WHAT I BOUGHT TODAY ...
BOUGHT several books this week at the best bookshop in Kuala Lumpur. Couldn’t help it, really. There’s no fighting this addiction, this terrible malady, of mine. After all, there were so many good books jostling for my good graces. It wasn’t too difficult to decide. After all, quality wins hands down ... every time.
Frames (2001) / John Banville
A trilogy comprising The Book of Evidence (1989); Ghosts (1993); and Athena (1995).
Collected Stories (2001) / Saul Bellow
A collector’s item. Most of Bellows’s best stories are here.
Queen of Dreams (2004) / Chitra Divakaruni
A pre-September 11, 2001, novel about the lives of a Bengali immigrant family in California.
The Remains of the Day (1989) / Kazuo Ishiguro
I bought it for the beautiful cover. And images of Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in the shadows of Darlington Hall. A great gift for those who have yet to read this Booker Prize-winning novel.
Runaway (2004) / Alice Munro
Possibly Munro’s best collection of stories. Possibly among the best short-story writers in the world. More people should read her.
Gilead (2004) / Marilynne Robinson
Robinson’s long-awaited second novel, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (Gilead is also the winner of the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2004 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction.) An elegiac and spiritual meditation between John Ames, an elderly, dying preacher, and the son he will never see grow up, in the dry, dusty prairie town of Gilead, Iowa, “a dogged little outpost in the sand hills, within striking distance of Kansas.” Her début novel, Housekeeping (1980), a haunting, poetic evocation of existential solitude set against the backdrop of rural Idaho in the mid-1900s, is regarded by many as a modern American classic. With Gilead, which has been called “a masterly study of the dying of the light,” Robinson has produced another modern American classic.
The Accidental (2005) / Ali Smith
Possibly Smith’s best novel. Bought it as a gift. A real bargain at Kinokuniya. Winner of the 2005 Whitbread Award for the Novel, Smith’s new novel offers a penetrating insight into the cruel mechanics of contemporary family life amidst a huge dollop of black humour.