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Okay, so here’s the thing: many of you are feeling anxious because you are so far behind in your holiday shopping. Last year at this time you swore that this year would be different. But here it is, December 19th, and you still haven’t purchased presents for a number of your friends and relatives. What are you going to do?

On the one hand, there are those friends/relatives you admire the hell out of, but you are not so close to them that you feel the need to spend an arm and a leg on them. And then there are the ones you absolutely feel the need to spend an arm and a leg on. The thing is, you’ve been able to find the leg, but try though you might, you cannot find the arm. And then there are those people that you have already spent an arm and a leg on, but you want to get them a little something extra–maybe the leg or the arm you purchased for them wasn’t the perfect arm or the perfect leg.

Regarding all of the above cases, you’re thinking, I know exactly how much I want to spend on him and on her, oh, and on them. I want to spend exactly $20.95. And you’re thinking, it’s getting late in the season, so I will have trouble finding a different present for each of those people.

And then it’s as if you were struck by a bolt of lightening that leads you to a new feeling of freedom:

You can buy the same exact present for each of those people.

Of course, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and no where is this more true than in our minds. Yes, there is definitely something you don’t like about the idea of being so lazy. Until, that is, it hits you that it would work if you bought them all the same book. After all, who doesn’t want to receive a book? Who indeed? And who doesn’t want to receive a book that many of his or her or their friends will be receiving as well? Especially if it is a book about which everyone will have a lot to say.

Your mind is boiling over now. Though, in fact, you ARE being lazy in buying them all the same present, if you play your cards right, your friends/relatives will be none the wiser. If you play your cards right, they will not think you were merely trying to save time. No way. It will look to them as as if you had a masterful plan, namely, to get them all in a conversation about a topic that would be of interest to them all. And if you were really lucky, and if you chose the perfect book, it would be a topic about which they would not fight with each other and ruin the holidays.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are in luck. I know for a fact that there is only one such book that meets all of the above criteria. I suspect that numerous books would meet the price criterion. After all, $20.95 is quite a common price for a book. And numerous books would delight a variety of readers. But as it happens, during these divisive times there is but one book that could be given both to progressives and regressives that would not cause a fight between those two parties were they to partake in a discussion about said book.

I am more than a little familiar with the author and he has given me his personal assurance that his book has been read by progressives and regressives, and he has received glowing reviews and compliments from members of both parties. And while this thrills him, it does not surprise him, given that the topic is the sad state of the Prison Industrial Complex in these United States. And as if that’s not enough, it is also about Education in America. Oh, and it’s also about race in America!

Imagine, that: Three topics about which everyone agrees! Moreover, all of them are in one book.

The book is titled, THE NEW PLANTATION: LESSONS FROM RIKERS ISLAND. And here’s the clincher: the book costs exactly $20.95, exactly the amount you were hoping to spend. Carl Jung had a word for it: SYNCHRONICITY.

And by the way, make sure that you are not left out of the conversation. Order a copy for yourself.

It can be purchased directly from the publisher, which is the cheapest way, i.e., $20.95 includes the cost of postage (

Or you can order it from Amazon (

Or, you can purchase it at your local bookstore (if not in stock, be sure to tell the clerk to order it through SPD rather than Ingram, or it will take forever to receive the book).

The only bookstores that I know of who have it in stock right now are all of the Sherman’s Bookstores in Maine (Portland, Freeport, Damariscotta, and Camden).

Riverrun Books (Portsmouth, NH).

The Tribune (Norway, Maine).

And Happy Holidays to you all. And remember, please don’t take the X out of Xmas.

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