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Location: The Residence, Central Park South, Manhattan

Good things come in small packages! Or so a wise Elf-on-the-Shelf once said. Speaking of small..When it comes to stocking stuffers you definitely can’t go wrong with a nice perfumed candle, but what about a good read that will keep you cuddled up at the fire place? Hashtag Do Not Disturb.

 

I asked my friends & fam (a.k.a. Sophie’s Helpers) which books would simply give them a wonderful Xmas time, and I rounded up a list with the best bookish stocking stuffers. Available for immediate gift-giving and yes.. I checked it twice.

 

SECRETS OF A FASHION THERAPIST BY BETTY HALBREICH
The secret to great style is being comfortable in your own skin. It’s dressing who you are rather than who you think you should be. If you have a hard time being honest to yourself, you might be in need of some brutally honest retail therapy. Enter, Betty Halbreich. Bergdorf Goodman, and possibly New York City’s, most famous personal shopper (since 1978) will tell you to take that dress off immediately and never think of it again before it’s even zipped up. Or to say “That’s enough, don’t buy anymore—it’s over.” Like a true wisecrack Fashion Fairy Godmother should. – GRACE

 

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MOLLY’S GAME BY MOLLY BLOOM
There is no such thing as beginners luck. There is hard work, determination and a craving for…more. More than the cards you are dealt with. Molly Bloom rejected convention and went from small town girl and Olympic hopeful to a woman running the world’s most exclusive and decadent man cave, welcoming Wall Street titans, politicians, A-list actors in Hollywood and New York to her poker table. Her downfall showed me that she’s woman enough to up her game when a bad run of decisions leads her into the hands of both the Russian mafia and the FBI. She owned up to breaking the law and dealt with it. Showing the world that life, like poker, isn’t a game of chance, it’s a game of skill. And at the end of the day, the stakes are always high. I don’t know about you, but I’m all in. – KAT

 

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THE ART OF WAR BY SUN TZU
When Gordon Gekko mentioned ‘The Art of War’, my teenage self pulled up his suspenders, embraced his inner armchair soldier and read the bible of the play-to-win strategists (the good, the bad and the controversial). General Tzu’s military strategy, positioning, planning and leadership lessons have answered many of my questions about the Art of Business ever since. My most important Sun Tzu lesson? Assessment. Know yourself, know your enemy, and if you’re enemy is Kat… run like a thunderbolt in the opposite direction. Not kidding here. If General Tzu would have faced Kat on the battlefield he might have added a fourteenth chapter called: Go where The Kat is not. She’s my friend, but the woman can make onions cry. – GEORGE

 

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THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING BY T.H. WHITE
The book I would take to a deserted island? ‘The Once and Future King’ by T.H. White. Why? Well, there’s of course the three shipwrecked survival ingredients: adventure (Wart and Kay meeting Robin Hood), history (Merlyn living backwards in time), and humor (all the dramatic-sarcastic quirks of the characters), but most and foremost the book is a continuous invitation to – and I quote Merlyn — “Learn why the world wags and what wags it.” It’s a tale about the greatness we as humans–with all our faults, foibles, and failings— can achieve. Something to remind myself of when I need to build a raft and all I have to rely on is George (the reason why I’m shipwrecked in the first place) screaming ‘don’t panic’ to himself. – FREDERICK

 

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INDONESIA, ETC.

Barack Obama once said, “Because Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, hundreds of languages and people from scores of regions and ethnic groups, my time here helped me appreciate the humanity of all people.” There are very few good books in English that help you understand the beautiful diversity of the Indonesian people. Elizabeth Pisani’s richly entertaining account of a year spent traveling around the archipelago is one of them. She weaves a deep knowledge of a country working on its ‘etc.’ since 1945. The year it said that it would “work out the details of the transfer of power etc. as soon as possible. – SOPHIE

 

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STOCKING STUFFERS FOR LITTLE READERS & FAIRY TALE ENTHUSIASTS

 

DIFFERENT LIKE COCO by ELIZABETH MATTHEWS
Here’s what I can do. I can pick up the phone and call fashion designers to say “Pardonnez-moi but abricot pourri is the new black. Je vous en prie. You’re welcome.” When my mom takes me to the shows in Paris we go backstage to meet the designers. I like them all but none of them is Coco Chanel. I think Coco and I could have been best friends because she is absolutely chic and different like me. I think she would have liked that I want to become the President of Mars and wear a dress with sneakers. – POPPY

 

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JUNGLE BOOK BY RUDYARD KIPLING / ILLUSTRATED BY MINALIMA
First of all, I am a man-cub and I must learn all about the Law of the Jungle. So, Wally, Chief of the Wolves, and I must hunt the ToyRoom for the next moon. Or for bare necessities like Lego droids, Hot Dogs and dinosaurs. I already know three Laws. I can not look Pythons in their eyes. When I run into Shere Khan I use my hard stare and I tell him that I had it up till here. And I must wash my hair with shampoo. – PARKER

 

 

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BY GABRIELLE-SUZANNA BARBOT DE VILLENUEVE / ILLUSTRATED BY MINALIMA
Today, my tutor Charlie told me that I am utterly lacking in the concentration department so I said: Look, Charles Henry, it is simply impossible to talk about moody revolutions when the last rose leaf might fall off as we speak. I add one of my “For Goodness Sake-s” to show the importance of my point. Sometimes tutors do not at all have their priorities straight. Actually, Charlie reminds me of The Beast sometimes. He can be dreadfully stubborn and utterly wrong. – POPPY

 

 

PETER PAN BY J. M. BARRIE / ILLUSTRATED BY MINALIMA
You want to hear a story? I’ve got a great one. It’s about my friend, Peter Pan. He is the bestest pirate fighting friend you can wish for. He told me that you can’t doubt whether you can fly because all kids can. We like to play sword fights together. Sometimes Tiger Lily joins us and we all tease Captain Hook. We like to hear him scream ‘PAAAAAAAANNNNN’! Next time you should come with us. How you get there? Well, second star to the right and straight on ’til morning, of course! – PARKER

 

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THE LITTLE MERMAID BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON/ ILLUSTRATED BY MINALIMA
I am an only child but not a lonely one. My best friend Parker lives on the top floor. We see each other at least every day. There is Mr. Finch. He guards our building and tells me how the Queen of England is doing today. And than there is Ariel, Thumbelina and the Snow Queen. They live in my book. George is my mom’s and my roommate and he says that everything you can imagine is real and I absolutely imagine them. See? My life is full with lots of people and a mermaid. – POPPY

 

 

Stuff it like you mean it and… Merry Readings!

 

XO, SOPHIE

 

Illustration: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE / Styling: Priscilla Obermeier

 

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