Tag: Literature

Queen Elizabeth – Big Jubilee Read – 70 Years Of Commonwealth Literature

A collection spanning six continents
To mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, The Reading Agency have compiled a list of seventy novels, short story anthologies and poetry collections published in the Commonwealth since 1952.

An expert panel of librarians, booksellers and literature specialists has chosen seventy titles from a “readers’ choice” longlist with ten books for each decade of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign.


The Palm-Wine Drinkard – Amos Tutuola (1952, Nigeria)
The Hills Were Joyful Together – Roger Mais (1953, Jamaica)
In the Castle of My Skin – George Lamming (1953, Barbados)
My Bones and My Flute – Edgar Mittelholzer (1955, Guyana)
The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon (1956, Trinidad and Tobago/England)
The Guide – RK Narayan (1958, India)
To Sir, With Love – ER Braithwaite (1959, Guyana)
One Moonlit Night – Caradog Prichard (1961, Wales)
A House for Mr Biswas – VS Naipaul (1961, Trinidad and Tobago/England
Sunlight on a Broken Column – Attia Hosain (1961, India)

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (1962, England)
The Interrogation – JMG Le Clézio (1963, France/Mauritius)
The Girls of Slender Means – Muriel Spark (1963, Scotland)
Arrow of God – Chinua Achebe (1964, Nigeria)
Death of a Naturalist – Seamus Heaney (1966, Northern Ireland)
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys (1966, Dominica/Wales)
A Grain of Wheat – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1967, Kenya)
Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay (1967, Australia)
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah (1968, Ghana)
When Rain Clouds Gather – Bessie Head (1968, Botswana/South Africa)

The Nowhere Man – Kamala Markandaya (1972, India)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carré (1974, England)
The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough (1977, Australia)
The Crow Eaters – Bapsi Sidhwa (1978, Pakistan)
The Sea, The Sea – Iris Murdoch (1978, England)
Who Do You think You Are? – Alice Munro (1978, Canada)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (1979, England)
Tsotsi – Athol Fugard (1980, South Africa)
Clear Light of Day – Anita Desai (1980, India)
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (1981, England/India)

Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally (1982, Australia)
Beka Lamb – Zee Edgell (1982, Belize)
The Bone People – Keri Hulme (1984, New Zealand)
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (1985, Canada)
Summer Lightning – Olive Senior (1986, Jamaica)
The Whale Rider – Witi Ihimaera (1987, New Zealand)
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro (1989, England)
Omeros – Derek Walcott (1990, Saint Lucia)
The Adoption Papers – Jackie Kay (1991, Scotland)
Cloudstreet – Tim Winton (1991, Australia)

The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje (1992, Canada/Sri Lanka)
The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields (1993, Canada)
Paradise – Abdulrazak Gurnah (1994, Tanzania/England)
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry (1995, India/Canada)
Salt – Earl Lovelace (1996, Trinidad and Tobago)
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (1997, India)
The Blue Bedspread – Raj Kamal Jha (1999, India)
Disgrace – JM Coetzee (1999, South Africa/Australia)
White Teeth – Zadie Smith (2000, England)
Life of Pi – Yann Martel (2001, Canada)

Small Island – Andrea Levy (2004, England)
The Secret River – Kate Grenville (2005, Australia)
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (2005, Australia)
Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006, Nigeria)
A Golden Age – Tahmima Anam (2007, Bangladesh)
The Boat – Nam Le (2008, Australia)
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel (2009, England)
The Book of Night Women – Marlon James (2009, Jamaica)
The Memory of Love – Aminatta Forna (2010, Sierra Leone/Scotland)
Chinaman – Shehan Karunatilaka (2010, Sri Lanka)

Our Lady of the Nile – Scholastique Mukasonga (2012, Rwanda)
The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton (2013, New Zealand)
Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue (2016, Cameroon)
The Bone Readers – Jacob Ross (2016, Grenada)
How We Disappeared – Jing-Jing Lee (2019, Singapore)
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo (2019, England)
The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo (2019, Malaysia)
Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart (2020, Scotland)
A Passage North – Anuk Arudpragasam (2021, Sri Lanka)
The Promise – Damon Galgut (2021, South Africa)

Car as Status – Two References

Thunderbirds had been out for only a year now, since ‘55, and because they were new and there weren’t that many of them they were considered somewhat cooler than Corvettes. It was early evening. The Thunderbird was idling before a red light at the intersection, and from our perch behind the parapet we could hear the song on the radio – “Over the Mountains and across the Seas” – and hear too, just below the music, the full-throated purr of the engine. The black body glistened like obsidian. Blue smoke chugged from the twin exhausts. The top was rolled back. We could see the red leather upholstery and the blond man in the dinner jacket sitting in the driver’s seat. He was young and handsome and fresh. You could almost smell the Listerine on his breath, the Mennen on his cheeks. We were looking right down at him. With the palm of his left hand he kept the beat of the song against the steering wheel. His right arm rested on the back of the empty seat beside him, which would not remain empty for long. He was on his way to pick someone up.

We held no conference. One look was enough to see that he was everything we were not, his life a progress of satisfactions we had no hope of attaining in any future we could seriously propose for ourselves.

The first egg hit the street beside him. The second egg hit the front fender. The third egg hit the trunk and splattered his shoulders and neck and hair. We looked down just long enough to tally the damage before pulling our heads back. A moment passed. Then a howl rose skyward. No words – just one solitary soul cry of disbelief. We could still hear the music coming from his radio. The light must have changed, because a horn honked, and honked again, and someone yelled something, and another voice answered harshly, and the song was suddenly lost in the noise of engines.

This Boy’s Life
Tobias Wolff

I said, What’re you gonna do, man? Get a job up at the mall? Yeah, right, Chappie. The mall. The line forms at the end, man. They got fucking college graduates up there flipping Big Macs and carrying out the garbage. Forget it, man.

Well maybe you could sell your Camaro. You could get eight, nine hundred bucks easy for it. More maybe.

You bet your ass more. A grand and a half easy. But no fucking way, man. That car’s all I got between me and total nothingness.

Rule of the Bone
Russell Banks

Charles Dickens’ Urban Way of Seeing

In any case, what counts as realism is a contentious matter. We generally think of realistic characters as complex, substantial, well-rounded figures who evolve over time, like Shakespeare’s Lear or George Eliot’s Maggie Tulliver. Yet some of Dickens’s characters are realistic precisely by being none of these things. Far from being well rounded, they are grotesque, two-dimensional caricatures of human beings. They are men and women reduced to a few offbeat features or eye-catching physical details. As one critic has pointed out, however, this is just the way we tend to perceive people on busy thoroughfares or crowded street corners. It is a typically urban way of seeing, one which belongs to the city street rather than the village green. It is as though characters loom up out of the crowd, allow us a quick, vivid impression of themselves, then disappear for ever into the throng.

In Dickens’s world, this serves only to heighten their mysteriousness. Many of his characters appear secretive and inscrutable. They have a cryptic quality about them, as though their inner lives are impenetrable to others. Perhaps they have no inner life at all, being nothing but a set of surfaces. Sometimes they seem more like pieces of furniture than living beings. Or perhaps their true selves are locked away behind their appearances, beyond reach of an observer. Once again, this mode of characterisation reflects life in the city. In the anonymity of the great metropolis, individuals seem shut up in their solitary lives, with little continuous knowledge of or involvement with one another. Human contacts are fleeting and sporadic. People appear as enigmas to each other. So in portraying urban men and women as he does, Dickens is arguably more realistic than showing them in the round.

How to Read Literature
Terry Eagleton

Henry James Asks for Directions

James and I chanced to arrive at Windsor long after dark. We must have been driven by a strange chauffeur – perhaps Cook was on a holiday; at any rate, having fallen into the lazy habit of trusting to him to know the way, I found myself at a loss to direct his substitute to the King’s Road. While I was hesitating, and peering out into the darkness, James spied an ancient doddering man who had stopped in the rain to gaze at us. “Wait a moment, my dear – I’ll ask him where we are”; and leaning out he signalled to the spectator.

“My good man, if you’ll be good enough to come here, please; a little nearer – so,” and as the old man came up: “My friend, to put it to you in two words, this lady and I have just arrived here from Slough; that is to say, to be more strictly accurate, we have recently passed through Slough on our way here, having actually motored to Windsor from Rye, which was our point of departure; and the darkness having overtaken us, we should be much obliged if you would tell us where we now are in relation, say, to the High Street, which, as you of course know, leads to the Castle, after leaving on the left hand the turn down to the railway station.”

I was not surprised to have this extraordinary appeal met by silence, and a dazed expression on the old wrinkled face at the window; nor to have James go on: “In short” (his invariable prelude to a fresh series of explanatory ramifications), “in short, my good man, what I want to put to you in a word is this: supposing we have already (as I have reason to think we have) driven past the turn down to the railway station (which, in that case, by the way, would probably not have been on our left hand, but on our right), where are we now in relation to . . .

“Oh, please,” I interrupted, feeling myself utterly unable to sit through another parenthesis, “do ask him where the King’s Road is.”

“Ah-? The King’s Road? Just so! Quite right! Can you, as a matter of fact, my good man, tell us where, in relation to our present position, the King’s Road exactly is?”

“Ye’re in it,” said the aged face at the window.

I found this here:
The Writer’s Voice
A Alvarez

The source is:
A Backward Glance
Edith Wharton

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of? – NYTIMES

Some responses to a common question in this section of the Times:
By the Book
Writers on literature and the literary life.

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?

Percival Everett
I love Butler’s “The Way of All Flesh.” No one else talks about it, so I will take that to mean they haven’t read it. Once I read it, I never stopped talking about it.

Bette Midler
Southern California: An Island on the Land,” by Carey McWilliams. A history of how Los Angeles was marketed to the unsuspecting in the Midwest, and the various scandals and horrors the local scalawags visited upon them when they arrived, as well as crimes against minorities and the land. Published in 1946.

Amor Towles
Harry Mathews’s “Cigarettes.” The only American-born member of the experimental confederacy Oulipo, Mathews often wrote about shattering conventions, and thus his work can be somewhat uneven. But in “Cigarettes” he gives us a sly, inventive and entertaining novel which is a racy investigation of midcentury New York society.

Anne Rice
“Kings Row,” by Henry Bellamann. It’s so terribly sad to me that Bellamann’s novels have been all but forgotten today. I regard this as a lost American classic. It was a great success upon its release and made into a film that featured a young Ronald Reagan. I discovered it after stumbling across the film, and then I rushed out to obtain a copy of the novel. It’s such a rich exploration of how we survive in a world full of ugliness, loneliness and suffering. As soon as I finished it, I went right to Amazon and posted a five-star review.

Phillip Lopate
“Earthly Days,” by Jose Revueltas (1949), an amazing, modernist, brutally honest novel about the Communist Party’s attempt to radicalize peasants in Mexico. A cult classic in Mexico, but just recently issued here in Matthew Gleeson’s fine translation by Archive 48.

Viet Thanh Nguyen
“The Land at the End of the World,” by António Lobo Antunes, beautifully translated by Margaret Jull Costa. This novel about an old man reflecting on his experiences as a young medic in Portugal’s colonial war in Angola was my touchstone while I wrote “The Sympathizer.”

David Shields
Simon Gray’s four-volume “The Complete Smoking Diaries,” which consists of “The Smoking Diaries,” “The Year of the Jouncer,” “The Last Cigarette” and “Coda” (the last being one of the most virtuosic and heartbreaking books ever written). The tetralogy is much admired in England but virtually unknown in America.

You Can Like What You Actually Like

This love can’t be faked, not inside your own soul. Yet among those who are merely trying to impress, it is of course faked all the time. At my university, we foolishly used to ask applicants for a list of the writers and books that had “influenced” them. This is not an entirely fair question to ask any writer, but for a board of academics to spring it on a bunch of young, inexperienced, aspiring writers was madness. Of course the answers we got were mainly intended to impress. The question became the single most insincere item in the entire application—bypassing the mendaciousness even of professorial letters of recommendation. The lists we got were almost always very grand, academically impeccable, and exactly the same: that year’s higher-than-highbrow list of what every applicant assumed a bunch of professors wanted to see. We should have been ashamed. We were doing people damage by inducing them to lie about their real tastes and their real identities, leading them into a form of self-betrayal that at worst can be a symptom of self-contempt. Dishonesty about what really pleases your imagination is outright dangerous to you as a writer.

The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction
Stephen Koch

Literature Promotes Empathy and Self Understanding, Example of

As I was steeping myself in the art of the popular genre writers of the day—Thomas B. Costain (The Black Rose, The Silver Chalice), Frances Parkinson Keyes (Dinner at Antoine’s, Came a Cavalier), Samuel Shellabarger (Captain from Castile, Prince of Foxes), Frank Yerby (The Foxes of Harrow, A Woman Called Fancy)—I was also marching through the middlebrow writers (John P. Marquand, Pearl S. Buck, John O’Hara), the current literary heroes (Waugh, Orwell, Faulkner), and the classics: Balzac, Dickens, Hardy, Twain. My crucial literary experience of these pre-college years was my first reading of Emma, when I was sixteen. When Emma behaves so rudely to poor, harmless, talkative Miss Bates in the famous scene of the picnic on Box Hill, I was suffused with mortification: I had been forced to look at my own acts of carelessness and unkindness. Jane Austen had pinned me to the wall. It was the first time I really made the connection between what I was reading and my inner self. There was no religious instruction in my life, no guiding principles other than to work hard, and my mind was not a philosophical one. It was in the novel, beginning with Emma, that I would discover some kind of moral compass.

Avid Reader: A Life
Robert Gottlieb

The Way Of The Shadow Wolves, Steven Segal Book – Commentary on

5 Stars

It really feels like a Steven Seagal movie but in a book. Honestly, maybe even better because of these deep state conspiracy theories him and his co-writer weave in. I also like the Native American setting. It makes the lead character feel like Seagal meets Walker. I can’t speak on the political aspects but I will say I was very entertained and couldn’t put it down. I didn’t expect it to be as excellent on the inside as the cover is but it’s legit. Don’t listen to these unverified reviews, I read the book. I’m still not sure why Obama would be bringing jihadists into this country by way of Mexico, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that’s what makes this country special.

via goodreads:

my friend patrick recommended me another book.

i will no longer let him control my life with book suggestions
i will no longer let him control my life with book suggestions
i will no longer let him control my life with book suggestions
i will no longer let him control my life with book suggestions
i will no longer let him control my life with book suggestions

This is not a good book. In fact, it’s very bad. However, this pile of word turds makes a great drinking game. Every time you read ‘my gut’, take a drink. You’ll be drunk within three chapters.

Came here for the comments section, was not disappointed… truly speaks to the lack of quality affordable education in America. Also, anyone want to talk about the blatant racism and cultural appropriation/ tropes??