BOOKS I'VE BOUGHT
JUST ANOTHER DAY at the bookshop—a treasure trove of delights, a cornucopia of wonders, a magic-carpet ride through the realm of books, and, yes, an oasis for the mind. A stagggering array of interesting new titles. Bought a couple of books that I believe will stand the test of time.
Visiting Mrs Nabokov and Other Excursions (1993) / Martin Amis
The 2005 paperback edition of Martin Amis's collection of essays first published in 1993. As always, he is witty, sarcastic and cynical. But he is really brilliant. His razor-sharp takes on a wide variety of subjects leave you laughing and crying at the same time. A perfect companion piece to The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews, 1917-2000 (2001) and The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America (1986).
Love in the Time of Cholera (1988) / Gabriel García Márquez (trans. from the Spanish by Edith Grossman)
Saturday (2005) / Ian McEwan
A day in the so-far perfect life of a London neurosurgeon. In lesser hands this will not work. But in the hands of a prose stylist like Ian McEwan, what we have is a richly textured literary sleight-of-hand. With this book, McEwan amply demonstrates how the clever use of current events as the basis for fiction can be done. As a distillation of middle-class English life against the backdrop of the war in Iraq, Saturday works.
My Nine Lives: Chapters of a Possible Past (2004) / Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Gilead (2004) / Marilynne Robinson
Robinson's long-awaited second novel is religious, profound and essayistic. Her quiet, spare prose and the lack of a plot may not appeal to everyone, but if you persist, reading it is akin to a compelling religious experience. A challenging, but ultimately satisfying read.
Collected Stories (2004) / Carol Shields
Though better known for her novels, especially the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Stone Diaries (1994) and Larry's Party (1997), her short stories are exquisite and haunting. This 2005 paperback edition anthologises her three short-story collections, Various Miracles (1985), The Orange Fish (1989) and Dressing Up for the Carnival (2000), in addition to several other stories, including “Segue,” her last work before her death in 2003. The Washington Post called this collection a “career-long literary record of her preoccupation not just with the ‘serious and interesting’ lives of women, but with the subtleties and everyday miracles of human life.”
The Dust Diaries (2004) / Owen Sheers
The 2005 paperback edition of Welsh poet Owen Sheers's 2004 Zimbabwean travel memoir.
PRAWER JHABVALA Ruth [1927-] Novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter. Born Ruth Prawer in Cologne, Germany. NOVELS Shards of Memory (1995); Poet and Dancer (1993); Three Continents (1987); In Search of Love and Beauty (1983); Heat and Dust (1975: winner of the 1975 Booker Prize for Fiction); A New Dominion (published in the U.S. as Travelers) (1973); A Backward Place (1965); Get Ready for Battle (1962); The Householder (1960); Esmond in India (1958); The Nature of Passion (1956); To Whom She Will (published in the U.S. as Amrita) (1955) STORIES My Nine Lives: Chapters of a Possible Past (2004); East into Upper East: Plain Tales from New York and New Delhi (1998); Out of India: Selected Stories (1986); How I Became a Holy Mother and Other Stories (1976); Experience of India (1971); A Stronger Climate: Nine Stories (1968); Like Birds, Like Fishes and Other Stories (1963)
ROBINSON Marilynne [1943-] Novelist, essayist. Born Marilynne Summers in Sandpoint, Idaho. NOVELS Gilead (2004: winner of the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; shortlisted for the 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction); Housekeeping (1980: winner of the 1982 PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction; shortlisted for the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 1982 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction) NONFICTION The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (1998: awarded the PEN/Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay); Mother Country: Britain, the Welfare State and Nuclear Pollution (1989: shortlisted for the 1989 National Book Award for Nonfiction)
SHIELDS Carol [1935-2003] Novelist, short-story writer, poet. Born Carol Ann Warner in Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois. NOVELS Unless (2002: shortlisted for the 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction and the 2002 Giller Prize for Fiction); Larry's Party (1997: winner of the 1998 Orange Prize for Fiction; shortlisted for the 1997 Giller Prize for Fiction); The Stone Diaries (1993: winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1993 Governor General's Award for Fiction and the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction; shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize for Fiction); The Republic of Love (1992); A Celibate Season (with Blanche Howard) (1991); Swann (1987: published in the U.K. in 1990 as Mary Swann); A Fairly Conventional Woman (1982); Happenstance (1980); The Box Garden (1977); Small Ceremonies (1976) STORIES Collected Stories (2004); Dressing Up for the Carnival (2000); Various Miracles (1985); The Orange Fish (1989) POETRY Coming to Canada: Poems (1992); Intersect: Poems (1974); Others: Poems (1972) PLAYS Women Waiting; Anniversary (with David Williamson) (1998); Fashion, Power, Guilt and the Charity of Families (with Catherine Shields); Thirteen Hands (1993); Departures and Arrivals (1988) BIOGRAPHY Jane Austen (2001: winner of the 2002 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction) CRITICISM Susanna Moodie: Voice and Vision (1977) EDITED Dropping Threads (with Marjorie Anderson) (2002)
SHEERS Owen [1974-] Poet. Born in Suva, Fiji. POETRY The Blue Book (2000: shortlisted for the 2001 Forward Poetry Prize Best First Collection and the 2001 Welsh Book of the Year Award) TRAVEL/MEMOIR The Dust Diaries (2004)