Photographic evidence that reading with my parents caused my obession with books…
It’s that time of year again. We haven’t even reached Halloween, but there is wrapping paper and tinsel in the shops. I annually bemoan the fact that I hate this cynical commercialism and the premature climax of the festive season which comes about as a result. By December 21st, I have something of a Christmas hangover induced by the incessant repetition of Christmas carol covers and Glitz-will and Schmaltz to all mankind. So I apologise for broaching the subject of Christmas this early.
But in the interests of spreading the financial cost of Christmas (as espoused by Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert) I am getting some of my shopping done early. Normally I wouldn’t worry too much; I don’t have to do a “full” Christmas- by which I mean dinner, kids and relatives descending, but I am saving for a house deposit in the unlikely event that there really is a housing crash which would bring a nice little terrace house within my budget… but I digress.
Christmas presents. I like to get the people on my Christmas list books. What if they don’t like to read? Well a. people (you know who you are) persist in buying me perfume, bubble bath etc. when I have eczema and b. they are no friends of mine if they point-blank will not read on principle. Snobbish? Probably, but I don’t have time for pig-headed anti-intellectualism. Anyway, here are my key gift list members and the books I will be getting them. And I’m taking a risk because I haven’t read ANY of them!
If you are a sibling DO NOT read any further!
Father: An obsessive compulsive reader, probably where I get it from.
I spotted Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt. Everyone knows that Churchill was plagued by the black dog (his name for his depression). Mr Chartwell, a massively imposing black dog, as he pays court to Churchill and a young woman called Esther Hammerhans, bringing their very separate lives together for possibly very strange and dark purposes.
Older Sister: Likes to read the book of the moment.
Room by Emma Donoghue has been gaining a lot of media coverage this year. Shortlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize, Room is narrated by a very young boy who has been only ever known the small basement room in which he lives with his mother, the victim of a Josef Fritzl style criminal. The subject matter is horrific, but the critical acclaim is fantastic. It’s certainly one to talk about.
Older Brother: Devoted reader of my blog
I read a short story in The Observer magazine the other weekend, which was kind of like a modern fable. You can read it here. It’s an extract from a book called Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary which seem pretty witty and amusing. Plus it draws on my brother’s teasing me about my obsession with rodents and any small creatures.
Little Sister: Chaotic Student
My little sister is currently in her second year at university and, like myself when I was in my second year at university, seems to be keen on stamping her identity on her surroundings. Photos on walls, fancy dress items displayed as modern art and bed linen which you intended to sum up your personality but ended up reflecting more on your budget… Anyway, she’s a fan of Audrey Niffennegger’s writing, and when I saw that she’s actually written a few picture books as well, I thought that The Night Bookmobile, a graphic novel, would be the perfect book to read and display.
Boyfriend: Bibliophobic Football Addict
Can We Play You Every Week?: A Journey to the Heart of All 92 Football League Clubs is a compromise which should keep him quiet when I’m trying to read my books.
Niece: Chubby Cheeked Ankle-Biter
When buying a book for a toddler you want to make it The Gruffalo, failing that, The Gruffalo Child. As it is, I’m pretty sure that my niece has both of these, so you can imagine my excitement when I found Stick Man from the team behind the mighty Gruffalo. Mr Stick lives with Mrs Stick and his little sticks in the family tree. However, he’s having a hard time getting back to them as he is ruthlessly chased by a dog, used as a building material by a broody bird and has a worryingly close encounter with a fire. I just hope it all turns out ok in the end…