Books, records, TV: our Christmas picks

Posted Dec 16 2022 at 6:01 am

Stories, tales, golden or black, Christmas standard reinvented by pop, soul and rock stars, animated film, winter series or gala show… Our latest selection of Weekend is entirely festive. See you next year !

Chronicles of Dino Buzzati, a contemporary tale, a Victorian thriller… Spoiled for choice for Christmas.©DR


“Christmas Tales and Other Texts”, Dino Buzzati

Transl. Delphine Gachet, Robert Laffont, 272 p., 20 euros

Not a fan of Christmas, the author of Tartar Desert was sensitive to the ephemeral goodness occasioned by this celebration which makes “Murderers gentle as lambs”. With humor, poetry and nostalgia, Dino Buzzati, from 1934 to 1971, wrote chronicles on the subject, unpublished in France. 33 texts combining a practical guide (how to make your nativity scene, what to give, etc.), a story (Christmas in Addis Ababa or on a navy cruiser), storytelling and sociological observation. A must have gift! HE

“Other stars. A Christmas Story” by Ingvild H. Rishøi

Transl. Jean-Baptiste Coursaud, Mercure de France, 165 p., 17 euros

The Norwegian writer Ingvild H. Rishøi signs an astonishing contemporary Christmas story with an evocative French title. other stars depicts a little girl and her teenage sister selling trees to survive, while their drifting father sinks into alcohol. Inspired by the work of Andersen, this graceful story renews the genre by mixing social realism, black humor and dreamlike. Ph.C.

“A Christmas in Eaton Square”, Anne Perry

Transl. Pascale Haas, 10-18, 168 p., 8.90 euros

Nothing is going well in Eaton Square this Advent season. A silent threat seems to hover over this wealthy London property. Gracie, one of Anne Perry’s recurring heroines will have to put on her old servant’s clothes, to elucidate the mystery and protect the staff from the evil designs of their employers. Beyond the plot, which is smarter than it looks, it is the fine psychology of the Victorian characters that graces this new Christmas thriller from the writer. Ph.C.

The essential

The essential “Christmas songs” version Alicia Keys, Macy Gray and Chris Isaak.DR


“Santa Baby”, Alicia Keys

1 album, Alicia Keys records

The singer and musician does not show great audacity with this Christmas disc, a mixture of standards and unreleased tracks (four in total), but her “Santa Baby” does not lack charm. She approaches with “soul” and sensitivity, without forcing the boat on the orchestration side of vintage hits like The Christmas Song or newer like Happy Xmas (War Is Over). His new songs are of good quality. Only lack of taste: this Hail Mary syrup to end the party. May the angels forgive him. Ph.C.

“Christmas With You”, Macy Gray & The California Jet Club

1 album, Moonslice records

With Macy Gray the Christmas songs crackle like logs in the hearth and the embers risk setting fire to the carpet. Accompanied by the virtuoso musicians of her California Jet Club, the soul singer swings the standards, gives mambo tunes to Blue Christmas, blues in the irresistible title track of the album “Christmas With You” and sprinkles the whole thing with jazzy sparks. She even manages to sway Wonderful Christmastime McCartney’s nursery rhyme. Ph.C.

“Everybody Knows It’s Christmas”, Chris Isaac

1 album, Sun Label Group

Eighteen years after a first Christmas album simply called “Christmas”, Chris Isaak renews the exercise with “Every Knows It’s Christmas”. The rock crooner has kept his honey voice, the musicians who accompany him are excellent. The result is perfect: thirteen well-matched tracks mixing “old songs” and “rock hits” in a mix of country and rockabilly. At times, the creator of “Wicked Games” and “Blue Hotel” evokes the ghost of Elvis disguised as Santa Claus. Happy Chrismas! Ph.C

“Scrooge.  A (bad) Christmas carol”, by Stephen Donnelly.

“Scrooge. A (bad) Christmas carol”, by Stephen Donnelly.©Courtesy of Netflix


“Scrooge. A (wicked) Christmas Carol”, Stephen Donnelly


The adaptations of Christmas song of Dickens are numerous. The story of Scrooge, this old miser who on Christmas Eve finds himself confronted by three spirits representing the past, the present and his disastrous future (if he does not manage to mend his ways) is always successful. The latest adaptation Scrooge. A (bad) Christmas carol is a musical animated film. Lively, colorful, it remains faithful to the original masterpiece without reaching the magnificence of Robert Zemeckis’ 2009 film, Mr Scrooge’s Funny Christmas. Ph.C.

Ida Elise Broch in “Christmas Storm” by Per-Olav Srensen.

Ida Elise Broch in “Christmas Storm” by Per-Olav Srensen.©Courtesy of Netflix

“Christmas Storm”, Per-Olav Srensen


What happens when travelers find themselves stranded in an airport a few hours before Christmas due to a snowstorm? Between the grumpy, the desperate and the resigned, destinies intersect and everyone will finally find an interest in this forced interlude. A Norwegian “feelgood” series with in particular Ida Elise Broch, the endearing heroine of “Home for Christmas”. LB

“The Tales of Hoffmann”, Offenbach

Mezzo, December 24, 8:30 p.m.

For the beautiful night of Christmas, the music channel Mezzo offers us a gala show: The Tales of HoffmannOffenbach’s fantastic opera, in a 2021 production by the Staatsoper Hamburg. The symphony orchestra is conducted by Japanese conductor Kent Nagano, the staging is by Daniele Finzi Pasca and the gala cast includes including soprano Olga Peretyatko, French tenor Benjamin Bernheim and mezzo-soprano Angela Brower, Ph.C.

We wish to thank the writer of this short article for this remarkable content

Books, records, TV: our Christmas picks

Check out our social media profiles along with other pages related to them