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  • Our top ten cookbooks

    Mon, 18 Jul 2011 08:18

    As ever, one man's top ten foodie books is another's dogs dinner. But, Hopkinson proves there is a difference between writing recipes and presenting them on the telly. Bissell proves that you CAN cook with flowers. Henderson proves you can eat the WHOLE animal. And Ducasse proves that you can start a recipe with the line, 'First, reduce three bottles of red wine' and keep a straight face and charge 160 quid (a mahoosive discount with us though!) for the privilege.

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  • Our top ten scifi titles

    Mon, 11 Jul 2011 07:05

    As you may imagine, the Book Depository basement office is chock full of computer geeks and nerds who are, unsurprisingly, quite interested in scifi and fantasy books. 23 out of the 24 hours in a day are spent hunch-backed over glowing screens or 3 inch thick fantasy books. What sunlight these Morlocks ever see is only and inevitably compared to the twin suns of Tatooine.

    But when asked, in a poll, for their favourite scifi books we got back a list of some pretty impressive titles. (See below) However, when asked for their top ten Fantasy books, a vicious fight broke out and they ended up fighting to the death with daggers and swords in proper Conan stylee. (Only, in an online world, of course)

    So, what's your favourite fantasy books? Real names not allowed, WoW only.

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  • My top 10 nonfic

    Mon, 04 Jul 2011 08:17

    It's Discovery week here at our Summer festival. Here's my pick of a top ten. What's your discoveries?

    What is History because it tells you how to read history. You'll never read a history book in the same way again. The Braudel because it is one of the finest histories you'll read. The Freud because he was the most influential figure of the 20th century and fundamentally changed the way we see ourselves. The Marx biography because it's a brilliantly accessible introduction into his thinking without being weighed down by all the bogeyman nonsense. The Barthes because you'll never look at a toaster or a laptop or a tennis match or anything in the same way again. The Benjamin because it deals with what is authentic, in every respect. The Banham because for me, Los Angeles is the most complete city in the world. The Tufte because it is one of the most beautiful books ever produced as well as one of the most challenging in our visually literate age. The Riefenstahl because of the incongruity of reading one of the most extraordinary lives of the 20th century in all its glory and horror whilst on a palm fringed beach in the South Pacific. The Hopkins because it reminds be of being 16 again. But mostly, because all of these discoveries opened so many doors for me that I am forever in their debt.

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  • Kierons top ten kids books

    Mon, 20 Jun 2011 08:42

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    Kieron's the MD, so don't argue. He might fire us all if you don't like his top ten...

    "Choosing a top ten of Children's books is an impossible task, I've two children who both have their favourites, plus memories of my own cherished books from my childhood might not be as relevant for everyone else! That said, I've been asked to draw up a list so I will do so, with a little bit of a rationale for the line up, also I'm limiting myself to the under teens due to too many good books.

    Despite now having worked in books for nearly twenty years I was quite a reluctant reader, never really finding 'the book' to grab my interest and kick off a reading habit. Then it came along it in the form of Shirley Hughes It's too Frightening for Me and I haven't stopped since. When I caught chickenpox I worked my way through Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence which has resonance with many adults still, try mentioning it on a cold winters evening!

    Alan and Janet Ahlberg have, in my opinion given us some of the best children's books of all time - spoilt for choice I've selected The Jolly Postman beautifully written, illustrated and constructed (not to mention near misses such as The Pencil, Peepo, Each Peach Pear Plum, Please Mrs Butler...)

    Colin McNaughton brought us Preston Pig whose adventures with wolf have entertained both my kids and me at the same time - lots to be said for bedtime stories that have a decent narrative! In this list I've put in Suddenly! yet again all his collected works are fantastic.

    Jan Pienkowski is in the list to represent all the wonderful pop-up book artists with Haunted House narrowly beating ABC3D and Encyclopedia Prehistorica.

    Eric Carle's Hungry Caterpillar has to be in the list, I can stand to read this over and over. I especially like it when the caterpillar eats the salami. David McKee is another children's book hero in my eyes, bringing us Elmer and Mr Benn - however I'm putting Not Now Bernard in this list because it's fun and grumpy at the same time.

    Two more picture books in the line-up are Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Rosen and Oxenbury's re-writing of the traditional We're Going on a Bear Hunt - children's books should be read aloud (and then enjoyed beneath the covers) and these exemplify the best in illustration and poetic writing.

    Finally (the end already?! No, again!) read at about 4.30am every Christmas morning Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas which gives me an excuse to mention The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman and Ug.

    And after all that I've still missed out: the Family from One end Street, Dick King-Smith, Roald Dahl (how can that have happened?), Meg and Mog and Charlie and Lola. They crept in at the end? Ah, good.

    Sleep tight."

  • Steves top ten crime books, cont.

    Tue, 14 Jun 2011 10:29

    Yesterday, office crime buff Steve, gave us his current top ten crime books. We demanded an explanation. So, we took him to the cells, set about him with the old rubber hose, pulled some nails, didn't let him sleep and extracted this confession:

    "How tough a task this was is only emphasised by the suggestions of others - authors I had forgotten about and others I really shouldn't have. Spot on with Carl Hiaasen whose gruesome humour combines page turning thrills with laugh out loud horror (should I be laughing?) and Reginald Hill's Dalziel must rival Rebus for curmongeonedly grumpiness.

    So, in short, the list could have easily been a Top 100 and beyond and while I won't bore you with a precis of why I have selected each title - you'll have detected my liking for procedural, series driven crime with a strong central character. Whether its victorian London, Stalinist Russia (Eastland) or contemporary brighton (James) each title I have selected has been forensically researched and gives the reader a real sense of history and geography - which, to me at least, is key to underpinning the plot. For me, each selection defines it's author and characters and stand out as the best in genre - but I have no doubt this selection will change over time.

    Brutal Art ranks as one of my favourite reads in all genres but I guess if you are from a dynasty of crime writers there must be something in the blood! Ellory, Ellroy and Christie should probably all be in there and I shall certainly be looking at all suggestions made. Peter Temple is next on the list.

    There is only one title that will always be on my list , though , and that my dear ... Is elementary."

    And here's his top ten, again.

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