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Books I'm Reading

  • Asne Seierstad: A Hundred and One Days

    Asne Seierstad: A Hundred and One Days
    Written after her well-known 'The Bookseller of Kabul', Seierstad provides the reader with a compelling account of the run up to, course of, and post war situation in Iraq. The book is as much about the author herself as it is about the people of Iraq. Thus, it is interesting on two levels: an insight into the life of a war correspondent, and the effects of war on the population of Baghdad. Read it for a deeper understanding of what Bush's 'War on Terror' does for and to everyday people. (****)

  • Joseph Heller: Catch-22

    Joseph Heller: Catch-22
    One of the best books I've ever read. The language is engaging and at times hilarious. Heller has obviously spent a great deal of time thinking about each sentence and this attention to detail shows. Heller touches on discussions of love, war, friendship, loss, life and violence. A must read. (*****)

  • Dai Sijie: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

    Dai Sijie: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
    A book which is difficult to stop reading. A true storyteller, Dai tells this tale with style and clarity. Unlike many in the genre, he doesn't invite sympathy from the reader for his experience of Cultural Revolution re-education in remote Sichuan. He also shows that good stories don't have to have a happy ending. (****)

  • James Joyce: Dubliners

    James Joyce: Dubliners
    A classic from one of my favourite authors. This collection of short stories satisfies not only literary interest but also historical interest, as it represents a cross-section of life in Dublin at the beginning of the twentieth century. Joyce's ease and accuracy of description is always a pleasure to read. (****)

  • Bruce Chatwin: Utz

    Bruce Chatwin: Utz
    The first of Chatwin's works of fiction which I've read: The story is an interesting one about a porcelain collector in Communist Czechoslovakia, whose life has been turned upside down by the events of the mid twentieth century. Well written, and an interesting exploration of the desire to possess, and how it can so radically affect one's life. (***)

  • Martin Amis: Yellow Dog

    Martin Amis: Yellow Dog
    For anyone who has grown up in Britain, this book is hilarious. Amis provides a witty and accurate dissection of our contemporary society, which encourages us to take those pillars of British tradition - like the tabloid press and the monarchy - with rather more than a pinch of salt. (*****)

  • Frantz Fanon: The Wretched of the Earth

    Frantz Fanon: The Wretched of the Earth
    An incredible book, written with great passion and intelligence about a subject which continues to impact on our lives today; colonialism. A must read for anyone who claims to care about Africa. (*****)

  • Robert Byron: The Road to Oxiana

    Robert Byron: The Road to Oxiana
    Witty, interesting, engaging and intelligent. A great classic of the travel writing genre. Bruce Chatwin calls it 'beyond criticism'. (****)

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Photography: Travels in China

  • Photography: Travels in China
    A pictoral introduction to this vast and diverse country, taken whilst travelling at various points over the last few years. Hopefully the pictures are not just original, but also informative, offering an insight into a nation whose most fascinating areas are as yet relatively undiscovered.