Archive December 2013

As part of our festive celebrations, we have asked some of our colleagues to share with us their favourite Christmas reads, the books they curl up with on the long winter nights that precede Christmas day, fireplace lit and hot chocolate in hand. Here comes Becky Walsh’s pick:

It’s a bit of an obvious choice but each and every Christmas I come back to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My mum used to read it to me as a child – I used the find the three ghosts quite scary back then – and as I’ve grown older I’ve kept up the tradition myself, retrieving my copy from the bookshelf on Christmas Eve, taking a few moments out from wrapping presents and peeling vegetables to get lost in Dickens’ world. It’s a perfect Christmas read full of everything you would want at that time of year (by the end, anyway): goodwill, family and festive cheer!

Becky is

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Editorial Assistant at John Murray.

@BeckyWalsh2

Becky Walsh Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Two Roads Christmas would be complete without our authors’ words, which is why, as part of our festive celebrations, we bring you some of our writers’ favourite Christmas memories.

This is a photograph of my mother, Mamie (on the right), and my mother-in-law, Muriel, at one of our Christmas Eve family celebrations. Disappearing off the picture to the right is a teenage son who had got hold of a Santa Claus outfit that year from somewhere and insisted on wearing it. The great thing about Christmas is that it’s a celebration for

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all the generations and I love the affection between the two matriarchs here, and their lovely smiles.

Sally Magnusson’s memoir, Where Memories Go, about her mother and dementia, is published in January 2014 and will be a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. Find out more on Facebook at Facebook.com/WhereMemoriesGo

Sally Magnusson Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

…from all of us at Two Roads!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Two Roads Christmas would be complete without our authors’ words, which is why, as part of our festive celebrations,

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we bring you some of our writers’ favourite Christmas memories. We’ve asked Kirsty Wark, BBC Newsnight presenter and top celebrity baker (see her in action in the video below, starting at 2:57), to share her favourite festive recipe:

We eat shortbread all year round now but traditionally it was associated with Christmas and Hogmanay. In Edinburgh the shortbread was traditionally decorated with slivers of orange and lemon peel and almonds.

This is a recipe handed down from my grandmother and my mother…

This is the perfect amount for a tin 8” by 13”… buttered.

12oz flour

2oz semolina (for a lovely crunch)

8oz butter

4oz sugar

The Christmas

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bit is the addition of a good grating of nutmeg… Powdered won’t do: the act of grating the nutmeg is part of the joy and it smells wonderful – a reminder that it was once worth a fortune!

Mix the ingredients together well and press evenly into the tin. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. Remove and cut through, creating oblongs or squares, and then return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Take the tin out, and reiterate the cuts and then sprinkle with caster sugar. When the shortbread is a little cooled take out the pieces and put on a wire rack.

Please share with your friends – put a few pieces in a jam jar, make a cover for the top out of Christmas paper tied with string and give as a present.

Kirsty Wark’s debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, a multi-generational story of love and belonging set on the Scottish island of Arran, is published in March 2014.

Kirsty Wark shortbread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 4 in our ongoing series of staff Christmas favourites. Here comes Ross Fraser’s book pick:

I first read Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie over 10 years ago, and every Christmas I go back to pouring through its rich lyrical prose to both celebrate and mourn this exquisite farewell to childhood. Christmas and childhood go hand in hand for me, and this book remains a source and reminder of that enchantment that childhood and its memory so often evokes. Full of capacious, sensuous, prose Lee barrages you with a lyrical precision that sets every sense off tingling. ‘Snow clouds of elder blossom’, ‘jigsaws of frost on the window’, and ‘metallic creaking, a faint throbbing of twigs and wires’, are a constant source of pleasure for me in my comatose, turkey-fed Christmas state. Utterly remarkable, and charming, Cider with Rosie is now a firm personal Christmas tradition.

Ross is Marketing Manager for Hodder Consumer Learning, an imprint of John Murray Press.

@RRFraser 

Ross Fraser's Christmas read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Two

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Roads Christmas would be complete without our authors’ words, which is why, as part of our festive celebrations, we bring you some of our writers’ favourite Christmas memories.

Every year, for more than 100 years, the women and girls in my mother’s family gathered in early December to make Plum Pudding for Christmas. Starting a few years ago, the men and boys were included too – at the instigation of my mother and a cousin who has been key in keeping the ritual ongoing. It’s great fun to see everyone in the family before the holiday madness sets in; and there’s plenty of alcohol on hand (also a new feature, I gather). But it’s also powerful to participate in a chain that remains unbroken, stretching back generations. Here is the pre-steamed pudding mixture in all its gloppy glory. One secret: get the butcher to chop the suet.

Will Schwalbe is the author of the New York Times bestseller The End of Your Life Book Club and he’s the founder of the cookery website cookstr.com.

Will Schwalbe's Christmas

 

 

 

One more Christmas memory from our colleagues. Here comes Kate Miles‘s pick for the perfect Christmas read:

My favourite Christmas book is a kids book… When I was younger every Christmas eve I used to get in to bed and read The Night Before Christmas before I went to sleep. I had to read it or else I thought that Father Christmas wouldn’t come, and even now if I hear the first lines it takes me back to my childhood straightaway and that feeling of complete excitement and not being able to sleep.

Kate Miles is Project Editor at Saltyard, an imprint of John Murray Press

@KateMilesy

 

The Night Before Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Two Roads Christmas would be complete without our authors’ words, which is why, as part of our festive celebrations, we bring you some of our writers’ favourite Christmas memories.

When I was younger, I’d ask Santa for books and skateboard equipment for Christmas. Now that I’m older, I tend to ask for books, skateboard equipment, and an empty skatepark on Christmas morning. It’s actually not a bad time to skate because the throngs of kids who can occasionally get in my way (bless their hearts) are at home tearing into their presents. By the time they descend on the ramps with their new boards and helmets, I’m worn out and happy to watch them celebrate.

Then I go home and read. I hope everyone’s holidays are equally as good, and I hope Santa will finally pony up with some of the tricks I’ve been wanting for years.

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of Remember Me Like This, published in hardback in August 2014. You can follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/bajbooks.

Bret Anthony Johnston Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bret Anthony Johnston Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our

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second entry in our favourite Christmas reads list comes from Fede, aka the ‘Italian road’:

Little Women… There is something cosy and warm about Louisa May Alcott’s tale of four sisters growing up in the March household. Around Christmas time I tend to skim-read bits of the novel, spending a few hours curled on the sofa in my Italian family home (festive tunes in the background and Christmas tree all lit up) reading about the simple pleasures of waking up on Christmas Day to small gifts and lots of love. A truly uplifting tale.

Federico Andornino is Editorial Assistant at Two Roads

@Due_Strade

Fede's pick Little Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Two Roads Christmas would be complete without our authors’ words, which is why, as part of our festive celebrations, we bring you some of our writers’ favourite Christmas memories.

If we are lucky we have a wealth of glorious honey at the end of each summer, for Christmas gifts, thanks to our island bees, who forage for nectar through the wild places, the herb garden and beyond.  I find them everywhere, flying only ever 3 miles from the hive, sometimes down on the shore when I walk to find the ocean’s song and sometimes in the willow flowering woods, in the heather and the whin (gorse) bushes that pepper the hillsides with a fragrant butter yellow.  The bees sleep now, quiet for the winter, keeping warm within the hives, each one holding 80,000.  The gales will buffet them, the salt spray lash at their edges, but they, oh wise they, will wait patiently for the first flower that braves a pale Spring sun, to begin all over again.

Judy Fairbairns is the author of Island Wife, a memoir of a woman’s life on a remote Scottish island, now available in paperback. You can follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JudyFairbairns

 

Judy Fairbairns's Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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