Tag: novels

What I’ve been reading…

I often get emails from friends asking what I have been reading lately, and there is nothing I love more than discussing books and how people felt about them. It doesn’t need to be an in depth literary analysis, deciding who would be the biggest babe of all the characters is just fine by me!

So here we have what I have read since I last posted about reading. Besides from my beautiful new copy of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries…

I just finished NW by Zadie Smith this morning. I enjoyed it, but not as much as her last two, On Beauty is such a great novel. I really enjoyed The Flame Thrower by Rachel Kushner but want to find someone to discuss the ending with. It was one of those ones where you turn the page and are surprised it is over. Goodbye Sarajevo is written by two sisters Hana Schofield and Atka Reid who escaped from the Bosnian war and came to New Zealand as refugees. It made me realise how little I know about the conflict, despite having been to the countries effected while backpacking round Europe. I also got on a San Francisco buzz and read The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, a novel spanning generations of Chinese immigrants to the city. And a more contemporary take on the city, society and the impact of technology on our interactions, David Egger’s The Circle. To top this off, I have just finished the manuscript of a friend’s first book, very exciting!

Any recommendations of what to read next?

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The Danger of a Single Story

Last year I taught Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s debut novel Purple Hibiscus to my Year 12 English class. This was initially met with resistance. There were words in Igbo, they didn’t understand what they meant, it didn’t have a sequel, it wasn’t set in a dystopian wasteland, I hadn’t taught a lot of them before and they wanted to push my limits. I asked them how many had read a book that wasn’t written by a white person before. I was met with shocked and silent stares, and only a couple of students put up their hands. I tried to explain the importance of reading a whole range of authors, of genres, of stories. It is in doing this we can move beyond a chiched understanding of the world, and begin to understand what is is really like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I decided I was not doing this idea justice. Who am I, a white middle classed woman, to tell a class of Samoan, Tongan, Maori, Croatian, Indian and Pakeha students this? So we watched this. It is amazing.

So when my friend Grace asked me if I wanted to go and see Adichie in conversation with David Eggers, I almost melted with excitement. I get to see her talk for real! I will let you know how she is. Amazing, no doubt.

If you want to read anything by her, she has written Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah. And yes, she is the one that is sampled on that Beyonce song.

Enjoy.