DICKENS AT CHRISTMAS
This Hardback edition gathers together not only Dickens’ Christmas Books but also stories that Dickens wrote for the special seasonal editions of his periodicals All the Year Round and Household Words, and a festive tale from The Pickwick Papers.
For the jacket, illustrator Emily Sutton created a festive Victorian shop-front, taking inspiration from Eric Ravilious’ High Street. The book is also beautifully illustrated throughout.
Available now from Vintage Classics.
THEY WERE EITHER GOING TO BREAK UP, or they were going to buy this enormous house in the country. That was the choice. They did not admit this to each other, nor did either of them confide in their friends about it, but privately, each was trying to decide whether to break up or buy the house. On balance, he preferred buying the house, and she preferred breaking up. Or, more specifically, he did not want to break up and also didn’t want to buy the house, but believed that agreeing to buy the house would prevent the breakup that he really quite avidly opposed. Whereas she was ambivalent about every possibility: buying the house and staying together, staying in their apartment and breaking up, buying and breaking, staying and staying. What she really wanted was another version of her life in which she hadn’t made the choices she did, but this would have been difficult to admit. And so in the end he won the debate. They stayed together and bought the house.
He was right, actually—buying the house did prevent the breakup. It kept them very busy. She had a job in town, as an attorney representing recent immigrants to the area, and he didn’t need to work, at least for the time being, thanks to an inheritance that seemed very large by their usual standard of living. His job, as he saw it, would be to learn carpentry and other manual skills while making the house habitable, and to devise ways of making her happy. He was not good at either, but he got by for a while—he replaced floorboards, killed a lot of mice, painted, repaired broken windows. And he bought her flowers and cooked the food that she liked, and massaged her feet and legs, and did the sexual things she liked, although he didn’t like them as much as she did, and privately, she didn’t like them as much with him as she had with other men before him.
The original first page of The Lord of the Rings.
e.e. cummings reads his poem somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond
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