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On the seventh day of Christmas…

. . . It’s also New Year’s Eve, and the very last day of 2011! Cue fireworks, kissing your loved ones at midnight, Auld Lang Syne, parties and Jool’s Holland on TV. But all that happens at midnight – that’s hours away! So what to do until then . . . ?

But is 2012 really so far away? We could, in fact, make a day of the celebrations! 2012 will arrive in New Zealand at about 11.00 in the morning today (Champagne!), in parts of Russia at 12.00, and cross Australia over lunch time. Japan will see the New Year in at 15.00, China at 16.00 and Indonesia at 17.00. Bangladesh celebrates at 18.00, Pakistan at 19.00, the Arab Emirate at 20.00 and Iraq at 21.00. Greece and Israel, amongst others, enter 2012 at 22.00 and the New Year sweeps across Europe, gathering up France, Germany, Spain, Italy and more, at 23.00. When Big Ben rings the New Year in an hour later, we’ll finally be able to join the party – although perhaps we should spare a thought for American Samoa, who will have to wait a further eleven hours to crack open their champagne.

So what’s the perfect read for a day like today, dominated by time travelling across the globe? Well of course The Time Machine springs to mind (it would, wouldn’t it?), as does the time-travel classic The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. . . . but this not just a day of time travelling across the globe, it’s also a day of clock watching! So why not snaffle a copy of John Sladek’s irresistibly titled Tik-Tok an entirely gripping novel which plays with Asimov’s famous Laws of Robotics) or take a peek at Anna Sheehan’s extraordinary (time-travel!) debut novel A Long, Long Sleep, in which Rose falls asleep . . . and wakes up sixty years in the future . . .

Whatever your plans today, Happy New Year’s Eve!