The TLS goes to press on Tuesday for publication on Friday. Every Tuesday, that is, except for two Tuesdays per year. In the last week of August, and the last week of December the TLS staff take a “reading week”, an office half term. To compensate, there is always a double issue the week before “halfers”: the summer double issue and in this case, the Christmas double issue.
The current Christmas double issue, dated December 23 & 30, includes Martin Amis on Nabokov, James Campbell on the letters of Ernest Hemingway, A. N. Wilson on the letters of P. G. Wodehouse; pieces on Christopher Hitchens and Steve Jobs; reviews of Swallows and Amazons at the Vaudeville Theatre, the film Hugo and the film Margaret; Joseph Heller, Georges Simenon, Harold Bloom, Alice Oswald. The list goes on. And then there’s the Christmas quiz.
Many longstanding subscribers will know off by heart not to expect a new issue today, December 30. Some will understandably get caught out, and might call in, to say they are missing a TLS. The week before was a double issue, we explain, everyone needs a week off.
But it was not always thus.