Kind reader Walt has encouraged me to encourage you all to SHOP HERE for Christmas. Purchases you make after clicking through to Amazon from the various links on this site will earn us a few groats and cost you nothing. Walt advises: "Don't be shy - everybody's got shopping to do now, and they'll appreciate a good steer." Well, all right, if he says so --
Bah dah boom.
Or, um . . .
Anyway. I've put together some things that will get you and your loved ones through the chilly months in a state of cozy, domestic oblivion. Who cares about fiscal cliffs or cultural decline when you've settled in with a nice hot beverage, some comforting comestibles, a warm blanky, and a book from a previous century? It will be April before you know it.
When it comes to escapism, formulaic mysteries are hard to beat. Agatha Christie did not write great literature but poison-pen letters, suspect tins of fish-paste, and the occasional corpse tucked into the cupboard under the stairs can make for a delightful way to spend a chilly winter afternoon. My favorites:
(I think that's the one which opens with an incompetent typist annoying everyone in the office by making tea with water that's not boiling. That's a crime in itself.)
Joephine Tey's mysteries were more literary, like the excellent Franchise Affair (see sidebar on left). Feel free to make your own classic mystery suggestions in the comments.
PG Wodehouse: Bertie and Jeeves, natch, but we also love the golf stories (drat, The Golf Omnibus is not in print) and the irrepressible Psmith (four titles).
EM Delafield: Her "diaries" are charming. I've read Diary of a Provincial Lady and two of the three sequels, but not the wartime one. Too sad.
Speaking of comfort, you can't go wrong with this hardback edition of The Hobbit featuring Tolkien's original cover, or this gorgeous annotated version:
My kids have loved Swallows and Amazons, The Moffats, Tin-Tin, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, and so many more. Browse here and here. If you have a favorite you'd like to suggest let us know in the comments.
I like the looks of this:
It comes in lots of colors.
Tea time: I'm shopping for an electric kettle for someone on my list and have gotten lost in the morass of reviews. Bottom line: None sounds perfect but several of them get four stars. I'll probably go with this one:
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