In the history of English literature, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which has been continuously in print since it was first published in the winter of 1843, stands out as the quintessential Christmas story, and it tops today’s Buffet.
What makes this charming edition of Dickens’s immortal tale so special is the collection of 80 vivid illustrations by Everett Shinn (1876-1953). Shinn, a well-known artist in his day, was a popular illustrator of newspapers and magazines whose work displayed a remarkable affinity for the stories of Dickens, evoking the bustling street life of the mid-1800s. Though countless editions of this classic have been published over the years, this one stands out as particularly beautiful, nostalgic, and evocative of the spirit of Christmas.
Dickens is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. His works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the 20th century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.
Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors’ prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed.
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“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”
The holiday season brings the chance to give, and what better gift is there than one of the most beloved stories in the English language? Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the perfect companion for a cozy night by the fire.
Since its publication in 1843, A Christmas Carol and the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge have become literary classics. Illuminated with practical scholarship and questions for discussion, this edition makes a charming package that includes the facts behind the fiction, as well as the pure joy and magic of this timeless tale about the true meaning of Christmas.
Be careful what you wish for… When a lowly antiques dealer who’s in love with the governor’s girlfriend releases a genie from a magic lamp, he unwittingly wishes himself into a hole the size of the Grand Canyon!
Scars from her first love, and the reckless lifestyle of her parents force Ember Harris to chart a new course. She favors practicality over spontaneity, and rules over a broken heart.
An encounter with a musician at a local pub forces Ember into making a decision between letting go or holding on for dear life as passions are unlocked and deceptions revealed.
A Cinderella story . . .
Claire Kendrick didn’t know what to think when she was summoned to the 50th floor to meet the president of Callahan, International. As handsome, blue-eyed Nick Callahan explained her special assignment — writing an article about him for CEO Magazine — Claire’s apprehensions grew. There was something he wasn’t telling her, something odd that she couldn’t put her finger on. What did he really want from her?
Her green eyes, golden hair, and striking beauty were the first things that had caught Nick’s attention. Then he had her background checked out, and he was doubly impressed. Claire Kendrick was a smart, hard-working, loyal employee. She was also supporting her mother, who needed expensive full-time medical care. All in all, Claire was the perfect candidate for the position Nick needed to fill.
Michael and Emily are a happy and contented English couple, a writer and a school teacher. Their lives are complete when Emily falls pregnant, however their dreams are shattered one cold winter night by a car accident that robs them of their happiness.
To overcome their loss they up stick and move to Eden Gardens, a US gated community that offers “Heaven on Earth and Twice as Nice”. The people are warm and friendly and welcome them with open arms. The town is a beautiful throw back to a bygone age, where the sun always shines and the sky’s always blue.
As they settle into their new perfect lives, the circle is complete when Emily falls pregnant. The town is perfect, the weather is perfect and their lives are perfect.
But are the stares from their neighbours a little too intense, is the town a little too interested in their happy news, and is Eden all that it seems. They are about to find out that paradise comes at a cost, and when you sign a lease, you should always check the fine print.
Having achieved the exalted position of a Chief Warlord, Tecpatl was content, happy with his career and his family. Even his refusal to take an additional wife, a necessary thing for a man of his status, especially if his woman was a barbarian imported from the distant lands of Anasazi, did nothing to hinder his progress up the Tepanec military ladder. He was too successful as a War Leader to care about the opinions of others.
Yet, when the old Emperor dies, leaving two dominant heirs to struggle for succession, Tecpatl suddenly finds it difficult to follow the edicts of the dead ruler. With Atolli, his elder son and a very promising but hotheaded youth, getting caught in the political turmoil, everything changes. Tecpatl is forced to choose between his duty and his family, while his wife takes her own non-traditional paths to deal with the crisis.
Have you ever dreamed you were flying? If so, you know how exciting that type of dream can be. High School Principal Nick Townsend had those dreams regularly, and he used to enjoy them.
But in late 2012, after losing another battle against the mighty tequila demon, he awakens the next morning remembering a dream of an elementary school shooting in progress. When he sees the details from his dream on the news, he knows that he’s been given a gift (curse?) and the next time he drinks and dreams, he enlists his best friend to help him stop a shooting in Arkansas.
As his alcoholism continues to haunt him, he must decide whether to try and save more students from certain death. He wants to do the right thing. But should he risk his life when his lovely fiance is carrying his child? Will he win the war against tequila? And what if he drinks and dreams again, only to find that the next shooting is happening at HIS SCHOOL?
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.
With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, Heaven Is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.
But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?
Pay It Forward is a wondrous and moving novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better — and to put that plan into action.
The idea that Trevor comes up with is so simple and so naïve that when others learn of it they are dismissive. Even Trevor himself begins to doubt when his “pay it forward” plan seems to founder on a combination of bad luck and the worst of human nature.
What is his idea? Trevor chooses three people for whom he will do a favor, and then when those people thank him and ask how they might pay him back, he will tell them that instead of paying him back, they should each “pay it forward” by choosing three people for whom they can do favors, and in turn telling those people to pay it forward. It’s nothing less than a human chain letter of kindness and good will.
In the early summer of 1917, Bess Crawford is charged with escorting a convoy of severely wounded soldiers from the trenches of France to England. Among them is a young pilot, burned beyond recognition, who carries a photograph of his wife pinned to his tunic. But later, in a crowded railway station, Bess sees the same woman bidding a heart-wrenching farewell to a departing officer, clearly not her husband.
Back on duty in France, Bess is shocked to discover the wife’s photograph in a newspaper accompanying a plea from Scotland Yard for information about her murder, which took place on the very day Bess witnessed that anguished farewell. Granted leave to speak with the authorities, Bess very quickly finds herself entangled in a case of secrets and deadly betrayal in which another life hangs in the balance, and her search for the truth could expose her to far graver dangers than those she faces on the battlefield.
Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-there’s a rabbit in his waiting room and a trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is a brave new world where evolved animals are members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage.
Metcalf has been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an affluent doctor. Perhaps he’s falling a little in love with her at the same time. When the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in a crossfire between the boys from the Inquisitor’s Office and gangsters who operate out of the back room of a bar called the Fickle Muse.
Once upon a time a girl lost everything familiar. She escaped death by being forced into an experiment that left her in another world where modern day knights, elves, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons and fae became her allies, friends and family. She discovered a place where adventure intersects fairytales, where honor is more than an ideal, and she learned that love can find you in the strangest places, when you’re least expecting it, even when you’re far, far from home. This is the story of Elora Laiken’s strange and wonderful journey. It is also the story of those whose lives she touches along the way.
… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2