Christmas is the time for peace on earth, and goodwill to all men. But by the time you’ve been around all the shops, and spent way too much money on stuff that no one wants, you probably want to come home forget the whole thing. Well if you’re a well read baller like us, that me-time probably comes in the form of a stiff drink and a good book. Here’s a few of our recommendations to help forget that Christmas is even a thing.
1. The Man In The High Castle – Philip K. Dick
The great thing about this book is that the adaptation is out on Amazon Prime TV, so when everyone else is watching it you can tell them that the book is way better (everyone loves that), because it is. The book is set is an alternate reality in which the allies lost WWII and Japan and Germany occupy most of America. As thought-provoking as it was when it was released in the ’60s, this short novel is seriously hard to put down.
2. The Travels of Marco Polo
Probably the most famous story of adventure ever written, the travels of Marco Polo tells the story of a 13th Century Merchant travelling to China, before almost any other European. The book reads more like a renaissance period guide book, but you can read first hand what an explorer found on his way to the end of the world. In the book Polo tells us about the Hashashin order (like the one’s from Assassin’s Creed), to the pearl divers in Maabar. On his death Marco Polo said that he has described not even half of what he saw, but considering he discovered cannabis on his adventure, and talks about giant birds that can carry elephants, take the whole thing with a generous pinch of salt.
3. Lost Splendour and The Death of Rasputin – Prince Felix Yusupov
Lost Splendour and The Death of Rasputin (originally “La Fin de Raspoutine”) records the first hand account of the murder of Rasputin by Prince Felix Yusupov. The Yusupovs were a Russian royal dynasty rumored to have even more money the Tsars. After the revolution, Prince Felix was exiled to France, where penniless he wrote this book. Just over 100 years since the murder of Rasputin, the book has finally been translated into English. A gripping true story of the murder of the Mad Monk, as told by the murderer himself.
4. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
If the stress of Christmas is giving you an existential crisis, then the meditations of Marcus Aurelius may be the sanity pill you need. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor, a famous stoic, and probably the most real person there ever was. The stoics pretty much invented not giving a fuck in about 2,300 years ago, and the philosophy has been gaining a lot of popularity, mostly in response to the pressures of the modern age. Don’t worry about a heavy read, the book is broken down into hundreds of little thoughts that you can meditate on. If the stress is getting to you, this is a great way to remind yourself that it doesn’t really matter.
“Soon you will have forgotten all things: Soon all things will have forgotten you.”
5. Madness Is Better Than Defeat
The fourth novel by the up and coming author, Ned Beauman; Madness Is Better Than Defeat is a novel about a lost Mayan temple in the jungles of Honduras that are the target for two competing expeditions, one that wants to use it for a movie set, another that wants to send it back piece-by-piece to New York. The book is difficult to put down: Incredibly clever, genuinely funny and will stay with you longer than that bottle of 12-year scotch.