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The Gift of the Magi Paperback – October 26, 2015
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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About the Author
I don't remember a time that I didn't draw; I began drawing "seriously" in High School and intended to become a Technical Illustrator. Lack of planning and foresight led me to a degree in Architecture, instead of an education in Art. Further distractions, such as "lack of work" led me to an eight-year career in construction; further distractions, such as "lack of work" led me to a career with the City of Portland as a Building Plans Examiner, from which I 'retired' with a medical layoff in 1998. But the dream never died... I've been a free-lance commercial artist and designer for over 30 years. During my college years I exhibited my artwork in a number of non-juried shows, but found little time for "serious" illustration until 1988, when a ruptured appendix and a brush with death caused me to re-evaluate my goals and priorities. I realized that my future wasn't as predictable as it appeared; and that God has given me a talent He intended to be used for the benefit of others. I then decided it was time to get "serious" about my career as an illustrator. My 'body of work' is fairly eclectic in its nature, and isn't specifically geared toward one type of illustration; however, all of my illustrations are realistically-styled. My preferred media is digitally-colored graphite. As of this writing, I've illustrated seven children's books, created numerous illustrations for a variety of clients; including Steiner Korea, Scholastic Inc. and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Over the years I have created a large number of wildlife drawings and a numerous portraits. I also create Architectural and Technical illustrations. In 2015 I added digital publishing to my business; publishing four titles this year.
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O. Henry was an American short story writer who lived from 1862 to 1910, and alas drank himself to death. This is his most popular story, and it has endlessly been produced, modified and even parodied. Mrs. James Dillingham Young, more commonly called Della, has scrimped and saved, and bargained hard with merchants, but only has a $1.87 to show for it, and she needs $21 to buy the watch chain for her husband’s most prized position: an inherited gold watch.. She decides to sell her most prized position, her luxuriant long hair, and secures 20 bucks. Meanwhile, her husband is on the same wavelength… and it does not require much imagination to guess the actions he undertakes to obtain a valued gift for his wife. Each sacrifices what is most precious to them for the other, negating the utility, but not the meaning of their sacrifice.
In the written version of the story, O. Henry provided the following anti-brand statement, long before brands became a dominant consideration: “properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation – as all good things should do.” A straightforward Christmas tale on that ever so elusive true meaning thereof: 4-stars.
There is a little ironic moment that teaches us this point in the story. Yes, I think we can learn quite a bit about life from Della and Jim.
One of the greatest short story writers ever, O. Henry knew how to write about ordinary people to make them seem extraordinary. In GIFT, we are not told this young, happy couple lives in a tenement building, we are shown it in details. I loved how Della has to hang out her long hair to get it dry.
A lesson about what true gift giving is all about. I've read this to my daughter and granddaughters, and we all believe this is one of the greatest tales ever written. Many struggle to exist in today's iffy economy, yet you can only hope a sense of humor remains and love deepens due to not spending a fortune on gifts, yet giving from the heart and being able to laugh no matter the outcome.
Although I believe everyone knows the end of this story, I won't insert a spoiler, but I will ask that you re-read this short, especially the ending line. A tragic mix up, so filled with beautiful sentiment, it will bring a tear to the eye while bringing a smile to your heart. Be as wise as a Magi