Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

16 January

Book of the day

alimemoirMuhammad Ali: A Memoir
Michael Parkinson
(UK: Hodder & Stoughton, 2017; USA: Hodder & Stoughton, Kindle, 2016)

Sir Michael Parkinson interviewed Muhammad Ali four times and in this memoir you are given a ringside seat for all of the interviews.

Muhammad Ali was God’s Gift to the interviewer. Funny, articulate, outspoken with a fascinating life story, unparalleled talent and controversial views. These four interviews charted Ali’s life, revealing significant phases at different times, charting the rise and fall of this kaleidoscope of a man.

In Muhammad Ali: A Memoir Sir Michael Parkinson will bring his award-winning journalistic talents to bear on this extraordinary man. The book will mix personal recollections of the times they met with selected transcripts of the famous and, in the case of the 1974 meeting, infamous interviews all brought together and contextualised by a sober and honest assessment of the life and times of a figure that, it is certain, we will never see the like of again.

Recommended by:
Christina Jansen, Photographer, Christina Jansen Photography (London-based)

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine, or via Amazon (Muhammad Ali: A Memoir)
Available in the USA via Amazon in Kindle format (Muhammad Ali: A Memoir)

Christina took many iconic photographers of Muhammad Ali, who became a close personal friend to her. Christina curates exhibitions of her photographs of the man behind the icon. You can follow Christina at Facebook and Twitter.


Christina with Ali (photo credit: Christina Jansen)

Facts of the day

16 January

1793 French King Louis XVI is sentenced to death by the National Convention during the French Revolution.

New Year

The third Monday of the New Year – this year falling on 16 January – has come to be known as Blue Monday, ever since a press release by holiday company Sky Travel went viral in 2005. Attributed to Cardiff University tutor, Cliff Arnall, the release published a formula stating that variables such as weather conditions, how bad our debt is, amount of time since Christmas, how long it’s been since we failed our New Year’s Resolutions and low motivation levels contribute to a mass depression on this day every year.

The day is observed by those convinced that January is the worst month to be alive but the theory behind the formula has been labelled as ‘pseudoscience’.


When Stephen King was young, he saw a friend get struck and killed by a train. This fact sheds a whole new light on his novella ‘The Body’ (better known as the 1986 Rob Reiner-directed film, Stand By Me) in his Different Seasons collection.

Writers birthdays

1634 Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter (Norway)
1675 Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon (France)
1697 Richard Savage (UK)
1749 Vittorio Alfieri (Italy)
1838 Franz Brentano (Germany)
1864 Frank Bacon (USA)
1874 Robert Service (UK, Canada)
1885 Zhou Zuoren (China)
1888 Osip Brik (Russia)
1895 Nat Schachner (USA)
1897 Carlos Pellicer (Mexico)
1912 Franz Tumler (Austria)
1918 Nel Benschop (The Netherlands)
1923 Anthony Hecht (USA)
1928 William Kennedy (USA)
1930 Norman Podhoretz (USA)
1931 Vladimír Škutina (Czech Republic)
1932 Jim Berry (USA)
1933 Susan Sontag (USA)
1947 Magdalen Nabb (UK)
1950 Brian Castro (Hong Kong, Australia)
1970 Garth Ennis (Ireland, USA)

Jokes of the day

An Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman, Norwegian, Dutchman, Danishman, Italian, Hungarian, Russian, Indian, Australian, American, Phillipino, Malayan walk into a bar. The doorman says: ‘I’m sorry lads, I can’t let you in without a Thai.’

Cartoon: Mr Oh, Cartoon on Blue Monday, The World According to Tip Top

Quote of the day

Edward Mbiaka: ‘When you start to do the things that you truly love, it wouldn’t matter whether it is Monday or Friday; you would be so excited to wake up each morning to work on your passions.’