Podcast: Reading for our times—Reading around the world

Some years ago, a friend and fellow bookworm, Kristine Goulding, suggested on this blog that we read a book from every country in the world. And so the reading challenge was born, with only one rule: the writer has to be from the country. We've taken our time over it, but we are now up …

Continue reading Podcast: Reading for our times—Reading around the world

Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling—Philip Pullman

“[T]he image of the reader is solitary. We are each alone when we enter the borderland and go on to explore what lies in it and beyond it, in the book we’re engaged with. True, we can come back and and talk about it, and if we talk well and truthfully and interestingly enough we …

Continue reading Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling—Philip Pullman

Are book reviews important?

Given the content of this blog, it's pretty clear where I stand on this. But there are writers who question the point of a book review and can be scathing about reviewers. In this article in The New Statesman, Chris Power defends the point of the review. "Reviews don’t matter. 'I never really trust reviews,' …

Continue reading Are book reviews important?

Recognizing the Talent of the Translator: The Subtle Art of Translating

From time to time, this blog showcases books in translation to tempt readers to explore writing from countries that do not always make it to the bestseller lists. But we often overlook the work of the translator, who has not only to be fluent in two languages but has to be able to write. The …

Continue reading Recognizing the Talent of the Translator: The Subtle Art of Translating

Saying goodbye to an iconic bookshop: Imran Ali Khan

The Strand Book Stall in Mumbai has been an icon for readers. Books of all sorts piled everywhere, where readers were encouraged to browse and get into conversations with like-minded people. It was one of my favourite places: a trip to Bombay (as it was called then) was incomplete unless I had been to Strand. …

Continue reading Saying goodbye to an iconic bookshop: Imran Ali Khan

Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey—Elena Ferrante

Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein How much do you need to know about the writer to be able to enjoy their books? Nothing at all, according to Elena Ferrante, author of the Nepolitan Quartet and other books. She writes under a pseudonym and refuses to reveal her identity, insisting that her books can speak …

Continue reading Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey—Elena Ferrante

West African Books with Unconventional Approaches to Gender and Power (from Electric Lit)

One of the things this blog tries to do is to highlight books from outside the usual UK-US cannon. We live in a rich, varied world, and as readers, we are ideally placed to explore this richness through books. This is what lay behind the reading challenge that some of us set ourselves. From time …

Continue reading West African Books with Unconventional Approaches to Gender and Power (from Electric Lit)

I’m Indian. Can I Write Black Characters? Thrity Umrigar in the New York Times

https://nyti.ms/2y1K8lS How do you get under the skin of someone else? Thrity Umrigar, an Indian-American writer, talks about the expectations that come with the hyphenated identity: write about what you know, that is, Indians. But that is the point of fiction, surely? That a writer can get inside the head of any character they create, …

Continue reading I’m Indian. Can I Write Black Characters? Thrity Umrigar in the New York Times