It's the Christmas season at SteynOnline, which this year is also a time of convalescence for Mark. We thank you for all the good wishes sent his way in recent days.
While Mark recuperates, we have a full slate of seasonal programming. Tonight we present the latest of this year's seasonal Tales for Our Time, Steyn's series of audio adventures that we offer as a bonus for Mark Steyn Club members and which every December turns to more festive fare. As Steyn Clubber (and Steyn Cruiser) Susan Havey puts it:
You will never know how much your Tales for Our Time means to me. They are directly responsible for the upswing in the quality of my life. How? Instead of listening to the news when I go to bed at night I now listen to your Tales...
I love the stories, the timber of your voice. I learn something new from listening to books that I have never read before and visiting old favorites such as Alcott and Doyle warms my heart.
Please don't stop with the video poetry either!
Thank you, Susan - and we hope this Christmas entertainment is also to your tastes. It's one of the most famous of all American short stories - and, in fact, a perfectly constructed tale. Which is all the more remarkable when you consider the circumstances of its creation. In Mark's introduction, he talks about the author "O Henry", the real life behind the nom de plume, and one of the most productive couple of hours ever spent in a New York bar. And then we'll attend to the tale - of a loving but impoverished couple in an eight-dollar-a-week furnished flat on the eve of Christmas:
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling...
To hear Mark read The Gift of the Magi, prefaced by his own introduction to the story, please click here and log-in.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club over five years ago, and we're very touched by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. As Mark said at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but, if you've enjoyed bonus features such as our Steyn Club audio adventures and you're looking for a Yuletide present for someone special, we hope you'll consider a Christmas Gift Membership. Aside from Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with Mark, such as last Friday's;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, and our other video content;
~Mark's video series of classic poetry;
~Priority booking for the annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise, and advance booking for other special appearances;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to The Gift of the Magi but to all the other audio adventures listed below.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you regard this gift as one of those you hasten to exchange on Boxing Day, then feel free to comment away below.
For dozens of other Tales for Our Time, see here.