Tuesday, 7 August 2012

I've been reading these books in the last few weeks. Olympics on the TV then picking up a good book has been a relaxing time. One book that I could not put down was the Man Lit Prize winner 2011, 'Please Look After Mom'.  I would urge everyone to read it. Prize winning books sometimes do not necessarily make a good read. This one excels in every way. A moving book set in South Korea with a seemingly simple theme of a mother going missing and the family fall out that follows is described beautifully in this book. Kyung-Sook Shin has excelled in writing what is culture specific and yet universal. Sentences like 'Mother is kitchen, kitchen is mother' evokes all kinds of emotion in the reader.

Jamil Ahmad's 'Wandering Falcon' is a book worth reading to get a glimpse of the North West  Frontier that borders Afghanistan and Pakistan. The tribal culture and its mores are explained well. A short novella of just 180 pages.

I also read Anjali Joseph's 'Another Country' as I was hoping to see her at the Edbookfest. I was a bit disappointed with her second novel. The protagonist is my name sake, Leela, a young girl in her twenties who goes through a series of unhappy relationships in Paris, London and Bombay. There was a disconnect in the whole book and I felt no empathy or interest in the main character.

I'm now reading the last one 'Dream of Ding Village' set in China, it is  a harrowing tale of Ding Villagers who are persuaded to sell their blood and the dreadful blight of Aids/HIV that is caused by dirty needles. The methods used to get the villagers to part with their blood for money by unscrupulous men  and the consequences of the epidemic is portrayed in detail. The book is banned in China.

August of course is the month for Book Festivals all over the land. The biggest Edinburgh International Book Festival has started already in the fringe, the dates of the festival are 11th- 27th and as always a great line up. I hope to go there at least for a day.

Not long to go for the Milngavie Festival too September 4th-8th if you want to mark it in your diary.
Enjoy what is left of summer.

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