Wondering what to get people for Christmas presents? Here’s a selection of what various Liberal Democrat bloggers suggest:
Jonathan Calder recommends Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music by Rob Young: “Anyone with an interest in folk music will find this book engrossing. Young traces the rise of the genre from Cecil Sharp and other Edwardian song collectors like Ralph Vaughan Williams and George Butterworth, through the post-war radicalism of Ewan MacColl and Charles Parker, to its electronic heyday in the hands of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. He finds the visionary spirit living on in unlikely artists such as Kate Bush, Julian Cope and Talk Talk … The book has a wonderfully complete discography to guide your own exploration of folk and folk rock, and the most engrossing index I have ever come across. Richard Jefferies stands next to Jefferson Starship. Traffic next to Thomas Traherne. Steve Winwood next to Gerrard Winstanley, It reads like notes towards my own vision of Britain.”
Andrew Hickey recommends Where Dawkins Went Wrong by Andrew Rilstone: “Rilstone’s a blogger, but also a professional writer (mostly of RPGs) and the Dawkins book is a collection of his essays, mostly absolutely demolishing Dawkins from the perspective of a Christian, but an intelligent one who actually looks at evidence. While it might not be political in the party-politics sense, the growing chasm between religion and atheism is definitely a political issue, and having someone who is both liberal and secularist, but nonetheless deeply religious, examine these issues without turning it into a slanging match (though some of Dawkins’ bigger mistakes do tend to get a certain amount of sarcasm) is something that’s all too rare in current discourse.”
Mary Reid recommends The Song of Lunch: “Did you see ‘The Song of Lunch’ on the Beeb, with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman playing a couple meeting up again after 15 years? The original narrative poem by Christopher Reid would make a smart but inexpensive gift.”
Jennie Rigg recommends Old Harry’s Game: The Complete Series: “Wickedly funny. It’s an office comedy set around the administrative travails of being Satan in an overcrowded hell, and as such will be familiar to anyone who has had to deal with a recalcitrant local party.”
Duncan Stott recommends Ninja Tune XX (double CD): “Ninja Tune is a UK record label that has been belting out innovative sounds for two decades. To celebrate this anniversary they have released these compilations of exclusive new music from some of its biggest names. To anyone who wants to expose their ears to something different, or wants to celebrate the uniquely creative British music scene, these CDs are a great way to discover some of the most cutting-edge sounds being created today.”
Stephen Tall recommends Eminent Corporations by David Boyle: “We are promised a book which ‘spills the beans by telling the real life stories of some of the biggest corporate names, and finds them as dramatic, flawed and revealing as any human biography’. I love how David’s writing attempts to re-humanise society, to allow us all to enjoy the potentiality of our imagination, and not be squashed by man-made constructs.”
And finally, a recommendation from myself – Karel Capek’s War with the Newts: you can call it science fiction, you can call in political satire, you can call it alternative history but whatever you call it, this darkly humours tale is funny and thought-provoking.
Thanks to everyone for making their suggestions and providing such a broad spread of ideas. If you’ve got any recommendations of your own, pop them up in the comments thread.