My top Christmas gift stocking fillas

by Stephen Tall on December 4, 2011

Over the last 10 days, I’ve been publishing the results on LibDemVoice of Lib Dem bloggers’ personal selections of Christmas gift ideas… T’other day it was my turn, and here’s what I suggested…

(You can find links to all the posts at LibDemVoice here.)

Stephen Tall

For me holidays are all about books and reading, so here are the two books I’ve most enjoyed reading this year… In the non-fiction category, The Anatomy of a Moment by Javier Cercas is a brilliant insight into the events of Spain on the evening of 23 February, 1981, when extremist Francoists attempted a coup d’etat. By combining historical, biographical, psychological and philosophical insights it builds an utterly convincing and totally absorbing account, which, by placing the events of ’23F’ under a microscope, enlarges on Spain’s remarkable transition from dictatorship to democracy in just six years.

And in the fiction category, there’s Patrick McGuinness’s The Last Hundred Days, a breathtakingly poetic (and often very funny) deconstruction of the dying days of the Caucescu regime in Romania told through the story of a young, troubled Englishman thrust into a grim Bucharest where the commonplace and the underworld blur into one.

Lib Dem-related, I would urge everyone interested in the party to read two books… Peace, Reform and Liberation: A history of liberal politics in Britain 1679-2011, edited by Robert Ingham and Duncan Brack, a one-volume canter through more then three centuries of political philosophy and reality which brings us right up to the present day… And Jasper Gerard’s The Clegg Coup: Britain’s First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George, a provocative but deeply researched account of the party’s leap into the unknown.

Finally, away from books but still well worth holiday reading time, why not try a subscription to The Economist? It’s deep-seated attachment to market liberalism won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s the best (probably only) newspaper to offer rigorous international coverage that’s about more than just disasters and wars: politics, culture, technology, business, science… it’s all covered with objectivity and perspective.