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Professional help is at hand for stumped US gifters

New York

THE response rate for inquiries sent to the North Pole is middling at best. For a definite reply this year, it's much safer to ask a Penguin.

Faced with a reading public overwhelmed with options, Penguin Random House instituted a new programme this year: a write-in "hotline" to provide book recommendations for stumped gifters. Santa may not have the liberty to advise you at the moment, but a Penguin staff will, in two days or sooner. The hotline has fielded roughly 2,800 requests since opening...

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