Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Visit to the Bookshop

TODAY I BOUGHT a couple of great paperbacks at the bookshop. There was Edward P. Jones’s All Aunt Hagar’s Children (2006), Ian McEwan’s The Cement Garden (1978), Camilla Gibb’s Sweetness in the Belly (2005), Stef Penney’s The Tenderness of Wolves (2006), Tinling Choong’s FireWife (2007), Tahir Shah’s The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca (2006), Tahar Ben Jelloun’s The Last Friend (2006), Edward Hirsch’s Poet’s Choice (2006) and, of course, Tan Twan Eng’s much-anticipated début novel, The Gift of Rain (Myrmidon, 2007), a literary feast of a novel set in the tropical climes of Penang island during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya told with much lyricism, meditativeness and assuredness of touch. The Gift of Rain is a well-realised piece of fiction that all Malaysians will be proud of.

London-born Canadian novelist Camilla Gibb’s three titles are all available at the bookstore. Grab a copy or two (or, better still, all three) and get them signed when she makes an appearance sometime at the end of March at the bookstores in Kuala Lumpur and at the 2007 Kuala Lumpur International Literary Festival. Sweetness in the Belly is her latest: the story of an English-born nurse who, after the passing of her hippie parents in North Africa, is raised as a Muslim by a Moroccan Sufi scholar. The San Francisco Chronicle thinks it’s an engrossing read, utterly convincing and authentic. Her two previous novels, Mouthing the Words (1999) and The Petty Details of So-and-so’s Life (2002), are not too bad either.

Harper Perennial’s Stranger Than ... series of nonfiction titles from Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes to Alexander Masters’s Stuart: A Life Backwards (2005) look very tempting indeed with their unique covers. Bloomsbury’s 21 Great Reads for the 21st Century from Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eyes (1989) to Joanna Trollope’s Marrying the Mistress (2000) look very titillating with their beautiful covers and won’t look out of place in the library or on your desk. The wonderful thing is, there’s an interesting mix of fiction, nonfiction and children’s titles among them.


1. Cat’s Eye / Margaret Atwood
2. The Promise of Happiness / Justin Cartwright
3. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell / Susanna Clarke
4. A Gathering Light / Jennifer Donnelly
5. Middlesex / Jeffrey Eugenides
6. Snow Falling on Cedars / David Guterson
7. The Kite Runner / Khaled Hosseini
8. A Prayer for Owen Meany / John Irving
9. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things / Jon McGregor
10. Fugitive Pieces / Anne Michaels
11. The English Patient / Michael Ondaatje
12. The Map of Love / Ahdaf Soueif
13. The Little Friend / Donna Tartt
14. Frankie and Stankie / Barbara Trapido
15. Marrying the Mistress / Joanna Trollope

16. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls / Peter Biskind
17. Kitchen Confidential / Anthony Bourdain
18. The Two of Us / Sheila Hancock

19. Witch Child / Celia Rees
20. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone / J.K. Rowling
21. Holes / Louis Sachar


Blogger sympozium said...

That's quite a haul!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Kenny Mah said...


I fear I may be missing the KLILF due to work. O if only they are holding it during the weekends! :(

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 1:45:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Sympozium - Not bad a haul really. A number of gems among them. I am very happy with the catch.

Kenny - What a shame! Don't fret; you may catch some of the writers at the bookshops during the weekends.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 4:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kenny Mah said...

I forgot about that --- cool, will haunt the bookshops during the KLILF weekend then! ;)

Thursday, March 15, 2007 2:43:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Camilla Gibb will be making an appearance at Kinokuniya @ KLCC 7.30pm on 30 March 2007 (Friday) and at MPH MidValley Megamall 2-3pm on 1 April 2007 (Sunday).

Thursday, March 15, 2007 5:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Eliza said...

HI Eric..Reading Lolita in Tehran is part of the Stranger Than...collection too. I am reading it now, but it's not a Bloomsbury Great Read perhaps.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 3:27:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Yes - Reading Lolita in Tehran is a wonderful book too. And yes - it is part of the Stranger Than ... series of nonfiction books. Quite a number of very good books there.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 4:19:00 AM  

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