You should definitely buy books as Christmas presents. In an age of Kindle binges, actual paper books are becoming unique luxuries.Which books, you say? Well, these, for starters:
Anime: A History — Out on the 6th so just in time for Christmas (in the UK… I doubt it will reach American readers in time), the British Film Institute’s landmark history of a century of animation in Japan, from the first appearances of foreign cartoons in Tokyo cinemas, through early innovators, wartime propaganda and the rise of TV “anime”, the video boom, the wave of foreign interest and Miyazaki’s Oscar, all the way to the shut-down of the analogue broadcast signal in 2012.
Modern China: All That Matters — China as the Chinese see it, a history of the People’s Republic since 1949 with special emphasis on the most crucial points and issues of the Mao years, the Deng years, the Hong Kong Handover, territorial and cultural issues, right up to the inauguration of Xi Jinping.
The Art of War — for the truly dangerous sister-in-law, the mad granny or the eccentric uncle who spends the whole dinner using peanuts in an attempt to explain how the Battle of Talas went, Sun Tzu’s original classic of military advice, newly translated in a no-nonsense, waffle-free edition.
Mannerheim — Now available in paperback, the unbelievable tale of the “last knight”, the Tsarist cavalry officer who fought against the Japanese in Manchuria, spent two years pretending to be a Swedish anthropologist while spying on the Chinese, and ended his career accidentally becoming the president of Finland. Battles, derring-do and malicious puppet shows.
Schoolgirl Milky Crisis — for the anime fan who thinks he or she knows it all, a broad sweep of the anime, manga and Asian media worlds, including libellous accusations, misguided confessions, and things a whole bunch of people never wish they’d said within earshot. Why do anime studios hang onto a glove full of rancid custard? Is it possible to write a subtitle script without using the letter “Y”? These questions and more, in the book that this blog is the blog of. Oh yes.
Other books are available: about samurai, vikings, the life of a great scientist, emperors and empresses, and even touchy feely poems that don’t rhyme.