Books for christmas

We asked Community Care readers, reviewers and contributors which books they are hoping to receive or intending to give this Christmas. Here, and in part two next week, they tell us

Book Cover - Untold StoriesVal Brooks 
Service team leader, Nottingham

The very top of my Christmas list is Untold Stories by Alan Bennett (Faber & Faber). He must be one of the greatest observers of humanity in post-modern times. There may not be many more books from this wonderful storyteller, and in this book we learn much more about him personally, including his enriching childhood experiences. He brings humour and humility to his writings. Wonderful: I can’t wait for Santa’s sack!

Book Cover - Arthur & GeorgeAlan Corbett
Clinical director, Children At Risk In Ireland

As well as Untold Stories by Alan Bennett, I’m hoping for Arthur and George by Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape). This looks like a fascinating insight into the true story of a man accused of a crime he did not commit, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s fight to ensure justice could be done.In this age where threats of terrorism are creating a climate that sees the right to be considered innocent until found guilty being eroded, this book should be a timely reminder of the primacy of due legal and ethical process.

Book Cover - MunchAnthony Douglas
Chief executive, Cafcass
Munch by Himself by Iris Muller Westermann (Royal Academy) is not the reflections of a lone eater, but the book that accompanied the Royal Academy exhibition featuring the self-portraits of Edvard Munch, the great Norwegian painter of The Scream.The paintings area staggering visual record of a vulnerable and isolated manfrom his twenties to his eighties.His changing physical andemotional appearances are painted in stunning colours and brushstrokes and the text explains all.Required reading for anyone interested in inner turmoil.

Book Cover - Guide to HOCGerda Loosemore-Reppen
Health and social care consultant

I am interested in obtaining a new copy of the Times Guide to the House of Commons(Times Books)because I like to identify MPs who might be keen to support causes I work for. I have been involved in raising awareness about the barriers faced by deaf people with mental health problems for the charity Sign. Working with sympathetic MPs is part of this and understanding their backgrounds and the nature and demands of their constituency helps.

Book Cover - Kite RunnerJoanna Perry
Policy manager, Victim Support

I will be giving as a present the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury). It is a truly beautiful book that reveals human nature at its most beautiful andits ugliest.With it Iwill begiving the experience that I had of trying not to cry on the Tube when I was reading it!The book helped me to begin tounderstand Afghanistan and the effect of world events on a country that has suffered so much.

Book Cover - Never Let Me GoJef Smith
Writer, trainer and consultant in the care of older people
Perhaps it is not having had English as his first language that gives Kazuo Ishiguro’s prose its unique poise and his strangely off-centre stories their worryingly perceptive insights. I gather from reviews and furtive browsing that Never Let Me Go (Faber and Faber), his latest Booker-shortlisted novel, plays with and cunningly subverts the concepts of service, caring and dependency; the central characters having been bred as prospective body-part donors. The perfect present?

Book Cover - LeadershipNeil Thompson
Social care lecturer, author and director of Avenue Consulting

I will be reading Peter Gilbert’s new book on Leadership (Russell House Publishing). Leadership is partly about inspiration and I will certainly need some inspiration to get me through the silly season!

Book Cover - Human TracesMike Waddington
Head of patient and public involvement, South Essex Partnership
NHS Trust

It seems Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories is all about mental health problems in his family, including his grandfather’s suicide, mother’s depression and Alzheimer’s. How will he handle it? How reserved can he be? I’m also after Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson). This novel about psychiatry in the late 19th century could be a great contribution to public understanding though I wonder why it’s set when it is and whether, as in Birdsong, it takes you to the trenches.

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