Thursday, November 30, 2006

Some Fictional Débuts and First Novels of 2007

THE YEAR 2007 is chockful of exciting new writing talents. Here are a couple of fictional débuts and first novels we can look forward to with bated breath. Look out for them sometime in the first half of 2007.

1. A Golden Age (John Murray) / Tahmima Anam
2. FireWife (Nan A. Talese) / Tinling Choong
3. Bitter Sweets (Macmillan) / Roopa Farooki
4. The Welsh Girl (Sceptre) / Peter Ho Davies
5. The Peacock Throne (Sceptre) / Sujit Saraf
6. Resistance (Faber) / Owen Sheers
7. The Gift of Rain (Myrmidon) / Tan Twan Eng

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2006 Costa Awards for Literature

THE SHORTLISTS for the 2006 Costa Awards for Literature (formerly known as the Whitbread Awards) have been announced and they are as follows:

Best Novel
Restless (Bloomsbury) / William Boyd
Saving Caravaggio (Viking) / Neil Griffiths
A Spot of Bother (Jonathan Cape) / Mark Haddon
Black Swan Green (Sceptre) / David Mitchell

First Novel
The Meaning of Night (John Murray) / Michael Cox
Cloth Girl (Little, Brown) / Marilyn Heward Mills
The Tenderness of Wolves (Quercus) / Stef Penney
The Amnesia Clinic (Harvill Secker) / James Scudamore

George Mackay Brown: The Life (John Murray) / Maggie Fergusson
Donne: A Reformed Soul (Viking)/ John Stubbs
Nabeel’s Song (Sceptre) / Jo Tatchell
Keeping Mum (Atlantic Books) / Brian Thompson

The Book of Blood (Jonathan Cape) / Vicki Feaver
Letter to Patience (Seren) / John Haynes
District and Circle (Faber and Faber) / Seamus Heaney
Dear Room (Faber and Faber) / Hugo Williams

Children’s Book
Clay (Hodder Children’s Books) / David Almond
The Diamond of Drury Lane (Egmont Press) / Julia Golding
Just in Case (Puffin) / Meg Rosoff
Set in Stone (David Fickling Books) / Linda Newbery

The winner of each category will be announced on January 10, 2007. The overall winner of the £25,000 Book of the Year will be announced on February 7, 2007.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2006

The Lay of the Land (Alfred A. Knopf) / Richard Ford
The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel (Scribner) / Amy Hempel
The Emperor’s Children (Alfred A. Knopf) / Claire Messud
Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Viking) / Marisha Pessl
Absurdistan (Random House) / Gary Shteyngart

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War (Viking) / Nathaniel Philbrick
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (The Penguin Press) / Michael Pollan
The Places in Between (Harvest/Harcourt) / Rory Stewart
Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir (Henry Holt & Company) / Danielle Trussoni
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knppf) / Lawrence Wright

Monday, November 27, 2006


“Bread Soup: An Old Icelandic Recipe”
Bill Holm

Start with the square heavy loaf
steamed a whole day in a hot spring
until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
then soak the old loaf for a day
in warm water flavored
with raisins and lemon slices.
Boil it until it is thick as molasses.
Pour it in a flat white bowl.
Ladle a good dollop of whipped cream
to melt in its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal,
and the yeast and cream and rye
will sing inside you after eating
for a long time.

Reproduced from Playing the Black Piano
by Bill Holm (Milkweed Editions, 2004)

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Saturday, November 25, 2006


Friday, November 24, 2006


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bad Moon Rising

WE HAVE BEEN TOLD that we are all born evil. Evil is an innate element of our being. I am not amazed at the evil of men and the lengths people are willing to go to in the acquisition of money, material possessions, power, status, etc. and a society that constantly extols and glorifies such non-values. (We must, of course, not ignore the fact that amidst this evil that pervades our lives there are pockets of goodness too, all too rare though they are in this world of ours today.)

For those interested in the study of evil and its genesis, look out for renowned psychologist Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House, 2007), where he offers a disturbing and revelatory exploration of human nature and our capacity for evil. On the fiction front, there is Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Rising (William Heinemann, 2006) which goes back to the beginning of Hannibal Lecter’s life and attempts to explain the evolution of the evil in him. Norman Mailer’s new novel, The Castle in the Forest (2007), also looks at the subtle workings of human nature and the origins of Adolf Hitler’s evil.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My 30 Favourite Books of 2006

THESE are 30 of my favourite books of 2006. What’s on your list?

1. Half of a Yellow Sun / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2. The Law of Dreams / Peter Behrens
3. The Lay of the Land / Richard Ford
4. The Dream Life of Sukhanov / Olga Grushin
5. The Road / Cormac McCarthy
6. After This / Alice McDermott
7. So Many Ways to Begin / Jon McGregor
8. Be Near Me / Andrew O’Hagan
9. The Thirteenth Tale / Diane Setterfield
10. The Night Watch / Sarah Waters
11. Winterwood / Patrick McCabe

12. Moral Disorder and Other Stories / Margaret Atwood
13. All Aunt Hagar’s Children / Edward P. Jones
14. Matters of Life and Death / Bernard MacLaverty
15. The View from Castle Rock / Alice Munro
16. Mothers and Sons / Colm Tóibín

17. The Book of Blood / Vicki Feaver
18. Averno / Louise Glück
19. White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006 / Donald Hall
20. District and Circle / Seamus Heaney
21. After / Jane Hirschfield
22. Swithering / Robin Robertson

23. Flaubert: A Life / Frederick Brown
24. Running for the Hills / Horatio Clare
25. Seminary Boy / John Cornwell
26. The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857 / William Dalrymple
27. We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction / Joan Didion
28. In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India / Edward Luce
29. Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond / Pankaj Mishra
30. Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man / Claire Tomalin

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Half of a Yellow Sun / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Book of Chameleons (Arcadia Books) / José Eduardo Agualusa [trans. from the Portuguese, O Vendedor de Passados (2004), by Daniel Hahn]
A Sea Change / Michael Arditti
The Teahouse Fire / Ellis Avery
Thanksgiving Night / Richard Bausch
The Law of Dreams / Peter Behrens
The Ghost at the Table / Suzanne Berne
Theft / Peter Carey
Sacred Games / Vikram Chandra
The Meaning of Night / Michael Cox
Stone Cradle / Louise Doughty
The Bloodstone Papers / Glen Duncan
Gathering the Water / Robert Edric
The Lay of the Land / Richard Ford
Thirteen Moons / Charles Frazier
Intuition / Allegra Goodman
The Secret River / Kate Grenville
A Spot of Bother / Mark Haddon
When Madeline Was Young / Jane Hamilton
Amazing Disgrace / James Hamilton-Paterson
Imperium / Robert Harris
My Mother’s Lovers / Christopher Hope
Kalooki Nights / Howard Jacobson
This Time of Dying / Reina James
Gate of the Sun (trans. from the Arabic by Humphrey Davies) / Elias Khoury
The Other Side of the Bridge / Mary Lawson
The Inhabited World / David Long
Zoli / Colum McCann
The Road / Cormac McCarthy
After This / Alice McDermott
So Many Ways to Begin / Jon McGregor
Mother’s Boy / Stanley Middleton
Black Swan Green / David Mitchell
Suite Française / Irène Némirovsky
The Last of Her Kind / Sigrid Nunez
Black Girl White Girl / Joyce Carol Oates
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox / Maggie O’Farrell
Be Near Me / Andrew O’Hagan
The Light of Evening / Edna O’Brien
Special Topics in Calamity Physics / Marisha Pessl
The Echo Makers / Richard Powers
A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear (trans. from the Dari by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari) / Atiq Rahimi
Everyman / Philip Roth
Mother’s Milk / Edward St. Aubyn
Kept / D.J. Taylor
Digging to America / Anne Tyler
The Ruby in Her Navel / Barry Unsworth
The Other Side of You / Sally Vickers
The Night Watch / Sarah Waters
Winterwood / Patrick McCabe
A Woman in Jerusalem (trans. from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin) / A.B. Yehoshua

Moral Disorder and Other Stories / Margaret Atwood
Severance / Robert Olen Butler
Touchy Subjects / Emma Donoghue
Twilight of the Superheroes / Deborah Eisenberg
The Stories of Mary Gordon / Mary Gordon
All Aunt Hagar’s Children / Edward P. Jones
Matters of Life and Death / Bernard MacLaverty
Every Move You Make / David Malouf
The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories / Valerie Martin
The Collected Stories / John McGahern
Gallatin Canyon / Thomas McGuane
The View from Castle Rock / Alice Munro
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman / Haruki Murakami
Everybody Loves Somebody / Joanna Scott
Mothers and Sons / Colm Tóibín
Clouds and Eclipses: The Collected Short Stories / Gore Vidal

Best First Fiction
The Meaning of Night / Michael Cox
The Dream Life of Sukhanov / Olga Grushin
The Observations / Jane Harris
In the Country of Men / Hisham Matar
Creatures of the Earth: New and Selected Stories / John McGahern
The Last Town on Earth / Thomas Mullen
The Thirteenth Tale / Diane Setterfield
Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living / Carrie Tiffany
Fresh Apples (stories) / Rachel Tresize

Selected Poems / John Burnside
The Book of Blood / Vicki Feaver
Dear Ghosts, / Tess Gallagher
Averno / Louise Glück
White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006 / Donald Hall
District and Circle / Seamus Heaney
Without Title / Geoffrey Hill
After / Jane Hirschfield
The Silent Treatment / Richard Howard
Strong is Your Hold / Galway Kinnell
Curves and Angles / Brad Leithauser
Gethsemane / Dorothy Molloy
Waiting for the Night-Rowers / Roger Moulson
So What: New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005 (trans. from the Arabic by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin) / Taha Muhammad Ali
Horse Latitudes / Paul Muldoon
New and Collected Poems, 1964-2006 / Ishmael Reed
Swithering / Robin Robertson
My Noiseless Entourage / Charles Simic
Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems / W.D. Snodgrass
Man and Camel / Mark Strand
Cracks in the Universe / Charles Tomlinson
God’s Silence / Franz Wright

Let Me Finish / Roger Angell
The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire / Walter Benjamin
Flaubert: A Life / Frederick Brown
Running for the Hills / Horatio Clare
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 / Christopher Clark
Seminary Boy / John Cornwell
The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857 / William Dalrymple
We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction / Joan Didion
Creationists: Selected Essays, 1993-2006 / E.L. Doctorow
Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran / Jason Elliot
George Mackay Brown: The Life / Maggie Fergusson
Consuming Passions: Leisure and Pleasure in Victorian Britain / Judith Flanders
John Fowles: The Journal, Volume 2 (ed. Charles Drazin) / John Fowles
The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History / Jonathan Franzen
Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York / Adam Gopnik
Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of Our Times / Amitav Ghosh
William Empson: Volume II: Against the Christians / John Haffenden
Paris: The Secret History / Andrew Hussey
Ghost Train Through the Andes: On My Grandfather’s Trail in Chile and Bolivia (2006) / Michael Jacobs
North Face of Soho / Clive James
The Life of Kingsley Amis / Zachary Leader
In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India / Edward Luce
The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million / Daniel Mendelsohn
The Things That Matter: What Seven Classic Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life / Edward Mendelson
Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond / Pankaj Mishra
Nomad’s Hotel: Travels in Time and Space (trans. from the Dutch by Ann Kelland) / Cees Nooteboom
Uncensored: Views and (Re)Views / Joyce Carol Oates
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them / Francine Prose
Connemara: Listening to the Wind / Tim Robinson
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca / Tahir Shah
Casanova’s Women: The Great Seducer and the Women He Loved / Judith Summers
Cochineal Red: Travels Through Ancient Peru / Hugh Thomson
Shadow of the Silk Road / Colin Thubron
Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man / Claire Tomalin
Point to Point Navigation / Gore Vidal
Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 / Philip Waller
Betjeman / A.N. Wilson
Stranger in a Strange Land: Encounters in the Disunited States / Gary Younge

Monday, November 20, 2006


“The Birds”
Linda Pastan

The birds
are heading south, pulled
by a compass in the genes.
They are not fooled
by this odd November summer,
though we stand in our doorways
wearing cotton dresses.
We are watching them
as they swoop and gather—
the shadow of wings
falls over the heart.
When they rustle among
the empty branches, the trees
must think their lost leaves
have come back.
The birds are heading south,
instinct is the oldest story.
They fly over their doubles,
the mute weathervanes,
teaching all of us
with their tailfeathers
the true north.

Reproduced from The Imperfect Paradise
by Linda Pastan (W.W. Norton & Co., 1988)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ian FLEMING ... Casino Royale (1953)

DANIEL CRAIG, the new James Bond, doesn’t really give a damn whether his vodka martini is shaken or stirred. And that’s my kind of Bond hero. Good to know that the new Bond movie has gone back to basics without too much of the gimmickry and gadgetry that suffused the previous Bond movies. For once, less is more.

You somehow realise that you are growing old when 38-year-old Liverpudlian Daniel Craig is the first Bond who’s much younger than you. The last five Bonds, Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, were very much older than me by many years.

Of course, before Casino Royale the movie, there was Casino Royale (Penguin, 1953) the book, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel published in 1953, the beginning of a series of action-packed thrillers. Some consider it to be his best book. Casino Royale is not just pure escapism; surprisingly, its themes are quite contemporary despite the passage of over half a century.

I remember devouring my father’s tattered copy of the novel back in the early 1970s. I’m not sure where it is now. Lost in the mist of time, I guess. So I decided to get a copy of the new edition for old times’ sake. There’s an interesting introduction by Jeffery Deaver in the new edition.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


“In November”
Lisa Mueller

Outside the house the wind is howling
and the trees are creaking horribly.
This is an old story
with its old beginning,
as I lay me down to sleep.
But when I wake up, sunlight
has taken over the room.
You have already made the coffee
and the radio brings us music
from a confident age. In the paper
bad news is set in distant places.
Whatever was bound to happen
in my story did not happen.
But I know there are rules that cannot be broken.
Perhaps a name was changed.
A small mistake. Perhaps
a woman I do not know
is facing the day with the heavy heart
that, by all rights, should have been mine.

Reproduced from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems
by Lisel Mueller (Louisiana State University Press, 1996).

MUELLER Lisel [1924-] Poet. Born Lisel Neumann in Hamburg, Germany. Poetry Alive Together: New and Selected Poems (1996: winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry); Learning to Play by Ear (1990); Waving from Shore (1989); Second Language (1986); The Need to Hold Still (1980: winner of the 1981 National Book Award); Voices from the Forest (1977); The Private Life (1975); Dependencies (1965) Translation Marie Luise Kaschnitz’s Circe’s Mountain (1990)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Roald DAHL

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Melbourne Prize for Literature

HELEN GARNER has won the A$60,000 Melbourne Prize for Literature, Australia’s richest literary award, a prize awarded to a Victorian writer for a body of work that has made an outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life. Other Victorian writers on the shortlist include John Marsden, Alex Miller, Dorothy Porter and Hannie Rayson.

An additional A$30,000 best-writing prize for a piece of published work in any genre, of outstanding clarity, originality and creativity by an author 40 years or under was given to novelist Christos Tsiolkas for his novel Dead Europe, which had won the 2006 Age Book of the Year Award.

GARNER Helen [1942-] Novelist, short-story writer. Born in Geelong, South Australia, Australia. Novels Cosmo Cosmolino (1992: shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award 1993); The Children’s Bach (1984: winner of the 1986 South Australia Premier’s Literary Award); Moving Out (1983); Monkey Grip (1977: winner of the 1978 National Book Council Award) Stories My Hard Heart: Selected Fictions (1998); Postcards from Surfers (1985: winner of the 1986 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award); Honor and Other People’s Children: Two Stories (1980) Nonfiction Joe Cinque’s Consolation: True Story of Death, Grief and the Law (2004); The Feel of Steel (2001); True Stories: Selected Non-Fiction (1996); The First Stone: Some Questions about Sex and Power (1995); La Mama, the Story of a Theatre (1988)

TSIOLKAS Christos [1965-] Novelist. Born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Novels Dead Europe (2005: winner of the 2006 Age Book of the Year Award; shortlisted for the 2006 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award/Christina Stead Prize for Fiction); The Jesus Man (1999); Loaded (1995) Nonfiction The Devil’s Playground (2002)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

2006 National Book Awards

RICHARD POWER’s The Echo Maker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006), the story of a young man who develops a rare brain disorder after an automobile accident in Nebraska, has won the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction while Seattle-based New York Times reporter Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), a fascinating account of the dust storms that ravaged the Great Plains during the Depression, won for Nonfiction.

Nathaniel Mackey received the award for Poetry for Splay Anthem (New Directions Publishing, 2006). The award for Young People’s Literature went to M.T. Anderson for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party (Candlewick Press, 2006).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


YOU CAN NEVER have too many books. These are just some of the thumping good reads we can look forward to in 2007.

The Virgin of Flames / Chris Abani
Goodbye Lucille / Segun Afolabi
The Yacoubian Building / Alaa al Aswany
Lost City Radio / Daniel Alarcón
Darkmans / Nicola Barker
Matters of Honor / Louis Begley
The Father of All Things / Tom Bissell
The Communist’s Daughter / Dennis Bock
The Double Bind / Chris Bohjalian
Self Storage / Gayle Brandeis
The Rope Walk / Carrie Brown
The Devil’s Footprints / John Burnside
The Song Before It Is Sung / Justin Cartwright
Burning Bright / Tracy Chevalier
The Nature of Monsters / Clare Clark
Brother Fish / Bryce Courtenay
The Pesthouse / Jim Crace
The Eyrie / Stevie Davies
Falling Man / Don DeLillo
The Pleasure Seekers / Tishani Doshi
The Gathering / Anne Enright
The Color of a Dog Running Away / Richard Gwyn
A Free Life / Ha Jin
Engelby / Sebastian Faulks
Oystercatchers / Susan Fletcher
World Without End / Ken Follett
Over / Margaret Forster
Runt / Niall Griffiths
Measuring Time / Helon Habila
A Thousand Splendid Suns / Khaled Hosseini
The Reluctant Fundamentalist / Mohsin Hamid
North River / Pete Hamill
The Lollipop Shoes / Joanne Harris
Skylight Confessions / Alice Hoffman
Fireproof / Raj Kamal Jha
The Birthday Party / Panos Karnezis
Sure and Steadfast / James Kelman
The Widow and Her Hero / Thomas Keneally
The Woman in the Fifth / Douglas Kennedy
Glover’s Mistake / Nick Laird
You Don’t Love Me Yet / Jonathan Lethem
Two Caravans / Marina Lewycka
The Devil’s Company / David Liss
Hospital / Toby Litt
The Castle in the Forest / Norman Mailer
Imposture / Benjamin Markovits
A Far Country / Daniel Mason
On Chesil Beach / Ian McEwan
Traveler / Ron McLarty
When the Light Goes / Larry McMurtry
When We Were Bad / Charlotte Mendelson
Landscape of Farewell / Alex Miller
South of the River / Blake Morrison
Mercy / Toni Morrison
The Condor’s Head / Ferdinand Mount
The Gravedigger’s Daughter / Joyce Carol Oates
Starbook / Ben Okri
Divisadero / Michael Ondaatje
The Museum of Innocence / Orhan Pamuk
Anderson Depot / Jay Parini
The Sun Over Breda / Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Consolation / Michael Redhill
Exit Ghost / Philip Roth
Angelica / Arthur Phillips
The New Yorkers / Cathleen Schine
Afterwards / Rachel Seiffert
The Bastard of Istanbul / Elif Shafak
Resistance / Owen Sheers
The Post-Birthday World / Lionel Shriver
The Visible World / Mark Slouka
Ten Days in the Hills / Jane Smiley
China Dreams / Sid Smith
By George / Wesley Stace
Untitled / Thomas Steinbeck
Tomorrow / Graham Swift
Red River / Lalita Tademy
The Amnesiac / Sam Taylor
The Cold World / Paul Theroux
Death of a Murderer / Rupert Thomson
Between Each Breath / Adam Thorpe
The Road Home / Rose Tremain
If Today Be Sweet / Thrity Umrigar
Seizure / Erica Wagner
A Curious Earth / Gerard Woodward

First Fiction
A Golden Age / Tahmima Anam
FireWife: A Story of Fire and Water / Tinling Choong
Still Water Saints / Alex Espinoza
Bitter Sweets / Roopa Farooki
According to Ruth / Jane Feaver
The Welsh Girl / Peter Ho Davies
Wintering / Derek Johns
The Peacock Throne / Sujit Saraf
The Gift of Rain / Tan Twan Eng

Missing Kissinger / Etgar Keret
The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense / Joyce Carol Oates
No Rest for the Middleman / Edward Schwarzschild
The Almost Moon / Alice Sebold
I Think of You /Ahdaf Soueif

The Door / Margaret Atwood
Collected Poems / W.H. Auden (ed. Edward Mendelson)
Domestic Violence / Eavan Boland
Gift Songs / John Burnside
Chinese Apples: New and Selected Poems / W.S. Di Piero
Waterlight: Selected Poems / Kathleen Jamie
Typewriter Music / David Malouf
Collected Poems / Louis McNiece (ed. Peter McDonald)
A Book of Lives / Edwin Morgan
Poems: New and Selected (1965-2006) / David Shapiro
Captivity / Laurie Sheck
Birds with a Broken Wing / Adam Thorpe
Selected Poems / Derek Walcott (ed. Edward Baugh)

Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey / James Attlee
Toussaint Louverture / Madison Smartt Bell
Dog Years / Mark Doty
India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy / Ramachandra Guha
The Mistress’s Daughter / A.M. Homes
Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts / Clive James
Family Romance / John Lanchester
Spain in Mind / Alice Leccese Powers (ed.)
Edith Wharton / Hermione Lee
Room for Doubt / Wendy Lesser
The River Queen / Mary Morris
This Year You Write Your Novel / Walter Mosley
In My Father’s House / Miranda Seymour
Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties / Robert Stone

Monday, November 13, 2006

2005 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize

FICTION RULES again in the shortlist for the 2005 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for works of literature by a United Kingdom or Commonwealth writer aged 35 or under. Among the shortlisted titles, there are four novels, a collection of short stories and a collection of poetry. All are début works except for Rebbecca Ray’s who has written a second novel, Newfoundland, a gigantic tome of a novel.

The Shortlist
Tokyo Cancelled (stories) (Fourth Estate, 2005) / Rana Dasgupta
The Short Day Dying (novel) (Faber, 2005) / Peter Hobbs
Beasts of No Nation (novel) (John Murray, 2005) / Uzodinma Iweala
The State of the Prisons (poetry) (Carcanet, 2005) / Sinéad Morrissey
Newfoundland (novel) (Hamish Hamilton, 2005) / Rebbecca Ray
Gem Squash Tokoloshe (novel) (Macmillan, 2005) / Rachel Zadok

The winner will be announced on December 6, 2006

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Reading List

1. Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchid (1998) / Kiran Desai
2. Thirteen Moons (2006) / Charles Frazier
3. Dark Places (1994) / Kate Grenville
4. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2005) / Yiyun Li
5. Heir to the Glimmering World (2004) / Cynthia Ozick
6. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer [trans. from the German, Das Parfum (1985), by John E. Woods) (1986) / Patrick Süskind

1. A Winter Book: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson [(trans. from the Swedish by Silvester Mazzarella, David McDuff and Kingsley Hart)] (2006) / Tove Jansson
2. Varieties of Exile (2003) / Mavis Gallant
3. Paris Stories (2002) / Mavis Gallant
4. The Blue (2006) / Maggie Gee
5. Either Side of Winter (2005) / Benjamin Markovits
6. Good Women (2005) / Jane Stevenson
7. Mothers and Sons (2006) / Colm Tóibín

1. We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (2006) / Joan Didion
2. Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents (2006) / Robert Irwin
3. The God Delusion (2006) / Richard Dawkins
4. How Novels Work / John Mullan
5. Orientalism (1978) / Edward W. Said

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Literary Magazines

1. The Atlantic Monthly
2. Australian Book Review
3. The Believer
4. Book Forum
5. Boston Review
6. Granta
7. Jewish Quarterly
8. Literary Review
9. The London Review of Books
10. The New Republic
11. The New York Review of Books
12. The New Yorker
13. Oxford American
14. The Paris Review
15. Quadrant
16. The Times Literary Supplement