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Christmas Issue 2011


Classics Books for Christmas

The master of writing pageturning non-fiction, Bryson has once again delivered with this work about domestic history. Perfect for anyone who has an inquistive mind and a must for Bryson fans.

The epic conclusion to the fantasy series; Inheritance wraps up the story of Eragon, the Last Dragonrider, and his steed & friend Saphira as they lead a rebellion against the totalitarian regime of King Galbatorix.

The prolific King’s first foray into historical fiction, 11.22.63 is a time travelling thriller. If you had the opportunity to travel back to 1958, what would you do: live in the past for five years in an attempt to save JFK?

Set in a dystopian America where selected children have to fight to the death, it’s action packed with an emotional core. Plus the film is due to be released in cinemas soon, so you’ll be preempting the popular rush to the shelves.

This collates all of the recipes from the TV series plus new ones. Based on the multicultral heritage of British food, it includes dishes such as 12 hour stewed rabbit bolognese, amongst many other mouthwatering pieces.

Heralded as one of the best young adult books of the last few years, this book by internet celebrity John Green is a teenage romance thriller - unputdownable and difficult to define. A must read.

The companion to the popular series, this will add to the knowledge you’ve already garnered from listening to Sir Attenborough’s voice over the past few weeks. The best way to learn about the Arctic natural world.

Triumphantly returning after a long break from the public eye, Alan Partridge’s autobiography will have you in fits of laughter. You will be knowing him, Aha!

Golden Oldies

Christmas isn’t just about new things; presents can be from a time before the internet - fancy that! Mortal Engines, the first book in the Hungry City Chronicles, tells the story of a future world where cities roam around feasting on each other for fuel. Based around the first ever mobile city, and now one of the last, London, the tale follows two different storylines. One is of an apprentice to the Guild of Historians who has been dragged off of the city

by a would-be assassin. The other concerns the foiling of a fiendish plot by the Mayor and the Guild of Engineers that could change the face of Municipal Darwinism forever. It’ll be another year until the film hits the big screen but The Hobbit will always be a superb gift as it’s a superb book. The classic story is well-known and loved by all so this will make a brillaint gift for a younger brother, sister, cousin or even a parent; Tolkien’s work is ageless.

A Bookworm’s Lament Classic of the Month

Elsewhere in this paper there is an article about the ineffable growth of eBook readers such as the Kindle. Over the last year these devices have gone from expensive toys to affordable tools available for the majority of people; with the release of even cheaper models there is sure to be increased sales for those buying them for Christmas presents. I have to be honest with you here: I do not like the concept of eBooks; the idea offends my bookwormish sensibilities.

This is a very traditionalistic point of view but, when it comes to books, I’ve always been snobby. The feel of a paper tome in your hands as you delve into a world or find out more about our own planet is inescapably wonderful. Books have had an hypnotic hold on me ever since I began devouring the lending boxes at my primary school and the thought of neglecting them for a screen; well I feel that some of the magic would be lost. We already spend the vast majority of our time nowadays


reading off of a screen so when it comes to the intimate act of reading a novel I think it demands a physical copy of the work - for one, it will never run out of battery or breakdown on you. Many of you will disagree; when I think rationally I do too. Having the ability to carry hundreds of books around with you without needing Father Christmas’ magical sack should be any book lover’s dream, yet I don’t think I’ll be able to get my head around this one technological leap for a long time to come.

Luke Dobson

Marley was dead: to begin with. What other opening line conjures up that ebullient festive feeling that comes from the eerie mid-winter tale that is A Christmas Carol? Possibly the most well-known and retold Christmas story of all time, second only to the Nativity, Dickens’ short work is the perfect little read for the crisp nights leading up to the 25th. Have any of you actually ever read it though? The reason everyone knows the story so well is because the adaptations of it have been so prolific and, unlike other books, faithful. After all, who doesn’t know and love A Muppet’s Christmas Carol or Bill Murray’s modern retelling Scrooged? However good these films are, the book

is still better; darker, yes, but better. This was a social commentary on greed and ignorance towards the plight of your fellow man, so the subject matter is bleak but that’s what makes the redemption of Scrooge so much brighter and uplifting. Pick up a copy and enjoy it whilst sipping on a hot chococlate, surrounded by the lights of Christmas.

Aaronovitch’s London

here are some people, Ben Aaronovitch claims in his new book Moon Over Soho, who are born Londoners, even if they only visit for the first time in their old age. There are others who are born in London who never quite get it, and dream of escape. I fall into the first category. Despite be-

ing born within the gravity of the great city that is London, I am absolutely and incontrovertibly a Londoner at heart. There’s little about the city I don’t love, and as Aaronovitch says, “Every Londoner has their manor - a collection of bits of the city where they feel comfortable”. Everything between the Embankment and Regent’s Park is where I feel most at home. Despite being found firmly in the sci-fi/fantasy section of your lo-

cal bookshop, this book (as well as its predecessor in the series, Rivers of London, in what will eventually be a trilogy) will speak to anyone with a love for the city of London, as well as anyone who enjoys a good piece of fictional storytelling. I am not the biggest fan of sci-fi/fantasy books; generally I find them cold and dull, but there are certain authors in the genre whose books I love, simply because of the way they write. Authors

like Jasper Fforde and his Thursday Next series or Neil Gaiman and everything he’s ever written manage to treat the genre with a humour and tonguein-cheek wit that makes you forget the nerdy overtones of the subject (in this case, jazz vampires and the last apprentice wizard in Britain), and just enjoy a well-told story. For me, that is what reading is all about.

Jez Harvey

Seren - 221 - 2011/12 - December Issue  

This is the December 2011/12 issue of Seren, Bangor Univeristy's English Language Newspaper. Produced by students for students.