Customer care manager, Suffolk Council
I am hoping that Santa will bring me The Frederica Quartet by AS Byatt (Vintage). I have caught bits of it on BBC Radio Seven and it seems like a fascinating study of society in the 20th century, and in particular of the role of women “doomed to be intelligent”. I am also hoping that Santa will bring me enough time to read all four books, as Iloved Byatt’s Possession(Vintage) but it needed some serious concentration.
I will be buying John Peel and Sheila Ravenscroft’s Margrave of the Marshes (Bantam), for my other half (and for me too if I’m honest). Peel’s various radio shows introduced the both of us to music that baffled, fascinated, intrigued and entranced us both for more than 25 years.
He also lived for many years in Suffolk, where we were both born,and, as we do, he loved the county and its football club – Ipswich Town. On a social care note, he courageously describes his childhood experience of abuse in the part of the book that he completed before his death last year.
Retired social care manager
I’m putting Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters (Harper Collins) on my wish list for Christmas. It also received a five-star review in Community Care.
Uncomfortable reading, I’m sure, about a homeless person from his chaotic present right back to his experiences as a small boy. Unfortunately, Stuart didn’t live long enough to see his book in print.
Regional manager, English Community Care Association
It’s one of those bitter winters in the early 1960s. The electricity has failed and I’m huddled by the kitchen range reading The Ghost Stories of MR James (Folio Society) by the light of the glowing coals. The snow is deep; the village cut off. I’m 13 and alone in the draughty old house reading “Oh, whistle, and I’ll come to you, my lad” (one of the best). A hard winter is forecast; time to scare myself witless again.
James Churchill – Chief executive, Association for Real Change
One for my stocking would be Churchill’s Triumph by Michael Dobbs (Headline). The triumph being referred to is not mine but that of the fictional account of Winston Churchill discussing the carving up of Eastern Europe at Yalta with Roosevelt and Stalin in 1945. How far from the truth is this version of what (might have) happened I wonder?
Service user and Community Care columnist
I’m intending to buy Turner: The Great Watercolours (Eric Shanes et al:Royal Academy) for my mother. She’s been a Turner fan for most of her life. He may be best known for his spectacular canvases, but these neglected watercolours, in my opinion, show his true genius for capturing the atmosphere and the light of a landscape. If there was one book I would like to receive, it would be Imperial Ambitions: Conversations with Noam Chomsky on the Post 9/11 World by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian (Hamish Hamilton). Chomsky has been a hero of mine since university, both as an academic, with his structuralist theories of language, and as a courageous political commentator. I would be very interested on histake on the 21st century.
Practice editor, Community Care
Every day I’m dishing up hints about Joe Moran’s Reading the Everyday (Routledge). Moran is a must-read New Statesman contributor, grilling the history and politics of the everyday, such as queueing in post-war Britain. However, you may struggle to find his book in mainstream bookshops as I don’t think he has ever cooked on TV. Or am I just cynical?
Roger McGough’s autobiography Said and Done (Random House), which gives his poetic take on the idiosyncrasies of everyday life, will be a suitable accompaniment to Moran.
Anyone who can stir-fry words like McGough is going to have me wanting to eat at their table. Every day, in fact.
Books for Christmas cont.