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10th December 2013

Sorting out your Christmas list

Alex Webb gives readers a hand in sorting our their Christmas list

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Best known for his book The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini released his third novel this year amid widespread positive responses. Hosseini describes the story as a “fairytale turned on its head,” where we’re brought to 1952 Afghanistan. Here the

protagonist, Abdullah, sees his sister sold to a wealthy couple to support his poverty-stricken family. The story details how this arrangement came to be and the effect it has on Abdullah’s life. Hosseini is famed for his simple telling of issues that are shocking to his audience, and, if you are a fan of his previous works, this is a definite one to pick up this Christmas.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

As one of the most remarkable acts of feminist politics this century, the story of Malala Yousafzai is not a title to miss this year. Since recovering from being shot during her stand against social injustice in Pakistan, she has continued to inspire the world. This has resulted in the release of her co-written biography, following on from the drive home on the day she was targeted by the Taliban for championing the rights of young girls to attend school. This inspirational story shows Malala going above and beyond what anyone would expect from a 16 year old, and it should not be missed off anyone’s reading list for 2014.

All The Odes by Pablo Neruda

Poetry’s reputation is often ruined by hours of meticulous analysis in GCSE English, but I encourage you to give it a second chance. Neruda has an interesting story to tell, and Ilan Stavans’ collection of Neruda’s works is one to buy this Christmas. Offering an insight into poetry from a different culture, Neruda wrote on erotic and romantic love, the political state of his home country, Chile, and his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. With such a wide range of ideas addressed, All The Odes is a brilliant and mature reintroduction to the world of poetry.

The Moment by Claire Dyer

Deemed “this year’s One Day,” Claire Dyer’s latest is sure to be a hit with fans of David Nicholl’s most famous book. Ex-lovers, Fern and Elliott thought they were out of each other’s lives forever but a 9am meeting at Paddington station changes that. The story follows the pair reflecting on their previous relationship after agreeing to meet one more time. Dyer’s new novel is for anyone who can’t resist anything that tackles romance, fate and the drama that comes with it.

The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida

Higashida, a thirteen year old autistic boy, challenges the assumptions we make regarding this common disorder. Translated by David Mitchell, the author of Cloud Atlas, and K.A. Yoshida, this book takes accounts of autism away from professional theorists and places it in the hands of an autistic child. Presenting us with a real, and often surprising, insight into the epidemic that, in the words of Higashida, has sufferers placed “outside the regime of civilisation.” I could not recommend this title enough.

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