WHAT I AM READING
I HAVE JUST COMPLETED READING Ken Follett’s doorstopper of a novel set in Kingsbridge, England, in the 14th century, World Without End—a rather enjoyable read, and a consistently gripping sequel to his other doorstopper, The Pillars of the Earth. History comes alive in the skilled hands of a great storyteller. I bought it when it first came out in paperback years ago, but only now thought of reading it. All the more I am looking forward to his new historical epic, Fall of Giants, a story which promises to be grand in sweep and told in his trademark inimitable style.
I have just started on The Collected Stories of Richard Yates (there is a wonderful and moving introduction to Yates’s literary landscape by one of my favourite American authors, Richard Russo) and can’t wait to go on to Hanif Kureishi’s Collected Stories. There are eight new stories in this voluminous collection, quite a worthwhile bargain if you do not have any of Kureishi’s previous collections.
I also have on my table Helen Garner’s The Spare Room, Deborah Forster’s The Book of Emmett and Murray Bail’s Eucalyptus and The Pages for some Australian flavours. Also a collection of stories and a novel by Tim Gautreaux, Waiting for the Evening News: Stories of the Deep South and The Missing, Ian McEwan’s Solar, Sarah Hall’s How to Paint a Dead Man, J.G. Farrell’s Lost Booker Prize-winning Troubles, Michael Chabon’s Maps & Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands, Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, Shamini Flint’s third and latest Inspector Singh Investigates: The Singapore School of Villainy, Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault, Sarah Dunant’s Sacred Hearts, Philipp Meyer’s American Rust, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Fifth Book of Peace and The Woman Warrior, Christopher Nicholson’s The Elephant Keeper, M.J. Hyland’s This Is How, Graham Swift’s Making an Elephant, Shandi Mitchell’s Under This Unbroken Sky, Mary Yukari Waters’s The Favourites, Geoff Dyer’s Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room, Adam Foulds’s The Quickening Maze, Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers, Richard Zimler’s The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and Anne Berry’s The Hungry Ghosts.
The Raj Quintet
I have always had a predilection for stories set during the dying days of British India, documenting the chaos and turmoil of those times. I therefore had to read Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence and A Division of the Spoils, all published between 1966 and 1975. And, of course, Staying On, the ‘fifth’ part of the series, a sort of coda, and Scott’s last book, published in 1977. Staying On of course went on to win the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1978, the year Scott passed away. (Perhaps the publishers should start marketing these five books as a quintet, rather than as a quartet!)
In between these books I will be continuing my journey through Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark’s ouvre of mystery and suspense novels that explore contemporary social issues. There is also a début crime novel that looks rather inviting to me, Belinda Bauer’s Blacklands.
These should be more than enough to keep me occupied for the next two months or so.