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Society News  Pages 1  2  3
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Black Tie International:
Reception Celebrating the Release of
The New Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


Jesse Kornbluth & Paige Peterson

Jesse Kornbluth & Paige Peterson

Reception to Celebrate Release of
"The New Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol"


Best selling author and journalist Jesse Kornbluth and his beautiful wife and chef extraordinaire  Karen Collins opened their Carnegie Hill apartment for a festive holiday party to celebrate the release of Jesse's latest book, "The New Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol", the holiday classic, gently abridged for today's readers. Jesse also unveiled the brilliant illustrations for the book created by his longtime friend acclaimed artist Paige Peterson.

Just in time for the season, Head Butler released the new version of the timeless holiday classic, in e-book form edited by Kornbluth with 22 brilliant illustrations by .Paige Peterson. As Paige is a cancer survivor, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute

At the party Mr. Kornbluth, shared his reason for undertaking the project.  Remembering with great fondness the annual reading of the holiday tale at his boarding school, he attempted to share that same warm feeling with his young daughter Helen age 8. But much to his chagrin, after five minutes the little girl said, �I�m bored�.

Kornbluth chose not to blame her near-total boredom with the saga of Ebenezer Scrooge on the much talked about short attention span of children in this age of computer games, texting and instant gratification in an overly permissive culture. Instead he set about on a journey to bring Dickens� story into the 21st century � not by re-writing it but by updating the archaic prose, trimming the dialogue, cutting the extraneous characters and reducing the 28,000 words to their essence. The end result is a book half the length but coupled with Ms. Peterson�s illustrations still shows both the darkness and the light of the original morality tale.

As Kornbluth noted and many early readers agree, the new �gently abridged� version conveys �the feeling of London in 1843 without the formal diction and Victorian heaviness � it means to be a story that adults can read to their captivated kids right to the end, and that kids, starting with my daughter, can read by themselves with pleasure�.

The end result for all is an immensely readable story, much the length that Dickens himself read in 127 public readings he himself performed using an abridged version. Mr. Kornbluth turned to his longtime friend artist Paige Peterson to create the images that would capture perfectly the period. Says Kornbluth, "Over the years, as I�d looked at Paige Peterson's work, I was amazed. Her styles changed --- radically. The only common thread was excellence. So when I asked her to do the illustrations for 'A Christmas Carol' --- the first Head Butler e-book--- I gave her no directions. And that paid off, big time."  Due to the high cost of printing at the time, the original version only had 8 illustrations, 4 black and white and 4 hand-colored plates. With the freedom of the e-book, Ms. Peterson was able to create 22 powerful images that ring true to the era and capture the bleakness and often despair that was a sign of the times.

In approaching the task of the drawings, Peterson says.� I wanted the illustrations to be macabre. Dark - stark scary- mysterious -Victorian. Many children worked 16 hours a day. It was cold. It was bleak. Life was harsh and hard. There was always hunger. Scrooge was angry � hostile � revengeful - thin lipped. Mean old man. He had no joy. Or love in his heart. He was angry. Void of empathy or compassion. I wanted you to see that in his face I wanted you to feel the horrid afterlife of Marley I went to the library and brought every illustrated Dickens book I could find to a table and took in the images. I then while still at the library took my pen to paper. I began drawing. They were rough sketches; I went home and used my watercolor paints to give texture and depth. I wanted them to be raw and simple and not particularly obvious. In the end, the light of awareness bursts forth in color�.

Among those toasting Kornbluth and Peterson were: Christina Haag, Priscilla Rattazzi, Howard Kaminsky, Madeleine Morel, Alan Hruska, Dan Hedaya, Lauren Cerand, Dominique Browning, Charles Moss and Susan Calhoun Moss, Jane Friedman, Julie Iovine, John Loeffler, Nancy Silverman, Susan Lehman, Till Schnurrman,

Ginger Brown, Ann Gallagher, Susan Stein, Gretl Claggett, Charles Warner, Julia Bradford, Joan Schenkar, Jan Barker, Anki Leeds, Sarah Sym Rosenthal, Suzanne O'Malley Greenberg, David Patrick Columbia, and quite a few others.

The E-book is available in Kindle at  or at Barnes & Noble in Nook for only $2.99. To buy the Nook download of �A Christmas Carol� for $2.99, click here. To buy the Kindle download of �A Christmas Carol� for $2.99, click here. As Ms. Peterson is a multiple cancer survivor and activist, a portion of sales will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

About the Creators


As a magazine journalist, Jesse Kornbluth has been a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, New York, Architectural Digest, Reader�s Digest, The Los Angeles Times Magazine and Departures, and a contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times, etc. As an author, his books include Airborne: The Triumph and Struggle of Michael Jordan; Highly Confident: The Crime and Punishment of Michael Milken; Pre-Pop Warhol; Notes from the New Underground and The Other Guy Blinked (with Roger Enrico). Most recently, he helped Twyla Tharp on The Collaborative Habit

On the Web, he co-founded, now the hub of the Internet�s most successful non-commercial book network. From 1997 to 2002, he was Editorial Director of America Online. In 2004, he launched, a cultural concierge.




California born Paige Matthews Peterson is an American painter and illustrator specializing in acrylic landscapes, portraits, and figural images. She is the former daughter-in-law of billionaire and former US Secretary of Commerce Peter George Peterson. She now lives and works in New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. Peterson's work has been characterized as "lyrical" by the Philadelphia Inquirer[ and "spare but evocative" by the San Francisco Chronicle  Peterson has been exhibited regularly in galleries from California to Maine (where, in 2004, her paintings appeared in a group show that also featured works by Christo, Chuck Close, and Alex Katz).

In 2002, Paige Peterson was featured in Studios by the Sea, a photographic account, by Bob Colacello and Jonathan Becker, of artists working and living on Long Island's East End,  and, a year later, she was selected for lifetime membership in the Guild Hall Academy of the Arts.  In 2006, she co-authored and illustrated the children's book Blackie, The Horse Who Stood Still, which is in its fifth printing from Welcome Books in New York City.  In July 2008 her work was featured in a one-woman show at the Spanierman Gallery in East Hampton, New York.  In March 2011 Paige had a show at the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York City. The show was curated by Peter Marcelle. Christopher Cerf and Paige Peterson have a new children's book "Skidboot the Dog" coming out in Spring 2012. An advocate for cancer research, she is a Senior Vice President of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and speaks around the country on The Power of Attitudinal Healing through the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Attitudinal Healing International.  She is also the Vice President of Special Projects for Welcome Books, where she has an imprint, Cerf & Peterson.


Joyce Brooks

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