Best Christmas gift books 2008

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  • Art | Classical | Kids | Teens | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Stocking fillers

    Comedy


    The Mighty Book of Boosh

    The Mighty Boosh

    Julian, Noel and Dave (Bollo) Brown have created something quite special in this peculiar and magical lumber room of a book. Stories, comic strips and new insights into the Boosh world make this a must-have for any devotee.

    Belching Out the Devil
    Mark Thomas
    Campaigning comedian Thomas last took aim and fired his literary bullets at the arms trade in the excellent ‘As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela’. This time he’s got Coca-Cola firmly in his sights. Funny, frightening and a damn fine read. It’s the real thing.

    The Pub Landlord’s Book of British Common Sense
    Al Murray
    An hysterical and comprehensive guide to life by one of our greatest thinkers and drinkers. Perfect companion for a post-Christmas dinner poo.

    Frank Skinner on the Road
    Frank Skinner
    One of the most frank (excuse the pun), funny and well-written books ever about being a comedian. Surprisingly brilliant.


    Dance


    The Best Dance Moves in the World... Ever!
    Matt Pagett
    Simon & Schuster, £9.99
    Amusing step-by-step guide that’ll have you rocking the party in no time. Pagett illustrates five decades of dances, from the twist, the pony and the hustle to that iconic ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ routine.

    Darcey Bussell: A Celebration
    Clive Burton
    Reynolds & Hearn, £12.99
    A paperback release for the glossy tribute to Britain’s favourite ballerina. Lots of Hello! magazine-style shots as well as performance photos and background on her career and partners.

    Strictly Come Dancing Annual 2009
    Alison Maloney
    BBC Books, £12.99
    Sequins, spangles, tears and triumphs in a predictable TV tie-in that relives last year’s contest and goes in-depth on the current crop of celebs. One for the fans.

    Film


    Short Cuts: Contemporary British Cinema
    James Leggott
    Wallflower £12.99
    An informative, discursive and wide-ranging survey of home-produced cinema of the Blair and Brown eras.

    The Ingmar Bergman Archives
    Editors: Duncan & Wanselius
    Taschen £120
    A hulking, highly covetable door-stopper covering the life and films of Ingmar Bergman, written with the maestro’s co-operation.

    Time Out Film Guide
    Editor: John Pym
    Time Out Guides Ltd £19.99
    What can we say? Do you want the most authoritative, comprehensive, well-written, up-to-date and ‘best’ guide to world cinema? Then trust Empire’s opinion and plump for our compendium.

    Widescreen: Watching Real People Elsewhere
    Mark Cousins
    Wallflower £14.99
    A round-up of the thought-provoking criticism of passionate and perceptive film writer and programmer Cousins.

    British Animation: The Channel 4 Factor
    Clare Kitson
    Parliament Hill £17.99
    A celebration of 30 landmark works of British animation commissioned or shown by C4.


    Music


    Eight Days a Week
    Robert Whitaker and Marcus Hearn
    Reynolds & Hearn £16.95
    If you’re looking for a classy gift for the Beatlemaniac in your life, and missed the October 20 deadline for getting Ringo Starr to autograph some pants, this is the next best thing. A sumptuous portfolio of pics documenting the Fabses’ final tour, taken by the band’s beloved in-house snapper, Robert Whitaker. Eeh, don’t they look young? Historically accurate and suitably restrained captions are supplied by Marcus Hearn, noted author of ‘Attack of the Clones: The Illustrated Companion’. Eddy Lawrence

    Bands on the Road: The Tour Sketchbook
    Silke Leicher and Manuel Schreiner
    Thames & Hudson £12.95
    Armed with pencils, paint and (far too often for grown folk) crayons, various indie rockers provide us with a view of touring. In the process, they display: a) how creative they really are (Nicky Wire, Brendan Benson and Ricky Wilson’s efforts are all worthy of a smiley face); b) how charming they are (Johnny Marr and Jeffrey Lewis the notables); or c) how pedestrian their imagination is (too many drawings of streets). Kasabian’s crap, Biro-penned depiction of a man atop a bed that’s wrapped in cling film is worth special mention, if only because it prompts the question: why? Chris Parkin

    Shindig! Annual: Number One
    Jon ‘Jojo’ Mills
    Volcano £11.99
    Like a Tiger Beat annual for mid-ranking psych-pop nerds, the collected Shindig! features illuminating, or at least enthusiastic, features on bands like Grapefruit, The Action and We The People. Plus, of course, there are acres and acres of lush pictures of lank-haired men with beards and spray-on T-shirts for you to pin to the wall and coo over. Eddy Lawrence


    Theatre


    The Half
    Simon Annand
    Faber & Faber £30
    Gorgeous coffee table-sized edition of Annand’s intimate snaps (including Michael Sheen and Cate Blanchett) of the great and good backstage.

    The Smoking Diaries
    Simon Gray
    Granta £7.99
    Wistful, funny and tenderly crafted: Gray’s diaries of his cancer-dictated journey towards his last cigarette are final memoirs without a shred of misery.

    Theatre Writings
    Kenneth Tynan
    Nick Hern Books £9.99
    Tynan’s reviews are among the finest prose ever written about the theatre
    as well as a record of the times it helped to change.

    A Strange Eventful History
    Michael Holroyd
    Chatto £25
    Holroyd’s entertaining, illuminating biography examines the lives and talent of actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, and designer Edward Gordon Craig.

    Art | Classical | Kids | Teens | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Stocking fillers

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One of the most frank (excuse the pun), funny and well-written books ever about being a comedian. Surprisingly brilliant.Amusing step-by-step guide that’ll have you rocking the party in no time. Pagett illustrates five decades of dances, from the twist, the pony and the hustle to that iconic ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ routine. A paperback release for the glossy tribute to Britain’s favourite ballerina. Lots of Hello! magazine-style shots as well as performance photos and background on her career and partners.Sequins, spangles, tears and triumphs in a predictable TV tie-in that relives last year’s contest and goes in-depth on the current crop of celebs. One for the fans.An informative, discursive and wide-ranging survey of home-produced cinema of the Blair and Brown eras.A hulking, highly covetable door-stopper covering the life and films of Ingmar Bergman, written with the maestro’s co-operation.What can we say? Do you want the most authoritative, comprehensive, well-written, up-to-date and ‘best’ guide to world cinema? Then trust Empire’s opinion and plump for our compendium.A round-up of the thought-provoking criticism of passionate and perceptive film writer and programmer Cousins. A celebration of 30 landmark works of British animation commissioned or shown by C4.If you’re looking for a classy gift for the Beatlemaniac in your life, and missed the October 20 deadline for getting Ringo Starr to autograph some pants, this is the next best thing. A sumptuous portfolio of pics documenting the Fabses’ final tour, taken by the band’s beloved in-house snapper, Robert Whitaker. Eeh, don’t they look young? Historically accurate and suitably restrained captions are supplied by Marcus Hearn, noted author of ‘Attack of the Clones: The Illustrated Companion’. Armed with pencils, paint and (far too often for grown folk) crayons, various indie rockers provide us with a view of touring. In the process, they display: a) how creative they really are (Nicky Wire, Brendan Benson and Ricky Wilson’s efforts are all worthy of a smiley face); b) how charming they are (Johnny Marr and Jeffrey Lewis the notables); or c) how pedestrian their imagination is (too many drawings of streets). Kasabian’s crap, Biro-penned depiction of a man atop a bed that’s wrapped in cling film is worth special mention, if only because it prompts the question: why? Volcano £11.99Like a Tiger Beat annual for mid-ranking psych-pop nerds, the collected Shindig! features illuminating, or at least enthusiastic, features on bands like Grapefruit, The Action and We The People. Plus, of course, there are acres and acres of lush pictures of lank-haired men with beards and spray-on T-shirts for you to pin to the wall and coo over. Gorgeous coffee table-sized edition of Annand’s intimate snaps (including Michael Sheen and Cate Blanchett) of the great and good backstage.Wistful, funny and tenderly crafted: Gray’s diaries of his cancer-dictated journey towards his last cigarette are final memoirs without a shred of misery.Tynan’s reviews are among the finest prose ever written about the theatre as well as a record of the times it helped to change.Holroyd’s entertaining, illuminating biography examines the lives and talent of actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, and designer Edward Gordon Craig.Art | Classical | Kids | Teens | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Stocking fillers

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