2010’s Christmas book round-up

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS

CRISIS ECONOMICS
BY NOURIEL ROUBINI WITH
STEPEHN MIHM
Pengiuin, £25

More than just another me-too account of the crisis, Nouriel Roubini – often called Dr Doom for his Cassandra-like prophecies – gives a compelling account of the 2008 meltdown. He provides the lay reader with succinct and clearly written explanations of the causes and consequences of the financial crash.


MACROWIKINOMICS: REBOOTING
BUSINESS AND THE WORLD
BY DON TAPSTER AND
ANTHONY WILLIAMS
Atlantic Books, £19.99

The sequel to Wikinomics, which focused on how the internet is changing the way businesses think, Macrowikinomics goes one step further than the original. This is an insightful analysis into how technology and the internet are shaping thinking and development in areas such as government, media, education and healthcare.


THE BIG SHORT: INSIDE THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE
BY MICHAEL LEWIS
Allen Lane, £25

A riveting and accessible account of the sub-prime mortgage disaster from the author of Liar’s Poker. Lewis focuses on the characters the heart of the crisis from those who saw it coming to those who were merrily packaging up mortgages. It’s so entertaining you even start to enjoy and understand complex derivatives.

A JOURNEY
BY TONY BLAIR
Hutchinson, £25

The former PM’s autobiography is chatty, fluent and totally absorbing. Blair gives an insight into his time in power, from the success of the Good Friday agreement to the decision to invade Iraq. He also gives (slightly too?) vivid a glimpse into his personal life.


HIGH FINANCIER: THE LIVES AND TIME OF SIEGMUND WARBURG
BY NIALL FERGUSON
Allen Lane, £30

Niall Ferguson’s subject is the idiosyncratic refugee from Hitler’s Germany who rose to become one of the dominant post-war figures in the City of London. Meticulously researched, he captures the conservative methods of Warburg’s bank – a far cry from boom-time Wall Street.


ALCHEMISTS OF LOSS
BY KEVIN DOWD AND MARTIN HUTCHINSON
John Wiley & Sons, £16.99

Be afraid. This study of the financial crash concludes that its causes have not been dealt with and that London risks becoming “an excellent market for rottweilers, wire mesh and tattooed thugs”. Blaming both politicians and modern finance, it is a fascinating, troubling read.

CHILDREN

SHADOW
BY MICHAEL MORPUGO
Harper Collins, £12.99

For ages nine and up. The author of War Horse offers us another novel about war and the loyalty of animals. Aman, an Afghani boy trying to flee his war-torn country, finds a dog outside the caves where he lives. The dog will not leave his side, and the fates of boy and dog are linked.

THE ICE BEAR
BY JACKIE MORRIS
Frances Lincoln, £11.99

For ages four to seven. The Ice Bear is filled with rich illustrations of the Arctic and its inhabitants. Set when people and animals coexisted in harmony, a bear-child is raised by a hunter and his wife. When the child is taken back to the bears, however, the hunter is determined to kill the creature that has taken his child.

SHARE!
BY ANTHEA SIMMONS AND GEORGIE BIRKETT
Andersen, £10.99

For ages zero to five. Share! is an endearing picture book for the new reader. It starts when an older sister tries to share her toys with her crying baby brother. Wrecked puzzles and wet blankets follow, but in the end she learns that sharing can be fun.

JEREMIAH JELLYFISH FLIES HIGH
BY JOHN FARDELL
Andersen, £10.99

For ages seven and up. Jeremiah Jellyfish is bored of his uneventful
underwater existence. He looks for adventure and meets a stressed-out
businessman. They switch lives and Jeremiah becomes an executive heading a rocket plane company. An absolutely lovely little book.


EINSTEIN’S UNDERPANTS – AND HOW THEY SAVED THE WORLD BY BY ANTHONY MCGOWAN
Yearling, £5.99

For ages nine and up. In this quirky adventure, math geek Alexander
takes on an imminent invasion from outer space. What’s his secret
weapon? Lots of help from the old underpants of a scientific genius,
of course!


BILLIONAIRE BOY
BY DAVID WALLIAMS
Harper Collins, £12.99

For ages nine and up. Joe is fabulously wealthy – he’s billionaire boy, after all. He’s got his own bowling alley, his own cinema, even his own orangutan. But he hasn’t got any friends. What happens when someone comes along who likes Joe for Joe? Not a bad effort at all by Walliams, clearly a man of many talents.

FICTION

THE FINKLER QUESTION
BY HOWARD JACOBSON
Bloomsbury, £18.99

Britain’s answer to Phillip Roth, this touching, clever and deeply amusing look at Jews (and non-Jews) from Howard Jacobson won this year’s Man Booker Prize. Certainly one of the year’s must-reads – and a good one for the fireside (or beach) too.

FREEDOM
BY JONATHAN FRANZEN
Fourth Estate, £20

It took him nine years to produce, but Jonathan Frazen’s Freedom was worth the wait. As in The Corrections, Franzen’s subject is the American middle class, and its awkwardness, insecurity and hypocrisy. Expertly written, Freedom exposes the difficulties of the pursuit of happiness.

SOLAR
BY IAN MCEWAN
Jonathan Cape, £18.99

Daniel Beard, an over-the-hill physicist that once won the Nobel Prize, tries to regain professional glory with a new way to create solar energy – but makes some big mistakes along the way. He is compelling and repellent in equal measure, and certainly one of McEwan’s best narrators to date.

THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET
BY DAVID MITCHELL
Sceptre, £18.99

The dazzlingly talented David Mitchell (of Cloud Atlas glory), took six years to write this novel. Set in 18th-century Japan, it is a meticulous study of East meets West with razor-sharp imagery. It’s a work of art as much as of fictional skill. Fantastic for history and fiction buffs – and the pretty cover doesn’t hurt.

THE PASSAGE
BY JUSTIN CRONIN
Orion, £20

Touted as one of the best supernatural thrillers ever written, this scrupulously realised plot spans more than a half century, as the earth is ravaged by an outbreak of a virus that turns humans into bloodsuckers. Cronin one the PEN/Hemingway prize for a previous novel: so expect a cut above.

FULL DARK, NO STARS
BY STEPHEN KING
Hodder, £18.99

A collection of novellas from the master of horror, this is King flexing his muscles with this traditionally unpopular form. Think murders in the American mid-west and rats crawling out of bodies. A gleeful compilation of the criminal and the sordid – fans won’t be disappointed even if it’s not his best work to date.


NON-FICTION

NOMA: TIME AND PLACE IN NORDIC CUISINE
BY RENE REDZEPI
Phaidon, £35

Rene Redzepi has been credited with re-inventing Nordic cuisine. His Copenhagen restaurant, Noma, was recognized as the best in the world by the San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant awards in 2010. Here’s his recipe book.

DAN DARE – THE BIOGRAPHY
BY DANIEL TATARSKY
£14.99, Orion

A colourful, beautifully researched biography of the dashing “pilot of the future” who riveted readers of the Eagle comic between the 50s and the 80s. Rediscovering the world of the square-jawed English hero – and his arch enemy, the Mekon – will be a joy for any chap over 35.


LIFE
BY KEITH RICHARDS
Weidenfeld & Nicolson £20

Fathers, sons and everyone in between (including hard-rocking mums) have helped make this a number one. It’s full of unedited-feeling cascades of “life” from Richards’ post-war youth, Rolling Stones madness and plenty of asides about his big lost love: Mick Jagger.


REINVENTING FOOD – FERRAN ADRIÀ: THE MAN WHO CHANGED
THE WAY WE EAT
BY COLMAN ANDREWS
Phaidon, £19.95

This autobiography of the king of molecular gastronomy is one of the must-have foodie tomes of the year. If Rene Redzepi has redefined Scandinavian food, Adria has redefined food. This would make a good companion to the cookbook, which came out two years ago.


COCO CHANEL: THE LEGEND AND THE LIFE
BY JUSTINE PICARDIE
Harper Collins, £25

It’s been a good couple of years for Coco Chanel, founder of the eponymous fashion house. Two major films have been made about her – Coco Before Chanel and Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky – but for those who prefer a literary experience, Picardie’s book is a highly acclaimed, intelligent account. It’s equally for fashionistas and for those interested in the rich history and friendships of the 1920s French intelligentsia.


DON’T VOTE! IT JUST ENCOURAGES THE BASTARDS
BY P.J. O’ROURKE
Grove Press, £16.99

PJ O’Rourke attacks the whole grubby business of politics in his latest book. Arguing that it is time to put America’s big, fat political ass on a diet, O’Rourke combines satire with a larger message about the dangers of ceding personal responsibility to the state