Our literary pick for the month of December for Kat’s Books & Wine Club comes from an old Instagram post of Kat’s. It’s the aptly themed Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.
Available for the first time since its original publication more than fifty years ago, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm is a charming collection whose hilarious title story features Christmas dinner with the Starkadders before Flora’s arrival. With Adam playing Santa while draped in Mrs. Starkadders’s shawls, the family shares their traditional “Christmas pudding”-a mélange containing random objects of doom foretelling the coming year: a coffin nail for death, a bad sixpence for financial ruin, and a menthol cone to indicate that the lucky recipient will go “blind wi’ headache.” These lively tales will delight anyone who loves Stella Gibbons and her signature wit.
Our literary pick for the month of November for Kat’s Books & Wine Club comes from Kat’s original list of favourites. It’s Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel.
Stella Parrish is seventeen, attractive, smart, deeply alienated, and unable to countenance life’s absurdities. She is not nihilistic; she is prematurely exhausted. Since her parents OD’d on designer drugs when she was eleven, she has lived with well-meaning but inexperienced foster parents, while her grandfather, her only living relative, tries ever more ingenious ways of committing suicide in his retirement home. Here are the last two weeks of Stella’s senior year in Orange County, California: the intensive AP final exams; the childish, celebratory trips; the totemic importance attached to graduation. Beneath Stella’s mordantly funny take on her life is the decisiveness with which she disengages from it, planting clues and providing explanations for those who will try to understand the act she is about to commit. With perfect pitch, remarkable wit, and a spare, vivid prose, Stella turns her farewell to suburbia into a wry philosophical inquiry.
Back in March, during an interview with The Strategist, Miss Dennings revealed a dozen material things she cannot like without. Among them, the book which we now pick as our read for this month at Kat’s Books & Wine Club: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is the first title of the juvenile sci-fi series.
Kat’s edition, named The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide, is an omnibus volume containing books 1 to 5 and is a leatherbound edition published by Portland House. She considers it her comfort book and reveals she takes it with her on trips because just knowing it is there makes her happy.