The Urals and Western Siberia in the Bronze and Iron Ages


Opening: From the very beginning, Russian archaeologists studied both historical and technological aspects of ancient metallurgy. However, until recently, many Russian archaeologists regarded this categorizing of artifacts as a means of synchronization and used it primarily for cross-cultural comparisons. At present, such a narrow use of the metal material has nearly been discarded as a result of the advances of analytical studies of the technology of metal production and the work of specialists such as Yessen (Yessen & Degenom-Kovalevski 1935), Chernikov (1949, 1935), Bochkarev (1995a, 1995b), Sunchugashev (1969, 1979), Ryndina (1998), and Chernykh (1966, 1970, 1992).

Cambridge University Press items take a third of the pages to get started, however they really are worth taking a look at if your reference library stocks them.

Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden

Edoardo Ballerini (Narrator)~16:15:00

Description: La Serenissima. Its breathtaking architecture, art, and opera ensure that Venice remains a perennially popular destination for tourists and armchair travelers alike. Yet most of the available books about this magical city are either facile travel guides or fusty academic tomes. In Venice, renowned historian Thomas F. Madden draws on new research to explore the city’s many astonishing achievements and to set 1,500 years of Venetian history and the endless Venetian-led Crusades in the context of the ever-shifting Eurasian world. Filled with compelling insights and famous figures, Venice is a monumental work of popular history that’s as opulent and entertaining as the great city itself.

The Blurb-line: A spellbinding new portrait of one of the world’s most beloved cities.

3* Heaven or Heresy: A History of the Inquisition
CR Venice: A New History

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

bookshelves: published-1973, snow-times, winter-20142015, kiddlewinks

Read on December 25, 2014

Watch here

Description: Raymond Briggs, creator of “The Snowman,” tells a magical Christmas story that will appeal to everyone who wants to believe in Santa Claus. Meet Father Christmas: a very human gift-giver with a tough job to do. You’ll find out that he sometimes gets a little grumpy living at the icy North Pole and squeezing down chimneys, but he more than makes up for it in heart and humor. Raymond Briggs brings this endearing character to life in over 100 wonderfully illustrated vignettes that follow the adventures of Father Christmas on his big night of the year.

Del Boy Santa?

The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1855, play-dramatisation, radio-4x, magicians, kiddlewinks, fradio, fantasy, lit-richer, victorian, witches-and-wizards, fairyfolk

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from December 19 to 25, 2014

Description: Between the kingdoms of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, there lived a mysterious personage, who was known in those countries as the Fairy Blackstick, from the ebony wand or crutch which she carried; on which she rode to the moon sometimes, or upon other excursions of business or pleasure, and with which she performed her wonders. When she was young, and had been first taught the art of conjuring by the necromancer, her father, she was always practicing her skill, whizzing about from one kingdom to another upon her black stick, and conferring her fairy favors upon this Prince or that.

Listen here

1/2 Unable to find any Christmas entertainment, Thackeray invents his own fireside pantomime – a story of kings, princesses, lions and battles. Stars Prunella Scales and Maureen Lipman.

2/2 Countess Gruddanuff and Fairy Blackstick make plans for the four royal young lovers. Stars Prunella Scales and Maureen Lipman.

Mrs Craddock by W. Somerset Maugham

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1902, under-500-ratings

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from December 22 to 25, 2014
Description: It is the end of the 19th century and Victoria’s reign is coming to an end. It is also the end of an era, but no one knows. The landed gentry, so soon to lose their power, are the last to suspect.

Bertha Ley is mistress of Court Ley, a great spread of land. She marries Edward Craddock, a man beneath her station, but quite the essence of new order. A gentleman farmer, he is steady and a doer who turns Court Ley into an efficient farm. But Bertha wants passion and ardor: she gets reality.

Read here

Opening: THIS book might be called also The Triumph of Love. Bertha was looking out of window, at the bleakness of the day. The sky was sombre and the clouds heavy and low; the neglected carriage-drive was swept by the bitter wind, and the elm-trees that bordered it were bare of leaf, their naked branches shivering with horror of the cold. It was the end of November, and the day was utterly cheerless. The dying year seemed to have cast over all Nature the terror of death; the imagination would not bring to the wearied mind thoughts of the merciful sunshine, thoughts of the Spring coming as a maiden to scatter from her baskets the flowers and the green leaves.

Bertha turned round and looked at her aunt, cutting the leaves of a new Spectator. Wondering what books to get down from Mudie’s, Miss Ley read the autumn lists and the laudatory expressions which the adroitness of publishers extracts from unfavourable reviews.

5* Of Human Bondage
4* The Razor’s Edge
3* The Narrow Corner
4* The Painted Veil
4* The Moon and Sixpence
4* Collected Stories
3* The Magician
3* Ashenden
OH Rain and Other South Sea Stories
TR Liza of Lambeth
TR Collected Stories Vol II
CR Mrs Craddock
TR On A Chinese Screen
2* The Circle – A Comedy in Three Acts
4* For Services Rendered and Other Plays
3* Lord Mountdrago

Stories in the Stars: An Atlas of Constellations by Susanna Hislop



A seasonal reading for clear and frosty nights, when the skies sparkle with thousands of dots forming half remembered, almost traceable shapes. These are the stories behind the names and shapes of the constellations that pattern the night sky.

Stories In The Stars by Susanna Hislop is read by a range of voices and accents from around the country and the globe. It might be one of the stories that the great Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy assigned to them in his masterwork that became known as the Almagest, or it might be a personified first person narration from the constellation Chameleon having a grumble about the number of different names and imagined shapes assigned to him over the millennia.

From Greco-Roman mythology to the lives of the eighteenth century astronomers, this is a delightful miscellany which gives us a reason to step outside, look up and wonder at the magic lantern show above us.

Episode One: Susanna Hislop introduces us to the cartographers who first mapped the night sky. Corvus, the Crow and Cancer, the Crab offer different perspectives.

Episode Two: Orion is one of the most famous and recognisable figures in the night sky. Close by Taurus gallops across our night sky.

Gawd, this was not to my liking at all. Hippy dippy trippy trash, and no science at all. I kept waiting for THIS moment.

Abridged, directed and produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

The Bear by Raymond Briggs

bookshelves: published-1994, kiddlewinks, film-only, snow-times, winter-20142015

Read from December 24 to 25, 2014

Watch here

Description: From the beloved creator of The Snowman comes an enchanting big book featuring 124 beautiful pastel illustration panels. A huge, snowy white bear arrives mysteriously one cold winter night and crawls into bed with Tilly. The next morning, Tilly sets about making her polar bear friend welcome and excitedly reports her progress in “civilizing” him to her bemused parents. They are sure Tilly has an imaginary friend. But is he imaginary? Whether or not, his story is irresistible.

The Snowman and the Snowdog

Watch the delight here

Description: In this holiday picture book, a companion to Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, a little boy builds a snow puppy next to his snowman—in hopes of getting a real puppy for Christmas. That night the Snowman comes to life and takes the boy and the Snowdog on an adventure to the world of Snow People. But the best is yet to come on Christmas morning, when a real, live puppy is waiting under the tree.

Based on the original classic by Raymond Briggs, which has sold over 8.5 million copies and is available in fifteen languages, the story and illustrations are by the creators of the animated special by the same name.

The Christmas Show: A Tor.Com Original by Pat Cadigan

bookshelves: shortstory-shortstories-novellas, under-50-ratings, e-book, winter-20142015

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Melki
Read on December 22, 2014
Description: The Christmas Show,” by Pat Cadigan, is the perfect Christmas story about a pair of sisters under a mysterious curse that forces them to travel around the US producing local theatrical productions. This Xmas, they’re producing A Christmas Carol with the real ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Humorous and charming.…

Opening: “A Christmas Carol. Again. Because God knows nobody’s seen that one enough.”

“Dita.” Coco stopped pacing around and whacked me on the head with a rolled-up copy of the latest Shop-A-Rama weekly—not a lethal weapon in late October, even with the coupon sheet insert. “Don’t dis the Dickens. It’s Christmas but it’s secular, barely a mention of Jesus or Christianity. It’s all about the spirit of the holiday, which is something everyone can relate to—Jews, Muslims, Hindus, pagans—”

“Yeah. Because here in Happy Valley, there are so many Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and pagans who feel left out during the Christmas season.” The town’s name wasn’t really Happy Valley, it was just what we called every place we played.

Good Omens: The BBC Radio 4 dramatisation

1: A rather special baby is delivered, initiating an apocalyptic chain of events.

Description: According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, the world will end on a Saturday. A Saturday quite soon, here on Radio 4.

Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – have been summoned from the corners of the earth and are assembling.

Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell and his assistant Newton Pulsifier are also en route to Tadfield to investigate some unusual phenomena in the area, while Anathema Device, descendent of prophetess and witch Agnes Nutter, tries to decipher her ancestor’s cryptic predictions about exactly where the impending Apocalypse will take place.

Atlantis is rising, fish are falling from the sky; everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan.
Everything that is but for the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who are not all that keen on the prospect of the forthcoming Rapture. Aziraphale (once an angel in the Garden of Eden, but now running an antiquarian bookshop in London), and Crowley (formerly Eden’s snake, now driving around London in shades and a vintage Bentley) have been living on Earth for several millennia and have become rather fond of the place. But if they are to stop Armageddon taking place they’ve got to find and kill the one who will the one bring about the apocalypse: the Antichrist himself.

There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him…

With a cast led by Peter Serafinowicz and Mark Heap this is the first ever dramatization of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens.

Adaptation and sound design by Dirk Maggs.
Produced by Heather Larmour.

Listen here.

Episode 2: Aziraphale and Crowley set out to discover what happened to the real son of Satan.

Episode 3: Aziraphale consults Agnes’s prophesies and the Horsepersons of the Apocalypse are summoned

Episode 4: Aziraphale and Crowley receive visits from the Angelic and Demonic authorities.

Episode 5: The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse assemble and set off for Lower Tadfield.

Episode 6: Armageddon is imminent, and the fate of the Earth rests on the shoulders of Adam Young.

“We would throw characters in, hand them off when we got stuck. We finished the book and decided we would only tell people a little about the writing process – we would tell them that Agnes Nutter was Terry’s, and the Four Horsemen (and the Other Four Motorcyclists) were mine.”Read more of Neil Gaiman’s piece on BBC news desk.