also my second Agatha Christie of the year. Technically The Mysterious Mr. Quin is not a mystery novel, though it’s the length of one. It’s a collection of short stories following two characters named Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite, who together solve puzzles and (sometimes!) avert disasters. Most of the stories feature mysterious deaths, thwarted relationships, and/or unearthed secrets from twenty years past. In other words, classic mystery fiction. While I like Christie’s novels a bit better—where there’s time to develop characters and plot lines more intricately—I still enjoyed these short stories and the two leading characters. Good light reading when my brain is too weary to absorb anything deeper!
As for some music I listened to last month:
The Burning Edge of Dawn, Andrew Peterson
I’ve mentioned Andrew Peterson before, and honestly my favorite of his albums is still Resurrection Letters, Vol. 1 (which I talked about in the April edition of What I’ve Been Reading). This month I listened to The Burning Edge of Dawn quite a bit, which also has some really beautiful songs. I think my favorites are probably “Rejoice” and the opening track “The Dark before the Dawn.”
Uncharted, The Piano Guys
The Piano Guys are always sort of on rotation in my iTunes, so I thought it was high time I gave them credit for that! Sometimes I just turn on a playlist (like Apple Music’s “Study with The Piano Guys”), or sometimes I pull up one of their albums and let it play on repeat while I write. In August I listened especially to their 2016 album Uncharted, which has several great classical crossover tracks as well as some Piano Guys originals.
Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy, Jason Gray
I confess. I am unfortunately one of those people who start listening to Christmas music way too early. (But it’s the only Christmas thing I do pre-Thanksgiving, honestly!) The fact is, I’m typically writing a new Christmas play in August/September, and listening to Christmas music truly does help me get my mind into holiday themes as I write. It’s a little weird to be contemplating the Nativity on a sticky August afternoon, but there it is. So yes, I started listening to Christmas music over the past week or two, and I’ve begun with Jason Gray’s 2012 Christmas album.
Looking for previous posts in my “What I’ve Been Reading” series?
• May 2019