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Hark the herald angels sing, in this newsletter we're giving away a GRAND'S WORTH of Proust audiobooks, courtesy of Naxos. Also: a hilarious virtual stocking-filler for only 77p (or free, whichever you prefer), news of the next Hatchet Job of the Year Award, and our Actually Quite Useful Christmas List.

FICTION

    

FLIGHT BEHAVIOUR by Barbara Kingsolver
'Kingsolver's remarkable body of work, here as elsewhere, links big scientific themes with fine subtleties of human behaviour' Rachel Hore, Independent on Sunday VS 'Kingsolver appears to be turning her back on serious literary aspirations. The writing is often turgid and peppered with mixed metaphors and sloppy similes.' Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times.

DEAR LIFE by Alice Munro
'Only a woman of a certain age — Munro was born in 1931 — could have written a book as challenging and cheeky as this.' Christina Appleyard, Daily Mail VS 'Munro appears to have initiated a strict risk-assessment policy to minimise the danger of disturbing her readers. Her language remains plain, bland and universally accessible' Patricia Dunker, Literary Review.

TWO BROTHERS by Ben Elton
'Elton's prose is pacy; he can undeniably turn pages' Jenny Colgan, Guardian VS 'Moments of heartbreak have all feeling siphoned out of them because of his need to lecture us on Einstein or Kristallnacht or Palestine' Christopher Bray, Daily Express


Best of the rest: THE CLEANER OF CHARTRES by Salley Vickers, THE TESTAMENT OF MARY by Colm Tóibín, BACK TO BLOOD by Tom Wolfe, THE SMALL HOURS by Susie Boyt, SAN MIGUEL by TC Boyle.

Paperback picks: THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR by Simon Armitage, SCENES FROM VILLAGE LIFE by Amoz Oz, THE WOMAN WHO WENT TO BED FOR A YEAR by Susan Townshend, APRICOT JAM AND OTHER STORIES by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

NON-FICTION

   

ANTI-FRAGILE: HOW TO LIVE IN A WORLD WE DON'T UNDERSTAND by Nassim Nicholas Tassib
‘Brilliant … This is a lovely book to read; there’s an idea on pretty much every page.’ William Leith, Spectator VS ‘a big, baggy, sprawling mess … solipsistic and ultimately dispiriting … Reading this book is the intellectual equivalent of having to sit patiently while someone shows you their holiday snaps.’ David Runciman, Guardian

BAN THIS FILTH: LETTERS FROM THE MARY WHITEHOUSE ARCHIVE by Ben Thompson
‘[A] hilarious book ... richly enjoyable ... Reading this book during the fallout from the Jimmy Savile scandal, I wondered if she was quite as cranky as she looked.’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times VS ‘It’s all here, rather too much of it, in fact … A bit more background would perhaps have been useful … Thompson has lots of larky fun … Mostly, though, he just mocks’ Nick Curtis, Evening Standard


THE ODD COUPLE: THE CURIOUS FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN KINGSLEY AMIS AND PHILIP LARKIN by Richard Bradford
‘Lively, readable and often scandalous … Many of their letters about girls were fantasy, especially about young girls. Pubescent, but only just, was their agreed ideal: the 12-16 age group. Nowadays such feelings are classed as paedophilia, although perhaps we ought to revive the neglected word ephebophilia (love of youth) here. It’s tricky territory in today’s Salem, 1692-type atmosphere, admittedly. Perhaps both writers should be put on some post-mortem Jimmy Savile register, along with Elvis, Edgar Allan Poe, Romeo and quite a few others.’ Christopher Hart, Sunday Times


Best of the rest: OUTSIDER II by Brian Sewell, RAFFLES AND THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY by Victoria Glendinning, RUNNING MY LIFE by Sebastian Coe, YOU AREN'T WHAT YOU EAT by Steven Poole

Paperback picks: MEDICAL MUSES by Asti Hustvedt, STRANGER MAGIC by Marina Warner, MASTERS OF THE POST by Duncan Campbell-Smith

THE OMNIVORE'S ACTUALLY QUITE USEFUL CHRISTMAS LIST

There are only 16 Amazon-shopping days till Christmas, and the broadsheet bookpages have embarked on their annual round of yuletide log-rolling. If you’re still stuck for what to buy your nearest and dearest, and after a more reliable guide than Owen Jones or Robert McCrum, we present The Omnivore’s Actually Quite Useful (and horribly sexist and ageist) Christmas List.


For the aunt who wishes Harry were next in line to the throne:
BERTIE by Jane Ridley

For the boyfriend who tweets during Question Time:
HOUSE OF FUN: 20 GLORIOUS YEARS IN PARLIAMENT by Simon Hoggart
+ companion present: THE SPANISH AMBASSADOR’S SUITCASE by Matthew Parris
 
For the wife who prefers historical fact to erotic fiction:
TWELVE CAESARS by Matthew Dennison
 
For the brother still in mourning for David Foster Wallace:
EVERY LOVE STORY IS A GHOST STORY by DT Max
+ companion present: PULPHEAD by John Jeremiah Sullivan
 
A Chrismukkah present for a football fan:
DOES YOUR RABBI KNOW YOU’RE HERE?
 
For the dad whose glass is always half-empty:
THE COMPLETE POEMS OF PHILIP LARKIN
+ companion present: THE ODD COUPLE by Richard Bradford


For the couple whose marriage is on the rocks:
JUST SEND ME WORD: A TRUE STORY OF LOVE AND SURVIVAL IN THE GULAG by Orlando Figes


For those friends who just won’t take the hint:
CALORIES & CORSETS: A HISTORY OF DIETING by Louise Foxcroft
HOW TO BE GAY by David Halperin


Read the full list here
QUITE LAZY BUT MILDLY FUNNY XMAS EBOOK

The BBC, Greece, the Church of England, ash trees... It's impossible to pick up a newspaper these days without reading about something or other being "in crisis". Soon it's going to be impossible to pick up a newspaper.

Is it Just Me or is Everything in Crisis?

Available from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, and — for the tightfisted/non-Kindle owners among you — Smashwords.
 
         

A
Ash trees
Albums
Attention spans
Arts funding
Ageing population
Airline industry
Authority
Act of Union
Architecture
Adoption
Abortion
Advertising
Aid
A-levels
Army
Asylum system
Aristocracy
Antibiotics
Apostrophes


B
BBC
Banks
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Badgers
Book reviewing
Beaujolais
British Airways
Belfast
Benefit system
Blockbuster
Bingo halls
Blood banks
Boy Scouts
Busy Lizzies
Body image
Blondes (natural)
Blue Peter
Big Society


C
Church of England
Climate
Capitalism
Civil service
Councils
Celebrity magazines
Carers
Care homes
Charities
Countryside
Competition
Conservative Party
Credit
Catholic Church
Child protection system
Childhood
Conker fights
Copyright
Coral reefs
Construction industry
Cod (see Fish stocks)
Cancer care
Cyber security
Cemeteries
Cockney rhyming slang
Confidence


More

HATCHET JOB OF THE YEAR AWARD

IT'S BACK. We are delighted to confirm that the second annual Hatchet Job of the Year award, for 2012's funniest, angriest most trenchant book review, will be judged by Lynn Barber, Francis Wheen and John Walsh. The shortlist will be announced on 8 January.

Read our manifesto here

WIN PROUST ON AUDIOBOOK

A La Recherche de Temps Perdu is up there with War and Peace and Ulysses as one of the world's most unread classics. And no, we're not fooled by your knowing reference to madeleines. So what better shortcut to self-improvement than the audiobook of Proust's masterwork?

Naxos AudioBooks have just released seven volumes — that's 150 hours — of CK Scott Moncrieff's unabridged English translation, read beautifully by Neville Jason and available on CD for £380.

We're extremely excited to be giving away not one, not two, but THREE audio downloads of the complete A La Recherche (with many thanks to Naxos). To enter, answer the following question:

Proust is famous for writing in bed. How did he make sure he had peace and quiet?

You can find the answer at the Naxos website, where you can also buy the CDs and audio downloads in seven separate parts.

Email entries to competitions@theomnivore.co.uk by 14 December.
Copyright © 2012 The Omnivore, All rights reserved.
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