Twelve books for Christmas
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Date: 1 December, 2003

Are you stuck for ideas for gifts this Christmas? Fed up with tinsel and plastic gubbins? Here’s a book for each day of Christmas that will help maintain the health of your body, mind and soul. By Charlotte Haines Lyon.

To order the book and raise money for Christian Aid projects, simply click on its title or its cover. A list of books reveiwed on this year can be found at the bottom of the page.

The Lion Literature Collection on the Human and the Divine
Edited by Mary Batchelor, £20
For book lovers everywhere, Mary Batchelor has brought together passages of our favourite books that relate to the world we live in, being human, knowing God, good and evil and the cycle of life. There is no preciousness in her choices as not only does she use the good book itself but a range of authors including Chaucer, Milne, Grisham, Alcott and Angelou to name but a few.

Hey Nostradamus
Douglas Coupland, £15.99
This is the story of Cheryl who is killed in a Columbine-style school massacre. She sits in heaven surrounded by prayers from those affected by the tragedy whilst her secret husband, Jason, his new girlfriend and his fundamentalist dad try to unpick the effects of her death several years on. Coupland at his most profound.

Double Vision
Pat Barker, £16.99
Another scorching novel from Barker, exploring the effects of war and
violence. Atheist widow Kate has been injured in a mysterious car accident, and is struggling to complete her sculpture of Christ. Husband Ben, a war photographer, was killed in Afghanistan and his friend Stephen is now dealing with the horrors of the various wars that he has reported on. Lives and traumas become ever more entangled.

My Invented Country: A Memoir
Isabelle Allende, £18.99
Writing poignantly about Chile, Allende tells us how her life has been affected by the country of her birth. With a gentle humour and passion, we are introduced to the idiosyncrasies of the nation. All this is juxtaposed with sadness as she details her exile and Pinochet’s violent coup in which her cousin, the president Salvador Allende, was killed.

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices
Xinran, £6.99
A phenomenal response to Xinran’s radio show for women enabled her to collect female stories of relationships, education, abuse, and effects of the Cultural Revolution. Her interviews with mothers, so called delinquents, and businesswomen, offer a disturbing but intriguing view of womanhood in China.

Another Day in Paradise: Front Line Stories From International Aid Workers
Edited by Carol Bergman, £17.99
Bizarrely, aid work is thought to be rather glamorous in certain circles; well this book smashes that myth with tales of spasmed guts, burnout, guilt and anguish. Focusing on natural disasters, war and fragile peace, Bergman has provided an anthology of inner strength, frustrations, fragility and love. A must read, full with engaging tales from the front line of humanity.

The Onion, Ad Nauseum Volume 14
The Onion Editors, £12.99
“NASA is an industrial subsidy in disguise. . . zombie nutritionalist
recommends all-brain diet. . . Gore delivers emergency presidential address into bathroom mirror.” Satire galore in this year’s compilation of The Onion, the US version of Private Eye, providing an antidote to Christmas schmaltz. Be warned, such scurrilous, sharp writing is not for the faint minded!

One Hundred Wisdom Stories: From Around the World
Margaret Silf, £9.99
Since time began, the art of story telling has been used to impart wisdom and this delightful book shares such tales from numerous different cultures. Silf has collected, translated and retold stories that tackle creation, sacrifice, destiny, values and the triumph of good over evil.

Vanishing Footprints: Nomadic People Speak
Edited by Anthony Swift and Ann Perry, £19.95
Expectations of the world and a changing environment are forcing human beings around the globe to change the way they live and it is thought that few Nomadic people will exist in 20 years time. Stunning photography accompanied by stories and myths told by Nomadic peoples, captures the lives of those on the edge of a precipice.

Quiet Moments
Tom Wright, £4.99
Just as Christmas festivities take their toll, Bishop Tom comes along with a well-needed pocket book with short, wise meditations to help us, literally, find peace and quiet. Words on prayer, peace, confession and silence, will help people focus on the real meaning of Christmas and life as they enter the New Year.

Joseph Epstein, £9.99
“Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all,” writes Epstein in
this refreshing little book that investigates the vice. Part philosophy,
part theology, part psychology and part personal story, Envy is fascinating. Self depreciating wit enables a potentially dry intellectual book to read remarkably easily, as well as entertain and challenge.

Man: The Haynes Owners Workshop Manual
Ian Banks, £12.99
For those men out there who need to pay more attention to their health (and understand the difference between a cold and flu) but are scared of doctors. In the same style and from the publishers of the famous car maintenance manuals, the man’s bodywork and
mechanics are explored along with instructions of how to keep it in
roadworthy condition.

Also worth a look

Free at Last: Diaries 1991-2001
Tony Benn, £9.99
The life and times of a political grandfather.

Prayers to Help You Through the Week
Olivia Warburton, £8.99
A book that does exactly what it says on the tin!

The Calling of a Cuckoo

David Jenkins, £10.99
Memoirs of a questioning Bishop.

Nadine Gordimer, £11.89
Short stories from South Africa.

Prices correct at time of going to press.

Our reviews of 2003

If you've read one of our book reviews this year and want to give or receive the book, use the following links to go to the review where you can order the book by clicking on its front cover.

A Devil's Chaplain by Richard Dawkins
• Experiment at Work - explosions and experiences at the most frightening company on earth by Andy Law
• The Bible: A History, by Stephen Miller and Robert Huber
• Memories of Bliss: God, Sex and Us, by Jo Ind
• John Wesley: A Biography, by Stephen Tomkins
• Harry Potter - The Order of the Phoenix, by J K Rowling
• Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
• Property, by Valerie Martin
• Shadowmancer, by G P Taylor
• The Age of Consent - A Manifesto for a New World Order, by George Monbiot
• Web of Deceit: Britain's real role in the world, by Mark Curtis
• A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson
• Jesus Asked, by Conrad Gempf
• Rowan Williams: A short introduction, by Rupert Shortt
• After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism in the Shadow of the Holocaust, by Richard Harries
• Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre
• Devout Sceptics: Conversations on faith and doubt, edited by Bel Mooney
• Don McCullin, published by Jonathan Cape