Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Society, politics and philosophy

Please visit our Book Bulletin crowdfunding project at CrowdPatch to buy recommendations for our 2017/18 catalogue and to volunteer your skills, experience and contacts. All funds raised will support not-for-profit Jolabokaflod CIC’s forthcoming programme of events.

Recommendations in this category collected between 21 October 2017 (the First Day of Winter in the Old Nordic calendar) and 12 April 2018 (the last day of the London Book Fair 2018) will be published on this page by 30 May 2018, the opening date for BookExpo America and the New York Rights’ Fair.

The Outsider / The Stranger
Albert Camus
(UK: @classicpenguins, 2013; USA: @vintagebooks, 1989)

‘My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.’

In L’Étranger (1942), his classic existentialist novel (published in English as The Outsider and The Stranger), Camus explores the alienation of an individual who refuses to conform to social norms. Meursault, his anti-hero, will not lie. When his mother dies, he refuses to show his emotions simply to satisfy the expectations of others. And when he commits a random act of violence on a sun-drenched beach near Algiers, his lack of remorse compounds his guilt in the eyes of society and the law. Yet he is as much a victim as a criminal.

Albert Camus’ portrayal of a man confronting the absurd, and revolting against the injustice of society, depicts the paradox of man’s joy in life when faced with the ‘tender indifference’ of the world.

UK: ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine | Amazon | Foyles | Waterstones | WHSmith
USA: NewPages guide to independent bookstores | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Canada: search engine | Amazon | Indigo
Rest of the world: Book Depository

Recommended by:
Paul Atherton, Managing Director, Simple (TV) Productions Ltd (film/television)

Paul says: ‘The place I sit in the world. I didn’t cry at my mother’s funeral either.’

Paul has recently run a campaign to raise awareness of the Homeless in London by Living in a Car for a year. You can follow his progress via Twitter @LondonersLondon using the hashtag #LivingInACar