With winter coming, on the advice of my wife I read A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. It is much shorter than I would have expected (my only other reference for Dickens was Great Expectations, which was not all I'd hoped for), and thoroughly enjoyable. My wife also shared with me an article that details the real-life inspiration for the character of Scrooge. That such a character was basically a near-to-life portrait of a very sad, lonely man caused me to reflect on the materialism of the season. It is surprising to me how many little ways I find myself in the character, though I would love to think of myself as charitable--the real-life Scrooge was always willing to lend money and never ask for it back, and yet what a miser he was. I hope it was Dickens' intention for readers to reflect on their own Scrooge-like tendencies.
Incidentally, I saw the Muppet Christmas Carol with my sons. They were remarkably true to the book, and Michael Caine put in a great performance; much better than I remembered (especially when acting opposite puppets).
Finally, while researching places I would be interested in playing, I ran across a local brother-sister duo, The Commanderrs. They have a couple of albums on Reverbnation and Bandcamp, and I highly recommend checking them out.