For Christmas I’m given Phaidon’s new blockbuster, ‘Universe: exploring the astronomical world’. Over 300 pages of art and science images from every century, so heavy it rests on a stand to read. Traherne said we could happily spend years studying the skies, while love is where we learn. Hence ‘A different person’, memoir of the American poet and rich kid James Merrill, alive to la dolce vita. Meanwhile, this December, Bridie absorbs ‘Paris through a fashion eye’, ‘Vogue on Yves Saint Laurent’, anything haute couture. With, for light relief, ‘Blowfish’s Oceanopedia: 291 extraordinary things you didn’t know about the sea’.