Thursday, 8 December 2011

All I want for Christmas…

…is a TARDIS. That way I could buy as many physical books as I wanted without having to rejig my shelves or throw some away. However, as TARDISes are difficult to get hold of, I’m going to have to wish for something else.

In a blend of annoyance and confusion the DVD of A Game of Thrones comes out in March. I’m baffled as to why this wasn’t released for Christmas, but shall be buying it anyway. I loved the book and am looking forward greatly to finally seeing the series.

Another DVD I’ve been pondering getting for a while is the Lord of the Rings extended edition. It’s pretty cheap (£15 or so) given it lasts for ages (admittedly, the ending alone is about 12 hours long) and has quite a few extras. I will need somewhere to put it though… I might have to delve into the shadowy shelves crammed with books bought long ago.

If you haven’t got any of the A Song of Ice and Fire series I’d advocate getting it. The first three books are all excellent, and although the fourth and fifth don’t match the high standard of the earlier instalments it’s still a fantastic series. The first book, as above, is A Game of Thrones. It’s a very gritty series, so if you’re squeamish then you should probably avoid it.

In a similar mould, but, I think, even better is The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. The characters are deliciously gruesome and the twists and turns, particularly nearer the end, are inspired. It also has one of my very favourite characters in modern fantasy.

Something that’s been nestling in my Amazon basket (I may start buying some more stuff from AbeBooks, I seem to be spending an obscene sum on Amazon of late) is Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero. As it suggests, it’s a biography of the heroic warrior-bear enlisted by the Poles in World War Two. Sounds like a cracking read, even if it is a bit modern for me.

I, Claudius is available on DVD for around £13 or so. It’s a slightly old but nevertheless excellent drama of the early Roman emperors, from Augustus to Nero. As the title suggests it’s told mostly from the perspective of Claudius, and has a stellar cast (Livia, played by Siân Phillips, is perhaps the pick of the bunch) telling a tale that lasts many decades. It’s worth pointing out that unlike some more recent Roman TV series there’s little in the way of sex and explicit violence, and an emphasis on the performance of the actors and the script.


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