Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker recommends presents and holiday reading

Issue No. 1778

Top of the list of novels has to be The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré (£6.99). It is a gripping novel, which exposes the murderous activities of profit-hungry giant pharmaceutical companies. Le Carré's novels have got more political in recent years. Particularly relevant today is The Tailor of Panama (£6.99), which shows the viciousness of US imperialism.

Booker Prize winner True History of the Kelly Gang (£16.99) by Peter Carey is a brilliant fictional version of the life of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, which is full of class anger. The English Passenger by Matthew Neale (£6.99) tells the chilling story of how the British destroyed Tasmania's Aboriginal population. It makes acute, funny observations about class in 18th century Britain.

The Element of Water by Stevie Davies (£9.99) is set in post-war Germany. She explores issues of guilt and complicity in Nazism. Johnny Got His Gun (£5.99) by Dalton Trumbo is a classic anti-war novel whose author was later witch-hunted by the US authorities.

Three brilliant novels are in Naguib Mahfouz's 'Cairo Trilogy' – Palace Walk, Palace of Desire and Sugar Street (£7.99 each) – set in the days of the British protectorate in Egypt in the first half of the 20th century. Also worth reading is Ahdaf Soueif's novel The Map of Love (£6.99), set in colonial Egypt.

In the Blue House by Meaghan Delahunt (£16.99) is an atmospheric novel which describes the complicated relationship between Leon Trotsky, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. For those who like thrillers, try Ian Rankin's Set in Darkness (£5.99). It brilliantly conjures up the sleazy atmosphere of official Scottish politics-and this was before Jack McConnell took over!

Every picture tells a story

War Primer by Bertolt Brecht (£19.95)

Brecht was a brilliant and popular socialist playwright and poet. This book was written when he was a refugee from Nazi Germany. Its photographs and poems show the horrors of war and who is to blame.

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society and an Early Cry for Civil Rights by David Margolick (£9.99)

'Strange Fruit' is one of the greatest anti-racist songs of all time. It was made famous by Billie Holiday in the 1940s. This book tells the story of both the song and the singer, and a free CD of Billie's brilliant recording is thrown in.

Revolutionary Portraits (£3.99 each, all four for £12)

A series of four wonderful books about Mozart, Diego Rivera, John Coltrane and Rembrandt. Beautifully produced, CD sized, and complete with colour pictures, these are great stocking fillers.

Horror and hope

For an interesting look at imperialism try Sven Lindqvist's The History of Bombing (£14.99). It shows how aerial bombing was linked to imperialism and racism. It also has a fascinating study of how popular literature was influenced by imperialism. Lindqvist's earlier work Exterminate All the Brutes (£5.99) also shows the horrors of imperialism.

The Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud by Said K Aburish (£8.99) is a gripping account of the corruption at the heart of the dictatorial Western-backed regime in Saudi Arabia.

There is a huge amount of literature on the revolutionary Che Guevara. One of the best accounts of his life is the biography by Jon Lee Anderson (£14.99).

Mike Davis's inspiring account of the life and struggles of Latino workers in the US, Magical Urbanism (£10), is now out in paperback. So too is the second volume of Ian Kershaw's fascinating biography of Hitler (£10).

The Book of Nothing by John D Barrow (£8.99) is an enjoyable and accessible way into understanding mathematics. Robert Fisk has provided some of the best reports from the war in Afghanistan. His brilliant book about Lebanon, Pity the Nation (£10.99), has just been reissued and updated.

If you want a flavour of what life is like for Palestinians under Israeli occupation then The New Inifada: Resisting Israel's Apartheid (£13), edited by Roanne Carey, is a brilliant place to start.

Get a free copy of The New Intifada if you give someone a year's subscription to Socialist Review this Christmas. Phone 020 7538 3308.

Use your imagination

Michael Rosen's Shakespeare, his World and his Work (£12.99) is an imaginative and accessible way of opening the door on the world of Shakespeare. Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah (£4.99) is a brilliant story about the experience of a refugee for those aged ten and above. If adults get mean they get The Giggler Treatment (£4.99). Find out what it is in this great book for younger readers by Irish writer Roddy Doyle.

Unstoppable If... (£10.99) is the story of New Labour's first term seen through the eyes of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.

All the above and more available at BOOKMARKS Bookshop

Bookmarks will be open every day in December untill 1pm on Xmas Eve. Mon 12-7, Tues-Fri 10-7, Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5

To order titles phone 020 7637 1848, contact or visit Bookmarks, 1 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QE

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Article information

Sat 8 Dec 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1778
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