Laura and Sarah: Christmas Book Q&A

In the final instalment of our Christmas-themed blog posts, Laura and Sarah team up to talk about Father Christmas and Anne of Green Gables.

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

Sarah: I always wanted to have dinner with the Blythe family from the Anne of Green Gables books. The most fun Christmas dinner guests would have to be the Weasley twins and Merry and Pippin 😊

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

Laura: As a child we used to read Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs many, many times over. I think I still know the words off by heart!

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Laura: I’ve asked for Oh My God What a Complete Aisling as it has been recommended to me by several friends who say it resonates with our generation while being funny and light-hearted too. Fingers crossed Father Christmas delivers!

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

Laura: I heard and thoroughly enjoyed the serialisation of Becoming by Michele Obama so I am giving that to my sister this Christmas (fingers crossed she doesn’t follow the blog and see this spoiler!)

Sarah: I gave Anne of Green Gables to my friend’s daughter last year which was lovely – she then read it to me next time I babysat!

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

Laura: I’ve just started reading the complete Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis ahead of a trip to Belfast (his place of birth) in January. I’m really into them but the only problem is, Elinor accidentally told me a major plot spoiler!

Sarah: I really enjoyed The Astonishing Colour of After (Emily X.R. Pan), Love, Hate & Other Filters (Samira Ahmed), How to Stop Time (Matt Haig) and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Natasha Pulley) – difficult to pick one! 😊

My least favourite was The Bricks that Built the Houses (Kate Tempest) – it wasn’t awful but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

Anna: Christmas Book Q&A

Merry Christmas! Here’s the third instalment in our Christmassy book Q&A in which Anna talks Wind in the Willows, poetry and pulling a cracker with Professor McGonagall. 

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

A snowy view from Anna’s window

I do really like Chapter 5 of Wind in the Willows which is about many things, but includes an impromptu party thrown for carol-singing field-mice by Ratty and Mole. The chapter ends with Mole drifting off to sleep, thinking about the importance of having a community and a place to call home, which seems especially apt at this time of year and in 2018:

He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

We have a book with a short poem or extract from a book for every day of Advent, and I try and buy a new Christmas book for the girls each year (this year is Grandpa Christmas by Michael Morpurgo). I also try and find time on Christmas Eve to read A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas aloud to Alys and Elin…

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

I’d be happy with just about any book to be honest, but I would really love ‘Honey and Co. at Home’ or ‘The Phantom Atlas’, which is about mistakes on maps.

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

Mrs Cratchit, Professor McGonagall and Becky Sharp.

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

Jeanette Winterson’s ’Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days’

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

I hate giving up books, but I did abandon ‘Judas’ by Amos Oz this year. I felt like I had already read enough books about middle-aged men and their obsessions with beautiful and unobtainable women.

Some of my favourite authors have published new books this year, so it’s been a good year for favourite books, but I’d probably pick ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead. It’s a brutal read, but utterly engrossing and the central character Cora is a force of nature.

Rose: Christmas Book Q&A

Part two of our Christmas book Q&A is a chat with Rose about making Christmas candy and The Night Before Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

Predictably, given they are my favourite childhood books, the Christmases depicted in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. There is a gorgeous bit in The Little House in the Big Woods when the sisters make Christmas candy from molasses, drizzling shapes in pans of snow to freeze.

One morning Ma boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa bought in two pans of clean white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest were saved for Christmas Day.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

We have read The Night Before Christmas to Theo on Christmas Eve for the past 3 years so I guess we will keep doing that!

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Well, if you are asking, the new Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered, please! 😉

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

I’d feel terribly disloyal if I said anyone other than Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa but for an entirely unique experience, I’d certainly accept an invite to dine with the Mortmains (I Capture the Castle)

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

I’ve just bought my brother the new Michael Ondaatje, Warlight, but on the proviso that he lends it to me straight after he’s read it!

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

Perhaps controversially (and why I will never be a Booker judge!) but I’m just not getting on with Milkman. But I absolutely loved the new Markus Zuzak YA novel, Bridge of Clay. It is amazing and beautiful and heart wrenching. But a word of warning if you do read it, find a nice private place for the ending; read this on the bus and people might think you are having some kind of breakdown.

Tommi: Christmas Book Q&A

To celebrate the season we will be publishing a series of posts combining two of our favourite things – books and Christmas – in a festive book Q&A. Here’s the first one from Tommi…

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

I think my favourite Christmas “scene” in a book is probably from Mauri Kunnas’ “Joulupukki” and is basically the whole book. It’s a lovely book explaining how the real Father Christmas’ operations work in Finland.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

Yes! As well as always getting and giving books for Christmas, when we sit down for our Finnish Christmas meal on the 24th December, mum always reads the “Jouluevankeliumi” from the Bible. I don’t really have a faith myself, but whether you are a believer or not, it’s a nice way to quieten down on for the Christmas meal. Once mum has finished reading, we turn the electric lights off and we have a quiet meditative moment before enjoying the food on the table.

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Any book that someone has thought I might enjoy.

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

The aforementioned “Joulupukki” of course! It would mean that he definitely had visited my house, and I imagine he has a lot of stories to tell. And since he has the ability to slow time in order to reach everyone on Christmas eve, it would give me more time to eat and digest my food too…

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

Another of Mauri Kunnas’ books “The Book of Finnish Elves”, which explains the rich variety of Finnish elves or “tonttu”. An elf is not just for Christmas, a fact that is often forgotten in the modern world.

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

I have a very short memory and I know I read some really good books earlier in the year, both in Finnish and English that I cannot remember. I am currently enjoying reading “Full Tilt” by Dervla Murphy, “Alone in Berlin” by Hans Fallada, and dipping in and out of the No Such Thing as a Fish “The Book of the Year 2017”. As for least favourite, I also have a selective memory and have forgotten the books I didn’t enjoy reading!

Merry Christmas!

As an office, we take Christmas very seriously! Celebrations start on 1st December, when we decorate the office and get the Christmas tunes playing. In this post we put a Christmassy spin on our recent Desert Island Discs blog post and share some photos of this year’s CVP/MM Christmas festivities!

Decorating day in the CVP/MM office

If you’re bored of hearing the same 10 Christmas songs played on loop in every shop, you can check out our office’s carefully curated Christmas playlist on Spotify here. Here are our personal favourites, including the one we’d each save from the waves marked with a star.

Sarah

  • *Proper Crimbo – Bo Selecta
  • Don’t Shoot Me Santa – The Killers
  • Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
  • Donde Esta Santa Claus – Augie Rios
  • Christmas was Better in the 80s – The Futureheads
  • Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
  • The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
  • One More Sleep Til Christmas – The Muppets Christmas Carol

Favourite Christmas Film: All I Want For Christmas

Favourite Christmas Food: Turkey & bread sauce sandwiches

Anna

  • Must be Santa – Bob Dylan
  • *Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
  • All Alone on Christmas – Darlene Love
  • It’s Clichéd to be Cynical at Christmas – Half Man Half Biscuit
  • O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman
  • (Don’t Call Me) Mrs Christmas – Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler
  • Santa Claus Meets the Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
  • Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – Ramones

Favourite Christmas Film: It’s a Wonderful Life, with Nativity! a very VERY close second place

Favourite Christmas Food: Bread sauce

Laura

Time for a quick photo on the way to Christmas dinner
  • Gaudete – Steeleye Span
  • Feliz Navidad – José Feliciano
  • *I Was Born On Christmas Day – Saint Etienne
  • Last Christmas – Wham!
  • Walking In The Air – Aled Jones
  • It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas – Pet Shop Boys
  • The Power of Love – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy

Favourite Christmas Film: As I’ve only seen 3 Christmas films I have very few to narrow down, so it’ll be The Holiday

Favourite Christmas Food: Brandy butter (with mince pies on the side!)

Flo

  • 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
  • *O Holy Night – Tracy Chapman
  • Christmas Eve, 1943 – Tom McRae & The Standing Band
  • Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
  • Will You Still Be In Love With Me Next Year – Hot Club de Paris
  • It’s Clichéd to be Cynical at Christmas – Half Man Half Biscuit
  • Kindle a Flame in Her Heart – Los Campesinos!

Favourite Christmas Film: The Muppet Christmas Carol

Favourite Christmas Food: Yule log

Tommi

  • Christmassy cocktails

    Sylvian Joululaulu Various different artists

  • Tonttujen Jouluyö Various different artists
  • Joulupuu on Rakennettu Various different artists
  • Joulupukki Various different artists
  • Joulupukki puree ja lyö – M.A. Numminen
  • *Herra Huu Pelkää Joulupukkia – M.A. Numminen
  • Näin Sydämmeeni Joulun Teen Various different artists
  • On Hanget Korkeat Nietokset Various different artists

Favourite Christmas Film: I don’t have a favourite Christmas film, I think they are all pretty appalling and besides I can’t think of anything less Christmassy than watching TV on Christmas Eve, so I would rather sit in a wood fired sauna staring at the flames flickering under the stove. I hope, by the way, that my desert island will be an arctic desert island so I can jump in the snow from the sauna and it will be properly dark.

Favourite Christmas Food: Joulukinkku (Christmas ham)

Alice

  • A Spaceman Came Travelling – Chris de Burgh
  • *Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
  • Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea
  • Last Christmas – Wham!
  • 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
  • Stop the Cavalry – Jona Lewie
  • Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
  • In Dulci Jubilo – Mike Oldfield

Favourite Christmas Film: It’s a Wonderful Life

Favourite Christmas Food (/Drink!): Mulled wine!

 

Merry Christmas from all of us – see you in 2018!

Christmas dinner with the whole team

 

 

Office closed for Christmas

SantaThe Channel View/Multilingual Matters office is closed over the Christmas period from 22 December and will reopen on 5 January. We hope that you understand that we will be unable to deal with any queries at this time but we will do our best to respond to anything urgent as soon as we return in January.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Our Christmas charities

This Christmas we are pleased to be donating to two charities who we feel are particularly deserving of our support.

CARAThe Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) is an independent national charity that defends persecuted academics and assists them in rebuilding their lives and careers in safety. Our contribution will help CARA to provide refugees with education, training and employment advice as well as financial support for their research or training.

Tourism For AllTourism For All is a UK charity dedicated to making tourism accessible for everyone, especially older and disabled people. Our donation will help to allow people with disabilities, their families and carers to have the holiday they deserve.

Merry Christmas from Channel View!

The Channel View Christmas Tree
The Channel View Christmas Tree

The Channel View team would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Our office will close on Friday 21st December and reopen on Thursday 3rd January as we will all be off enjoying the festive season.

Update from the Language Cafés Project

The Christmas Language Cafe
The Christmas Language Café

Although we’ve just announced the winner of our 2013 Multilingualism in the Community Award we haven’t forgotten our previous winners. We’ve just had an update from Mandy Bengts the organiser of the Language Cafés project (2012 winners) and she’s filled us in on what they’ve achieved this past year.

I have continued as organizer of the university’s cafés since our winning of the prize, for which I once again thank Multilingual Matters. Just last week, we held an event at the local library where we brought together international students, Swedish people and new arrivals to Sweden from countries as far apart as Nigeria and China, Iran and the USA. It was a Christmas café, where traditions and languages were shared, as well as some Swedish glögg (mulled wine) and saffransbullar (saffron buns), typical to a Swedish “jul” or Christmas, all financed by the prize money.

We have decided to add a “new” language to our language café menu each term, financed once again by the winning money. Last term and the one prior, we had cafés in Persian, hosted by a lady from Iran and attended by mainly Swedish people, which was very much our aim. Next term, I hope to add Thai as there are many people from Thailand in the local community, and what is more, Thailand as a holiday destination is extremely popular among Swedes. We have also added a few more items to our stock of café paraphernalia, such as flags and games.

So the idea is to use the money slowly and wisely and allow the café concept to grow alongside the concept of Multiculturalism in the Community.

For more information on the Language Cafés please see their website.

Supporting a good cause at Christmas

This Christmas we are proud to announce our support for two different charities which we think particularly deserving.

The first is The Little Hands Trust who help to motivate biliteracy development among African children. Our contribution will help them to develop and supply storybooks in African languages as well as English, French, Portuguese and Arabic. The charity also mentors adults reading with children in reading clubs and collaborates with African  publishers to produce children’s books in African languages.

The second is The Family Holiday Association which is a charity dedicated to providing disadvantaged families access to holidays and recreational activities. Over 2 million children live in families who can’t afford a simple day out to the seaside let alone a holiday. Something that many of us take for granted is a luxury for some families and the Family Holiday Association helps these families take a much-needed break.