Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Where the Girls Went: Three Novels

Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and, most recently, The Widow: girls make for good pageturners.

But Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Fiona Barton are looking to tell different kinds of stories about girls.

In a BookPage interview, Gillian Flynn tries to explain why Gone Girl captured “the popular imagination so thoroughly”.

“It’s perhaps […]

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Anjali Pathak’s The Indian Family Kitchen (2016)

Beyond its traditional and tasteful cover, Anjali Pathak’s cookbook is a bit of a mess…in a good way.

Appetite – Penguin Random House

True: I love the stylish photographs that often appear in cookbooks, with the serving ware colourful and bold and the table linens complementary and coordinated.

But, also true: this kind of food […]

Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl (2005)

Jessamy is eight years old. When readers meet her, she is in a closet.

She doesn’t mind readers knowing, but she is hesitant to admit it to her mother, who has believed her to be outside.

This is but the tip of the iceberg which comprises Jessamy’s interior truth, and The Icarus Girl is preoccupied […]

Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance (2015)

A romance can pull me through even a long classic which isn’t holding my attention otherwise. This is what got me through Vanity Fair.

And of all the chunksters on my shelves, I might stall in some, but I sailed through Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale (even though the romance is largely confined to the first quarter of […]

April 2016, In My Bookbag (Yoga)

What are you carting to-and-fro these days? Are you slipping something skinny into your bag?

Or has something big and bulky so claimed your reader’s affections that you are content to lug it around?

I tell myself that I would have a yoga practice already, if only I lived next to the ocean

I’ve been […]

April 2016, In My Notebook

What series are you serious about these days? There are five volumes from five different series in my current stack: Angela Thirkell’s The Demon in the House, Kelley Armstrong’s Personal Demon, Sue Grafton’s B is for Burglar, L. Frank Baum’s Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz and Madeleine L’Engle’s Many Waters.

I’ve been gathering Angela […]

April 2016, In My Reading Log (Books on writing and Jhumpa Lahiri)

Much of my reading this year has been preoccupied with writing. I’ve been reading about how Laura Ingalls Wilder’s notebooks and autobiographical writing worked their way into fiction for young readers (Pioneer Girl). Robin Robertson edited Mortification, in which writers discuss work-related embarrassments, often unfolding as they were travelling for readings and public events. Even Angela Thirkell’s novel […]

April 2016, In My Stacks

Having read through the first quarter of the reading year, how are your stacks?

Reading projects

Is the bedside stack turning over regularly? Are you struggling to stick with projects that you were sure would fit perfectly into 2016?

Four books in this stack are from various TBR lists, some because they are older works by favourite […]

On the page, on the screen

Back in the days when you taped movies onto video cassettes, I was recording “Anna Karenina” to watch another time, when I turned on the television — thinking the film was over and the credits would be running past — and I could not unsee the last few seconds of the story on the screen.

I hadn’t […]

Sky Lee’s Disappearing Moon Café (1990)

“Do you remember, Big Sister, all those good times? In Cousin Chan’s abandoned house right in the middle of our neighbourhood, a dozen or so girls lying together, cooking together, working the fields, laughing and gissipping the entire day.”

The excerpt from this letter, from Fong Mei in March 1919, in her report […]