My favourite gift so far was this.
It’s a while since I’ve been really gripped by a book. There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned page-turner that leaves you dreaming up ways to get out of work early or avoid your family so you can devour a few more pages.
If you’re considering taking a holiday or even just pulling a sickie, I heartily recommend picking this up first.
It explores faith, linguistics, mental illness and a man with funny hands, all wrapped up in sci-fi (a genre I try to be snobbish about but can’t). And its characters are more complete and human than anyone you’ll ever meet in an agency.
Here's the blurby bit:
After the first exquisite songs were intercepted by radio telescope, UN diplomats debated long and hard whether and why human resources should be expended in an attempt to reach the world that would become known as Rakhat. In the Rome offices of the Society of Jesus, the questions were not whether or why but how soon the mission could be attempted and whom to send. The Jesuit scientists went to Rakhat to learn, not to proselytize. They went so that they might come to know and love God's other children. They went for the reason Jesuits have always gone to the farthest frontiers of human exploration. They went for the greater glory of God. They meant no harm.
I dunno if you picked it up but that 'They meant no harm' line is actually rather ominous, if you know what I'm saying. As in, it all goes a bit wrong. What I'm suggesting is that they do harm. Anyway.
I’m about 3/4s of the way through. I’ll let you know if the ending turns out to be a massive disappointment. Otherwise, get it.
Here’s to page-turners.