Lib Dem Bloggers’ Christmas stocking fillers… Part II

by Stephen Tall on November 23, 2011

What presents are you looking forward to giving or receiving this year? That’s the question LDV posed to a group of Lib Dem bloggers. All this week we’re revealing what they told us, with link-throughs to Amazon for your shopping convenience (and ‘cos the referral fees help support LibDemVoice: so get clicking and ordering). Part I is available here. In part two, our second trio of bloggers – Caron Lindsay, Andrew Hickey and Mark Valladares – give us the low-down on their Xmas faves…

Caron Lindsay

Elisabeth Sladen: The Autobiography
There’s always been an affinity between Lib Dems and Doctor Who so it’s appropriate to recommend the recently published autobiography of the actress who played the best loved companion in the show’s almost half century history. Elisabeth Sladen made journalist Sarah Jane Smith a role model not just for my generation, but for my daughter’s too after she was given her own spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, in 2007. There aren’t many parts for women in their sixties who save the world on a daily basis, but Lis did the job supremely well until her untimely death from Cancer earlier this year. She had completed the first draft a couple of months before her diagnosis. I saw her at conventions over the years so I’ve heard a few of the stories before, and I can hear her voice recounting them in the book. It’s so genuinely and beautifully written that it’s already had me in tears several times. As an added treat for we politicos, she tells us about the day she threw up on a future Tory minister. Anyone who likes Doctor Who will thank you for this.

Andrew Hickey

First, obviously, everyone should buy all five of the books wot I’ve rit. If for some reason that’s not considered a good enough present (though who wouldn’t love them?) then:

The six Doctor Who Target novels that have recently been reissued (eg, Doctor Who and the Cybermen). A reminder of a time when Doctor Who had comprehensible plots that made sense on their own terms.

The Beach Boys’ The Smile Sessions (available in 1-CD, 2-CD, or gargantuan 5-CD-plus-four-vinyl set). The greatest album never made. This incomplete version isn’t up to the standard of the finished version Brian Wilson put out seven years ago, but it still contains seven tracks (Our Prayer, Heroes & Villains, Cabinessence, Wonderful, Surf’s Up and Good Vibrations) that are the equal or superior of any music ever recorded.

The Monkees Original Album Series (5-Pack) contains five CDs for a tenner, and takes you from their early bubblegum pop classics through to the really strange but beautiful psych-rock they recorded on their own. At least two of the five albums deserve to be ranked with anything by the Beatles, Beach Boys, Kinks or Dylan, and it’s only ten pounds.

George Orwell’s Collected Essays. I’m always amazed how many people haven’t read Orwell’s non-fiction, by far his best work.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton. The most intelligent, interesting cartoonist to have come out of webcomics who isn’t called Chris Onstad, parodying everything from Canadian history to the Hardy Boys by way of Edward Gorey.

And finally, a subscription to Liberator, to stop us getting too comfortable/complacent with the coalition. I often disagree with Liberator’s line on individual issues, but we need our dissenting voices now more than ever.

Mark Valladares

Might I be so bold as to recommend Terry Pratchett’s Snuff as a good read for all socially aware Liberal Democrats.

In the latest in the wildly successful ‘Discworld’ series, Pratchett sends Sam Vimes to his country estate, where dark deeds are afoot. Pratchett’s books generally have a strong moral element which is there for the reader to spot, without being overtly pressed, and ‘Snuff’ is no exception.

It wouldn’t be ‘Discworld’ without Lord Vetinari and his ‘interesting’ view of governance, and politicos will find much to admire in his handling of international diplomacy. Oh yes, and there’s lots of Lady Sybil too, as well as discreetly implied violence – fun for all the family.

If you haven’t read any of the ‘Discworld’ series previously, ‘Snuff’ is a good place to start. Be warned though, you may want to read the rest of the series…