Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm blogging backwards for Xmas. It's the first Xmas Book list!

Yes, indeed, people.  This is the first f several book lists you NEED to consult before heading out with you Xmas list!  This year I've listed them into categories, as you'll see below.  Not the usual 'for Dad', or 'for Nana' type nonsense.  this one is a little more suitable for Groove's discerning readership..

For Social Historians.

Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History
by Rhonda K. Garlick

"Certain lives are at once so exceptional", goes the blurb, "and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person."  Coco was a traitor, a spy, a collaborator, a bitch, a cold callous evil and calculating pariah on the rich and powerful.  She came from nothing and she made an empire out of every failure.  Or was she?  She not only re-invented fashion - she made elegance and Women's place in that social dialogue important. She did what she did. Unapologetic and utterly beguiling.  Garelick takes us down a trail re-written a few times in the past but this time places her in the middle of the transient and turbulent history that evolves around the first 3 quarters of the last century - from poverty to an economic dynamo and a fashion icon.  The photos and the insights are new, and given that it's hard to revisit that well trodden path and leave new footprints - that's remarkable!

Vivienne Westwood
by Vivienne Westwood & Ian Kelly
Kelly opens this book with his own introduction, hastily written under a work table at a Westwood show.  Between the model's legs and a forest of outrageous garments - both in price and taste - he observes Westwood's nigh on obsessive control of her works as she primps her charges for the runway.  He reflects on her methodical work ethic as she plans a show - that time when she removes herself from charities and business to create that special moment hat only the elite press and richest of the rich will ever see.  And he contemplates how a woman who practically invented Punk - the mouthpiece of the social classes in the 1980's (and later the most radical and political fashion movement of the 20th and 21st Century to date) could create clothes for the very people that she loathed and sneered at through her youth.  In reality, Westwood later chimes in, she didn't.  The mere fact that she was creating and eternal cycle of subversive, underground inspired, rebellious styles that always challenged the normalities of the establishment and end up being the coveted possessions of the elitist members simply shows her unique and inspiring personality and her larger than Johnny Rotten personality.  She is twisting the norm.  Westwood is way more than just the Teddy Boy revival, and the bondage suits, SEX - the shop or safety pins and ripped clothes (she didn't actually come up with those it turns out).  For the first AND only time this is her own words about her, about what she really is, was and wants to be.  It is history unfolding and breeding!  God will Save the Queen.  Fuck that. Save Vivienne Westwood instead!
For Eco-Braniacs.
Time and Time again by Ben Elton
If you had one chance to change history - where would you go? What would you do?  Who would you kill?  I haven't quite finished this one yet but I can tell this isn't your histo cowboy novel.  This is not the time traveller's wife.  thank god!  following his return an x-soldier returns from WWI battles to discover he's the loneliest man on earth.  He knows know one and that is a scary thing.  But what if you could re-invent everything that brought you to that point?  Our protagonist Hugh Stanton must somehow go back in time, to stop that famous assassination in Sarajevo, to somehow make it all be different.  Somehow make the mass suicide and the madness stop?  But what consequences will come of this.  Marty McFly faced the same predicament.  this time there's no Delorian or hoverboard.  I really want to finish this.  So bugger off for now.  After 7 November you can find out for yourself! 
Elton is, as always a superb and thoughtful, protagonist writer.  I'm loving this and always have enjoyed his stuff. I recommend it!

For that plane trip or beach sitting
Confessions - The Paris Mysteries - by James Paterson
Believe it or not not everyone wants Ellie Catton, brilliant as she is!  Sometimes a good romp is fine as!  So...Her parents are dead...and her sister and she's next.  And it's happening in Paris! The city of her dreams and fantasies!  After trying to figure out the mysteries that have torn her family apart, Tandy Angel (yes, I know!) longs for a fresh start.  Nahhh! not likely! She goes to Paris (like we all can do that!).  But the ghosts and the spectres follow her.  the past catches up and reveal terrifying , lethal secrets.  Obviously this is a miniseries waiting to be produced. It's a cheap thrill.  But why not.  Perfect for the beach! Love it!

For the kid Book Geek
Skuldugery Pleasant - The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy
This the ninth and final book in the series. Landy has confirmed that the ninth book will be about the Darquesse vision that was forseen in Dark Days and set in motion during Last Stand Of Dead Men.  He completed the book in May this year.   Aparently a A Black Edition was produced with a  limited to 1000 copies hidden in Waterstones Stores (UK bookseller).  RK Rowling never thought of that!   I read this one and wondered why I'd never heard of those before it!  Why has this been a secret!  I'm not a 13 year old book freak.  Ask them to explain it.  I couldn't possibly explain!  

For the Factulicious!
The 60th Anniversary Guinness Book of Records 2015
No beer commercials any more but the whizzy graphics are neat.  The whole feel would suit a 15 year old boy, the layout the feel but in this day and age are these irrelevant facts any good?  Absolutely.  By the way my version of the accompanying app didn't work.  there was no 3D for me.  but I had the review version and it could have still been in prototype.  Now Who when the first solo Antarctic traverse by a woman made?  November 2011 by UK adventurer Felicity Aston on skis no less!   In this there are a huge number of Commonwealth records, perhaps emphasising the power of the Empire, in spite of many other nations.  Maybe the Guinness influence remains? 


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