Sunday, 22 December 2013

last minute crimbo book ideas

If you're stuck for ideas for a present to give your book-loving friend/relative, hopefully this list will give you some inspiration. 
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Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y and Donna Tartt's The Secret History are perfect presents for university students. The End of the Mr Y, is a thrilling adventure that includes a cursed book, time travel and literary theory. The Secret History is a great one for classicists, eccentric misfits at prestigious New English collage engage in a Bacchus frenzy. The Secret History is one of my all time favourite books, the charismatic students, intelligence and arch wit of this novel make a lasting impression.
Scarlett Thomas, The End of Mr Y (ISBN: 9781847670700)
If the intended recipient has an interest in queer literature, Giovanni's room by James Baldwin is a good place to start. Passionate and beautifully written the novel focuses on the relationship between an American man living in Paris and an Italian barman. For a list other recommended LGBT novels see here.

James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room (ISBN:780552990363)
For those with an interest in travel or for those who are about to embark on a gap year I would recommend the following: Marching Powder by Rusty young, a cautionary tale of a young man  who is caught trying to smuggle cocaine out of Boliva and is sent to the infamous San Pedro prison. Pedro Juan Cutierrez's Dirty Havana Trilogy can be found in youth hostels the world over, a condemnatory expose of poverty, vice and tourism in Cuba. Shantaram recalls the epic adventurers (though it is debatable how much is true) of the author's, time in India during the early 80's. From escaped convict, to slum doctor, to Bollywood actor to Mujahedeen fighter, Gregory David Robert's story certainty isn't dull.

Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram (ISBN: 9780349117546)

Next on my list of suggestions are two book by two very different Japanese authors, Haruki Murakami and Koushun Takami. Norwegian Wood is one of the more accessible Murakami novels, as it is less surreal compared to his other fiction. It is a simple and beautiful story of first love, mental illness and Beatles music. Takami's Battle Royal is the original Hunger Games, a class of schoolchildren are forced to fight each other on a remote Island.
Haruki Murkami, Norwegian Wood (ISBN: 9780099528982)

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danilewski has a cult following and is very difficult to summarise, I've never read anything like it. It is a twisting, experimental labyrinth of a book. Fantastic for students that have had to sit through lectures on 'the uncanny' or fans of post-modernism. House of Leaves starts with a simple narrative about a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside, but turns complex, bewildering and frightening. There are lots of different editions of this book, but  I recommend buying the full colour.

Mark Z. Danieleski, House of Leaves  (ISBN: 9780375703768) 

Mark Z. Danieleski, House of Leaves  (ISBN: 9780375703768) 

Mark Z. Danieleski, House of Leaves  (ISBN: 9780375703768) 

Hopefully this has given you some ideas, only 3 more days to go!  If you are in need of more inspiration, check out this list of novels to give a fan of war books or gift ideas for a feminist, Potterhead or writer. Or if you've got a book in mind, check my review tag, to see what I thought

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