What better gift to give during the season of goodwill than the gift of knowledge? If you’re the kind of insufferable arsehole who gives people books for Christmas, the publishing industry (such as it is) will be happy to take large amounts of money off you – but what are the most mediocre tomes available in Waterstone’s, or sitting haphazardly on a shelf in WH Smith next to a chiller cabinet inexplicably full of copies of the Daily Telegraph?
Here’s a list.
Timecop, Harper Lee. Lee’s long-anticipated third book, rather than a continuation of the world so vividly realised in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Go Set a Watchman’, is a novelisation of the 1994 Jean Claude van Damme action film Timecop. Critics are already eagerly anticipating her follow-up, a novelisation of the Steven Seagal film Under Siege 2.
Time to Die, Rodney Bewes. Is life an unremitting, bleak and meaningless charade? Would it just be better to end it all, and embrace the all-consuming, peaceful embrace of death? Star of hit BBCtv series ‘The Likely Lads’ and ‘Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads’, Rodney Bewes, takes readers step-by-step through some of the most popular methods of suicide – from old standards like hanging, to more modern and ironic ways of taking your own life, like leaping from the roof of the Dignitas clinic in Zurich. The ideal gift for a stubbornly alive and wealthy but elderly relative, or a despised older sibling.
A Very Bravo Two Zero Christmas, Andy McNab. ‘I grimaced. The SA80 was a decent squaddie’s weapon – fairly tasty in a close quarters firefight – and god knows it had got me out of a few jams. But on a long distance shot like this, and without a proper sight, I was going to need a steady hand to take Father Christmas out. I squinted, squeezed the trigger, and watched with grim satisfaction as a puff of red, matching the big man’s coat, blew out of the back of Saint Nick’s head, just before he crumpled to the ground’.
The Big Book of Suppurating Wounds. One of a number of coffee table books doing the rounds this season, this compilation of 117 pin-sharp, blown-up pictures of oozing, pus-filled wounds on all parts of the human body is a must for flicking through after Christmas lunch.
Find Out What Happened When These 28 French Huguenots Fled Their Homeland Following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes… Number 14 Will Blow Your Mind!, David S. Katz. BuzzFeed’s ill-advised foray into the world of academic history.
My Story, Bruce Forsyth. Brucie’s latest autobiography lifts the lid on his years of Strictly, his life at the BBC during the golden years of light entertainment in the 1970s, and his time as a brutal enforcer for the Richardson gang in early 1960s Soho.
Will This Do?, some twenty-three year old you’ve never heard of. Inexplicable book apparently written by a young man who regularly tops seven million views on YouTube for videos featuring him playing Fallout 4 and having rambling, disjointed conversations with his friends. Will make you despair for humanity, and confirm that you have finally left your youth behind as you realise you have no common cultural frame of reference with anyone under the age of thirty.