Ah, lists of cultural stuffs. They’re paticularly prevailant at this time of year, although to be honest they’re pretty prevailant all year round on the internet. They’re okay for a giggle, I guess, but alot of them are a bit lazy and superficial.
This one is pretty interesting though. It’s from the Scottish Book Trust who turned me down for a writing bursuary earlier this year. I’m trying not to hold it against them though because, although I live in Scotland and have done for the past two years, I’m not actually Scottish. My girlfriend is though. I kinda hoped that would of counted for something. Maybe my writing just sucks.
Nah, Must be that other thing.
You’ll be able to find out for yourself soon enough as I’ll be posting extracts of my novel-in-progress at some point in the new year.
Lonely Planet – America on a Shoestring
chosen by Julia Collins
I was rather disappointed when I opened up my piece of paper to find that I had picked Jack Kerouac. Secretly, I had been hoping for a name for which I could recommend Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, as this tends to be my book of choice for, well, just about anything really. However, the thought of Jack Kerouac settling down in a drugged-up stupor to read Jane Eyre did not fit and instead I have settled for the Lonely Planet’s America on a Shoestring series.
I think that this series would have been invaluable for Jack, as apparently these books take you across the continent while “keeping some change in your pocket”.
The Complete Poems and Plays of TS Eliot
chosen by Anna Gibbons
I have agonised over this. A book for Stalin? Moreover a book that I’ve read? My repertoire consists largely of children’s fantasy and Stalin, in my humble opinion, wouldn’t get much out of Diana Wynne Jones. But I was struck by inspiration in the unlikeliest of settings. I attended a carol service in which the Professor of Divinity of Edinburgh University gave the address. I’m ashamed to admit I expected to be bored. But he spoke eloquently with a message for all, not just those who believe in the Christmas story. He talked of the Magi, the three wise men, and their quest to find Jesus and give him the gifts that were most precious to them. He particularly emphasised T S Eliot’s depiction of them in his poem ‘Journey of the Magi’ – after having seen Christ, returning to their own country and everyday lives is dull and painful. It’s hard to go back once discovery has taken you forward. The message of both the Professor and Eliot is this: life is about development, moving on, searching for a greater truth, being open, releasing the past, learning about what’s really important – messages which might have served Stalin well. As an after thought and a stocking filler I’d pop in The Little Book of Calm as well.
Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh
chosen by Olivier Joly
Tamburlaine Must Die is a thriller set in 1593 London that follows playwright Christopher Marlowe in the three days leading to his death as he searches for his own character who has escaped from between the pages of his play Tamburlaine the Great.
There is a theory that Marlowe faked his death in 1593 to re-appear as William Shakespeare (they were both baptized in 1564 and Shakespeare’s first play Comedy of Errors is believed to have been written between 1592 and 1594). It obviously makes a lot of sense for Shakespeare to read a book about his last days as his former self…
Swamp Thing: The Curse by Alan Moore
chosen by Sophie Moxon
Philip Pullman is a committed humanist who once said that, through his writing, he is “trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief”. Now I would hate to offend one of our finest writers by buying him a present in celebration of a religious festival he may well choose to ignore. Therefore, out of respect, I would like to use the money to buy myself a large glass of red wine with which to toast Philip’s continued health and happiness.
Unfortunately I’ve been told this is “cheating” so, just as a gesture of general good will, Philip is getting Swamp Thing: The Curse. This classic comic features the enigmatic John Constantine, a man who refuses to deal in absolutes and puts the good interests of people before the dictates of heaven and hell. I think Philip would appreciate that.
loads more to be found here.