Aaron's PicksBooks, Music, and Movies
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Welcome to Aaron's Picks!
This is my chance to share some of the things I enjoy with the rest of the world, books I love to read and reread, music I enjoy listening to, and movies I love to watch.
There are three sections to this page. I highlight one item from each category. If you want to browse all the items in a category (books, music, or movies), scroll down to the category and click in the link right above the highlighted selection.
Since this web page is generated dynamically from a database, each time you visit, a selection from each category is randomly chosen as the highlighted item.
The Book of Three
I don't recall how I was introduced to Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three, the first of the five books comprising the Chronicles of Prydain. I was in my teens. The magic that enthralled me then is still there every time I reread this or any of the other books in the series.
Don't let the fact that this book or the others in the series are categorized as "Young Adult" or "Juvenile Fiction" turn you away. I think too many adults make this mistake, missing out on some very delightful reading.
Each of the books in the series can stand alone as a complete adventure. This first book introduces us to the cast of characters that inhabit the magical world of Prydain.
This book and the series rates a full five stars! That means you need it in your library.
The Sound of Glory
Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Orchestra at Temple Square
While I enjoy the grandios sound of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I tend to prefer smaller choral ensembles with a tighter sound. Well this CD is an exception to this rule. I don't know if it's because it's a Telarc recording (and every Telarc CD I own is superb) and thus better captures the sound, if it's the Orchestra at Temple Square lending a magnificent instrumental performance, or if it's the glorious arrangements of Mack Wilberg, Barlow Bradford, and others, or a combination of all, but this CD is probably going to now be my favorite MoTab CD. The choir has a crisp, clean sound. Yes, they still are a choir of grand scale, compared to the smaller ensembles I usually prefer, but their big sound on this recording is exceptional.
Now I'm not knocking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or other large choirs. I enjoy listening to them. Particularly live, in concert. If you ever have the chance to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in concert, do not pass it up! You will not be disappointed. My personal preference just usually tends toward smaller choral ensembles of twelve to perhaps thirty members.
I have a hard time narrowing down which tracks are my most favorite. I like every one of the Mack Wilberg arrangements. But I also like Barlow Bradford's arrangement of All Creatures of Our God and King. In fact, that track brought goose chills to my skin as I listened to it for the first time on the 4th of July, 2003, while riding in my brother's car up to Pine Valley, Utah. Even over the road noise, on a car audio system that is nothing to rave about, the music had power and depth.
It is interesting that this CD compilation has so many selections similar to the BYU Men's Chorus CD, Awake My Soul, particularly a prevalance of Mack Wilberg arrangements. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a wonderful thing. I own both CDs and I love 'em both.
I'm going to have to give this one a 4.5 out of 5 rating. It just sounds so good. Maybe it's my new Klipsch THX computer speakers I play it on while working at the keyboard... Nah, it's just an excellent recording of excellent performers giving a stunning performance. It's good.
Hilarious! The computer animated movie "Ice Age" was a blast to see in the theater, so it was a no-brainer that I would be buying it on DVD as soon as it came out. Or so I thought...
Since it came out before Christmas, my roommate, Scott, informed me that he was buying me this DVD as a Christmas gift. Woohoo! I couldn't turn down a deal like that. As we were both dying to watch it, I didn't have to wait until Christmas before enjoying the DVD. It was all of two seconds after getting home from the store before the DVD was in the player.
Of times, I, like my sister, have an illogical aversion to any animated movies where the main character is an animal. I can't explain it. My sister's aversion, however, runs more deeply which is why she never saw this movie while it was in the local theaters. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that since I enjoyed this movie so much and it contains animals as main characters, it must be good. And it is.
The dialog is funny and the voice acting superb. The various creatures' voices were well cast, and the animators did a superb job bringing the characters to life.
If you haven't seen this, rent it or borrow it from someone who has it. If you're like me, you'll want to buy it.
My rating: 4 out of 5