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Books for Christmas Part II

  How are you? Imagine if, last Christmas, you had been told: in a year's time you will all be masked, you will not be able to touch, to hug friends, to dance. You will have been locked up in your houses for months. You will be separated from your loved ones indefinitely. Many of you will lose your jobs. Some of you will die. The brutal pandemic has the quality of a curse in a fairytale - it still seems unreal, that life on this planet has altered so completely, if temporarily - let's hope. This time next year may we all be hugging with abandon, packing the theatres, restaurants, clubs and places of worship. *(I just deleted a paragraph on politics. Let's not go there, shall we?). Where were we? Hope. Books as ever have been an enormous solace, and I've read over eighty this year for fun it seems, aside from research. It's the first year I haven't travelled since January. That Berlin notebook is full of sparky ideas, and cuttings, and the joy of the new. I miss

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