Saturday, December 31, 2005


Books that somehow made me want to put
everything else on hold and read

Articles of War / Nick Arvin
The Brooklyn Follies / Paul Auster
Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon / Dean Bakopoulos
The Sea / John Banville
Arthur & George / Julian Barnes
A Long Long Way / Sebastian Barry
The Family on Paradise Pier / Dermot Bolger
Three Day War / Joseph Boyden
March / Geraldine Brooks
The Family Tree / Carole Cadwalladr
Acts of Faith / Philip Caputo
The Saint of Lost Things / Christopher Castellani
It’s All Right Now / Charles Chadwick
The Great Stink / Clare Clark
A Slight Trick of the Mind / Mitch Cullin
Specimen Days / Michael Cunningham
This Human Season / Louise Dean
The March / E.L. Doctorow
The Memory Kepper’s Daughter / Kim Edwards
The Painted Drum / Louise Erdrich
26a / Diana Evans
Wounded / Percival Everett
Skinner’s Drift / Lisa Fugard
An Acre of Barren Land / Jeremy Gavron
Baker Towers / Jennifer Haigh
The Short Day Dying / Peter Hobbs
A Long Way Down / Nick Hornby
Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro
The Ha-Ha / Dave King
The Girls / Lori Lansens
The Highest Tide / Jim Lynch
Beyond Black / Hilary Mantel
The Bright Forever / Lee Martin
Saturday / Ian McEwan
The People’s Act of Love / James Meek
Lost in the Forest / Sue Miller
Ghost Portrait / Gregory Norminton
In the Province of Saints / Thomas O’Malley
The Portrait / Iain Pears
Dancing in the Dark / Caryl Phillips
Rules for Old Men Waiting / Peter Pouncey
Shalimar the Clown / Salman Rushdie
The Writing on the Wall / Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Prep / Curtis Sittenfeld
The Accidental / Ali Smith
On Beauty / Zadie Smith
The Angel of Forgetfulness / Steve Stern
A Factory of Cunning / Philippa Stockley
Abide with Me / Elizabeth Strout
Divided Kingdom / Rupert Thomson
The Hummingbird’s Daughter / Luis Alberto Urrea
A Jealous Ghost / A.N. Wilson
Only Say the Word / Niall Williams
The Ballad of Lee Cotton / Christopher Wilson

War by Candlelight / Daniel Alarcón
Follies / Ann Beattie
Here is Where We Meet / John Berger
God Lives in St. Petersburg and Other Stories / Tom Bissell
Tooth and Claw / T.C. Boyle
Under the Dam / David Constantine
Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories / Patricia Highsmith
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers / Yiyun Li
The Stories of David Leavitt (2005) / David Leavitt
Fathers and Daughters / Benjamin Markovits
Mother of Sorrows / Richard McCann
Ghost Town / Patrick McGrath
You Are Not the One / Vestal McIntyre
The Hill Road / Patrick O’Keefe
Music Through the Floor / Eric Puchner
Last Night / James Salter
Constitutional / Helen Simpson
I Got Somebody in Staunton / William Henry Lewis

American Sublime / Elizabeth Alexander
Where Shall I Wander: New Poems / John Ashbery
Star Dust / Frank Bidart
The Good Neighbour / John Burnside
Rapture / Carol Ann Duffy
Intimates / Helen Farish
Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2005 / Brendan Galvin
Refusing Heaven / Jack Gilbert
Legion / David Harsent
A Shorter Life / Alan Jenkins
Collected Poems / Jane Kenyon
To a Fault / Nick Laird
Harbour Lights / Derek Mahon
The Sugar Mile / Glyn Maxwell
Migration: New and Selected Poems / W.S. Merwin
New and Selected Poems: Volume 2 / Mary Oliver
Woods etc. / Alice Oswald
Skirrid Hill / Owen Sheers
Elegy on Toy Piano / Dean Young

Shakespeare: The Biography / Peter Ackroyd
Selected Prose 1953-2003 / John Ashbery (edited by Eugene Richie)
Curious Pursuits: Occasional Writing (published as Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose, 1983-2005 in the U.S.) / Margaret Atwood
Quicksands: A Memoir / Sybille Bedford
Untold Stories / Alan Bennett
Bertie, May and Mrs Fish / Xandra Bingley
Heartland: A Memoir / Neil Cross
Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature / Lewis M. Dabney
Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev / Robert Dessaix
The Year of Magical Thinking / Joan Didion
The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe / Paula Fox
Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home: Life on the Page / Lynn Freed
Findings / Kathleen Jamie
The Disappointment Artist / Jonathan Lethem
Making It Up / Penelope Lively
The Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah / Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Memoir / John McGahern
India in Mind / edited by Pankaj Mishra
Uncensored: Views and (Re)Views / Joyce Carol Oates
Istanbul: Memories of a City (published in the U.S. as Istanbul: Memories and the City) / Orhan Pamuk (trans. from the Turkish by Maureen Freely)
Mark Twain: A Life / Ron Powers
Mencken: the American Iconoclast / Marion Elizabeth Rodgers
When I Grow Up / Bernice Rubens
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel / Jane Smiley
Matisse: The Master / Hilary Spurling
Consider the Lobster and Other Essays / David Foster Wallace
D.H. Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider / John Worthen

Monday, December 26, 2005


One of my favourite authors

André Carrilho
The New York Times Book Review
December 25, 2005

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Andy Rash
The New York Times Book Review
December 25, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005


One of the wonderful fiction débuts of 2005!

JIM LYNCH’s début novel, The Highest Tide (Bloomsbury, 2005), is one of my favourite novels of 2005. Set against the tidal flats of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington, I love it especially for its taut, lyrical prose and gripping narrative power, spirituality and the wonderful character of Miles O’Malley, the introverted 13-year-old narrator, protagonist and voice of this sad yet hauntingly funny story of growing up. Lynch has an excellent feel for landscape and in his hands, the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest comes alive with a power that is at once raw and wondrous.

Check out Jim Lynch’s website at

LYNCH Jim [1961-] Novelist. Born James Lynch in San Diego, California, U.S. NOVEL The Highest Tide (2005)

Other books set in the Pacific Northwest
Snow Falling on Cedars / David Guterson
Waxwings (2003) / Jonathan Raban

Sunday, December 18, 2005


One of my favourite authors

André Carrilho
The New York Times Book Review
December 18, 2005

Sunday, December 11, 2005


IF YOU ENJOY reading about books and literature, this fortnightly books magazine will keep you enthralled for hours on end. The criticism and commentary are detailed with lots of in-depth analyses and excellent writing. Lots of well-argued essays on books that will make you think about our lives and the world we live in with greater clarity and comprehension. Great books transport us to another plane of thought and open windows to new experiences. Yes, great books have a habit of doing that and more. The New York Review of Books is definitely a magazine well worth reading: it informs, educates and, most importantly, it makes us think critically and independently.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


PULITZER PRIZE-winner Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” first breathed life as an acclaimed short story in a 1997 issue of The New Yorker and was subsequently published as a novella in 1998. This story is also included in her second collection of stories, Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999). One of the most accomplished voices in contemporary American fiction, Proulx’s trademark pared-down style is especially obvious in this heartbreaking story, a “profanely poetic and beautiful elegy on doomed manhood.” Set against the craggy, desolate and wide-open spaces of Wyoming, Brokeback Mountain is considered one of her best stories. However, John Updike did not select this story—but “The Half-Skinned Steer”—for The Best American Short Stories of the Century (Houghton Mifflin, 1999).

PROULX E. Annie [1935-] Short-story writer, novelist. Born Edna Annie Proulx in Norwich, Connecticut, U.S. NOVELS That Old Ace in the Hole (2002); Accordion Crimes (1996: shortlisted for the 1997 Orange Prize for Fiction); The Shipping News (1993: winner of the 1994 National Book Award for Fiction, the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 1993 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction, and the 1993 Irish Times International Fiction Prize; shortlisted for the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction); Postcards (1992: winner of the 1993 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction) NOVELLA Brokeback Mountain (1997) STORIES Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2 (2004); Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999: winner of the 2000 Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction and the 2000 New Yorker Book Award for Best Fiction; shortlisted for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction); Heart Songs and Other Stories (1988) EDITED The Best American Short Stories (with Katrina Kenison) (1997)

Novels: The Shipping News (1993); Postcards (1992)
Stories: Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999)

Friday, December 09, 2005


FEAST YOUR EYES on a host of books by Tim Winton, one of Australia’s leading novelists.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


ALEXANDER MASTERS has beaten a strong field of writers to win the 2005 Guardian First Book Award for Stuart: A Life Backwards, his biography of a homeless man.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


IF YOU LOVE bookshops, the goings-on within and without a bookshop, and all the intricacies involved in bookselling, you will most probably enjoy Jeremy Mercer’s Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare & Co. (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, November 10, 2005), where he talks about the five months he spent living at Shakespeare and Co., Paris’s most famous English-language bookshop located across the river from Notre Dame in the 5th arrondissement of the City of Lights, the people he met there and his relationship with the shop’s cantankerous octogenarian owner, George Whitman. “Bookstores are sanctuaries. Places to lose yourself, escape the harsh demands of daily life, find new ways to dream and new sources of inspiration. I love all booksellers; anybody who helps spread the word is doing noble work. But my favourite bookstores are the small eccentric independents run by passionate and usually slightly mad book lovers,” Mercer says.

Here is what Mercer says about the legendarily chaotic Paris bookshop: “George Whitman has been running what he calls ‘a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore’ for 50 years. His store has long been a literary hub, attracting the likes of Henry Miller, Richard Wright, and William Burroughs. More importantly, George has been inviting people to live in his shop from its very first days. There are now 13 beds among the books, and he says that more than 40,000 people have slept there at one time or another. All he asks is that you make your bed in the morning, help out in the shop, and read a book a day. After living here for five months, I was inspired to write my own book about the place.”

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare & Co. is published in the U.S. as Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. (St. Martin’s Press, 2005).

Shakespeare and Co. is at 37 rue de la Bucherie, Paris, France

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


NOT exactly a fantastic year in Australian fiction, but there were a couple of nuggets among them.

March (Fourth Estate) / Geraldine Brooks
The Patron Saint of Eels / Gregory Day
Grace (Viking) / Robert Drewe
The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers (Picador) / Delia Falconer
The Secret River (Text) / Kate Grenville
Surrender (Viking) / Sonya Hartnett
The Ballad of Desmond Kale (Vintage) / Roger McDonald
Prochownik’s Dream (Allen & Unwin) / Alex Miller
The Marsh Birds (Allen & Unwin) / Eva Sallis
The Broken Shore (Text) / Peter Temple
Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living (Picador) / Carrie Tiffany
The Wing of Night (Viking) / Brenda Walker

Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev (Picador) / Robert Dessaix
The Meaning of Recognition: New Essays 2001-2005 (Picador) / Clive James

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Philip ROTH

One of my favourite authors

André Carrilho
The New York Times Book Review
December 4, 2005

Friday, December 02, 2005


THE following novels, a short-story collection and a collection of essays make ideal Christmas gifts. And for those who love collecting books, these books make excellent additions to the library, a treasure trove of endless wonders and delights. After all, books do make better gifts than fruitcake.

A Long Long Way (2005) / Sebastian Barry
This Blinding Absence of Light (French, 2001; English, 2003) / Tahar Ben Jelloun (trans. from the French by Linda Coverdale)
Heaven Lake (2004) / John Dalton
A House of Air (2005) / Penelope Fitzgerald
The Ghost Writer (2004) / John Harwood
Collected Poems (2003) / Ted Hughes
The Stories of David Leavitt (2005) / David Leavitt
Beyond Black (2005) / Hilary Mantel
The Razor’s Edge (1944) / W. Somerset Maugham
A Tale of Love and Darkness (Hebrew, 2003; English, 2004) / Amos Oz (trans. from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange)
My Michael (Hebrew, 1968; English, 1972) / Amos Oz (trans. from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange)
Snow (Turkish, 2002; English, 2004) / Orhan Pamuk (trans. from the Turkish by Maureen Freely)
Gilead (2004) / Marilynne Robinson
Shalimar the Clown (2005) / Salman Rushdie
The Kitchen God’s Wife (1991) / Amy Tan

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Kafka on the Shore (Alfred A. Knopf) / Haruki Murakami
On Beauty (Penguin) / Zadie Smith
Prep (Random House) / Curtis Sittenfeld
Saturday (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday) / Ian McEwan
Veronica (Pantheon Books) / Mary Gaitskill

The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) / George Packer
De Kooning: An American Master (Alfred A. Knopf) / Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
The Lost Painting (Random House) / Jonathan Harr
Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (Penguin) / Tony Judt
The Year of Magical Thinking (Alfred A. Knopf) / Joan Didion