Back in June, the Leatherby Libraries published a Chapman-Themed Summer Reading List, comprised of books written by Chapman alumni, faculty, staff, and trustees. The post, which gave suggestions on things to read to fill up a summer that looked very different from summers past, was extremely popular, so now that Winter Break is just around the corner, we’re offering up something similar: a Winter Break Watching and Reading List. Keep reading for four pairings of movies with connections to the holiday season, all of which are available for Chapman students and faculty to stream through Swank Digital Campus, with their literary counterparts found in the Leatherby Libraries collection.
(Disclaimer 1: Please note that, while all of the films listed below are available on Swank’s Top 1,000 Titles List as of December 2020, that list will be edited in June 2021 and availability may change.
Disclaimer 2: Due to the current stay-at-home orders in Orange County, physical books are not currently available, but you can always watch the movie now and read the book this spring!)
It’s a Wonderful Life: What would any holiday movie list be without this 1946 classic? It’s a Wonderful Life is an American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody. Clarence shows George how he, George, has touched the lives of others and how different life would be for his wife Mary and his community of Bedford Falls if he had not been born. While the movie itself is very well-known, fewer people know that it is based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern published in 1943. The short story, paired with a stage play version of the movie script, is available in the Leatherby Libraries collection.
Bridget Jones’s Diary: It may seem like less of an obvious choice for a holiday movie list, but the Renee Zellweger film follows the title character over a year that is book-ended by two holiday seasons, as she begins her diary with New Year’s resolutions, and the film concludes during the next Christmas season. If you’ve already seen the movie more times than you can count, put on your favorite ugly Christmas sweater (or, as Bridget would say, jumper), and curl up with the Helen Fielding novel that the film is based on, found in the Leatherby Libraries collection.
The Wizard of Oz: While the connection between this film and the holiday season may be less obvious for younger members of the Chapman community, those who grew up in the era before DVRs, DVD players, and even VCRs will remember that this 1939 Hollywood classic used to be aired every Christmas day. Join Dorothy and her friends for their journey down the Yellow Brick Road and feel some serious nostalgia. Curious about the beginnings of the story? Our Peter and Mary Muth Library of Children’s Literature contains several versions of the 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum, including an e-book available here.
When Harry Met Sally…: The winter holiday season comes to a close with New Year’s Eve and Day, and many of us are eagerly counting down the days (hours? minutes?) until 2021. The classic romcom When Harry Met Sally… contains two important New Year’s Eve scenes, including the romantic climax of the movie. While the film wasn’t based on a book, the screenwriter Nora Ephron was a prolific author, and the Leatherby Libraries owns a number of her books, including her memoir, I Remember Nothing, and Other Reflections. Put on your New Year’s Eve hat, and laugh along with Harry and Sally, or Nora’s wit, as 2020 finally comes to a close.