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Christmas Reading: Part 7

Written by Chris Routledge, 25th December 2008

Happy Christmas!

Ella Jolly, Reader-in-Residence, Bibby Line Group

Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Although I love Pride and Prejudice for Elizabeth Bennett’s dancing wit, Sense and Sensibility for Marianne Dashwood’s passionate romanticism, it is Persuasion’s Anne Elliot whom I most admire. As a girl she is convinced to throw away her own happiness; as a young woman, in spite of disappointment and loneliness and her awful family, she is dignified, courageous and perennially hopeful. I look forward to curling up beneath the boughs of our Christmas tree anticipating Captain Wentworth’s final love letter  and those lines ’You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me that I am not too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself with a heart even more your own than when you first broke it eight years ago... I have loved none but you...’ 

The books I’ll give....

Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance  by Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Mostly I feel hugely uninspired by politicians. However, this year, for the first time in my life, I felt as if the political victory of this one man could really change my life – and I’m not even American! I am yet to read Obama’s books, but I hear they are eloquent, passionate and highly intelligent. They’ll be wrapped and hidden under the tree for my father – and then I plan to hijack them. 

The book I am hoping for...

Selected Poems 1923 – 1958 by e.e. cummings

For me, 2008 has been the year of the poem. I have bought more poetry books than any other kind, studied 20th century American poetry intensively and wondrously, and now am determined to bring the myriad pleasures of poetry to people in Bibby Line Group. Recently I’ve been enjoying lots of e.e. cummings. I love how his unconventional syntax and almost made-up language simultaneously make no sense and all the sense in the world. His poems ‘I thank you god for most this amazing day’ and ‘i carry your heart with me’ have affected members of my groups in Bibby more profoundly than I could have imagined. It’s the fresh and direct communication of feeling which does it I think – it’s impossible to read and be unmoved by his writing. And that’s my favourite kind of poetry.

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Katie Clark, Project Worker, Get Into Reading

The book I will be reading this Christmas

I will be re-reading  Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights which I enjoyed as a teenager and have wanted to return to for some time. I love the dark energy that surges through the book and always enjoy picturing Emily Bronte writing such passionate descriptions of Heathcliff in the parsonage in Haworth, struggling to put the two contrasting pictures together somehow. The description of Wuthering Heights and the cold, bleak moor alongside the strong, tempestuous characters are perfect for snuggling up on a cold Christmas evening in front of the fairy lights!

The book I will be giving this Christmas

I will be giving a copy of Penguin’s Poems for Life, a beautiful anthology of poems beautifully selected and inspired by a few lines in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, in which Jaques describes a human life as having seven distinct ages. This book is available in a lovely hardback edition, and Penguin have recently released a paperback version which is a great stocking filler! I think that everyone could find a poem they love among this wonderful collection.

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Jen Tomkins, Communications Officer, The Reader Organisation

This Christmas I will be reading Eat, Pray, Love as it's been recommended (highly and on numerous occasions) to me by friends as a fantastically uplifting read. So, that's for the lighter moments (or should I say, heavier as I will be weighted down with goose, mulled wine and chocolates by then) and for the other times, when I feel I can face a bit more of a challenge, I have Primo Levi's If Not Now, When?.

I will be giving (and I hope none of my family or friends read this): The Quantum of Solace by Ian Fleming and Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris,  both collections of short stories for busy people that tell me they have 'no time to read', I hope this will be an encouragement; Judith Kerr's The Tiger that Came for Tea (not for a child but for someone that still wished, in a way, that he was) and Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale, a novel about a tormented artist and the legacy she leaves behind after her death.

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