Thursday, January 26, 2006


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 Bellowss 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.


Blogger Jacobo said...

I received The Accidental as a Christmas gift together with On Beauty, by Zadie Smith; You have to be careful in the land of the free, by James Kelman and Botho Strauss's last novel. I will start with The Accidental as soon as I finish Iris Murdoch's The Unicorn. By the way, Have you read On Beauty? The criticism I've read are either very good or very bad.

Friday, January 27, 2006 5:20:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

I thought Zadie Smith's On Beauty was excellent. I enjoyed her maturity of style, especially for someone as young as her tackling such mature issues.

Friday, January 27, 2006 7:01:00 AM  
Blogger Jacobo said...

I see. I read some time ago White Teeth, and I must confess I found it just OK. I haven't read Autograph Man though. When I finish On Beauty I'll let you know my opinion.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 3:35:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Great! I look forward to what you have to say about On Beauty. Happy reading!

Saturday, January 28, 2006 3:37:00 PM  

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