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Have You Read These Books?

By 15/11/2012writing

I talk often about reading, and books, because that’s all I do, read books and work obsessively, painfully, undauntedly, on writing one. (Hah. Feels good to let go of a few adverbs, the sort of words I’ve been keeping from stinking up my WIP all day.)

Since I’m a geek, and would want nothing better than for everyone to start reading one book a day (will make for a better world, I promise you, if everyone read, or had the luxury to read, at least one book a week).

I’ll share a few lines from books I’m reading now. (Why? Because this is my blog and I feel like talking about books, that’s why!)

By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham

By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham

“And yet, of course, Peter is mesmerized by the ruined car and the horse’s body. Isn’t this the bitter pleasure of New York city? It’s a mess, like Courbet’s Paris was. It’s squalid and smelly; it’s harmful. It stinks of mortality.” ~ By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham

(This book skipped my TBR queue, cos it is a copy signed by the author. Does that make me a stinky little snob? Probably. In my defense, the book is lighter than my Kindle, and doesn’t make my handbag weigh like Sissyphus’ stone. So there.)

Singapore Decalogue, Zafar Anjum

Singapore Decalogue, Zafar Anjum

“A lot of Indians in the office?”

“Not a lot. maybe a dozen or so. There are lots of Singaporeans and a few Filipinas though.” A pause. ” Have you ever slept with a Filipina? Some of them are very pretty.”

“No, I’ve never slept with anyone.” ~ The Singapore Decalogue, Zafar Anjum

(This is a collection based on the city-state I live in, written by an author- friend, and I’m thrilled for him. All the best, Zafar!)

Jamrach's Menagerie, Carol Birch

Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch

I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.” ~ Jamrach’s Menagerie, by Carol Birch

(This is the 4th of the 14 books sent to me by Random House India to review on this blog. The first review appeared here. Time for me to speed up on posting the other reviews instead of languishing in my couch, buried up to my eyebrows in books!)


Have you read any of these books? Did you like them? Any other book you’d recommend?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Ganesh Raam says:

    I had been reading ‘Conversations With Mani Ratnam’ for the last couple of days and its been brilliant! Very good stuff! And BTW, your suggestions are pretty good 🙂

  • RAMU DAS says:

    “Reading one book a day” that, I believe, would be a daunting task. But, one book a week seems fine.

    Nope, I haven’t read any of the book you have mentioned here. But would love to.
    I’ve been reading the works of R.K. Narayan, A very famous Indian writer. Recently, I’ve read a book called “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” by Moshin Hamid, and I immensely enjoyed reading it, I suggest you pick it up. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the book as much as I did.

  • manjishtha says:

    The phrase “bitter pleasure” has intrigued me. I am definitely getting a copy of ‘By Nightfall’. Lovely post.

    • Damyanti says:

      This guy kept me turning the pages purely on the strength of his descriptions. I loved The Hours, and By Nightfall did not disappoint.

  • feltenk says:

    I’m intrigued by all of them now. My problem is that I love to read to the point I ignore my own writing! 🙂

  • Amazing to be able to read that quickly and connect with the author’s thoughts. I can only read very slowly whatever it is. But my hubby reads to me every day, nearly a book a week depending on length. Nothing esoteric though, just novels. Well done you!

    • Damyanti says:

      Gladys, there are some books I read slowly, others move faster. I even give up on some. It is a mixed bag. I wish I had someone read to me — much better than audiobooks, imho.

  • roamingelk says:

    I haven’t read any of those, but I’m intrigued.

    Recently, I read Joseph O’Neill’s “Netherland”, which I’ve been recommending everywhere I get a chance. Maybe not for everyone, the narrator is somewhat unlikeable and nihilistic, but it’s chock-full of stunning prose and exquisite descriptions of loneliness and the struggle to connect.

    • Damyanti says:

      That’s one of the things I’m struggling with — about stunning prose vs stunning story + prose. Am reading the “A Reader’s Manifesto” by B.R. Myers and am a tad confused.