Thursday, October 12, 2006

What is Kate Atkinson reading?

Kate Atkinson wrote Case Histories, my favorite novel of 2004. Its sequel, One Good Turn, hit my bookshelf yesterday.

And today the Christian Science Monitor runs her answer to their query about what she is listening to and watching. And reading:

I am currently reading The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk. He's a foreign correspondent who has worked for various British newspapers, including The Times. It's a story of how we got where we are at the moment in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's told through his experience. It's over a thousand pages long. It's hard to pick up! I was interested to read something extremely literate and extremely readable about imperialism. The "defense of democracy" slogan doesn't hold water anymore, I'm afraid. I have read The Wife by Meg Worlitzer, which is a very good book. Very short and straightforward.

The best book I've read this year is J.G. Farrell's Troubles, which is an old book from the '70s that is set in Ireland after the first World War. It has a feeling of its time - it reads a bit like Ford Madox Ford, or someone like that - but it's also very contemporary, which is a hard trick to pull off, I think. The main character, someone known as the Major, comes back from the first World War to this sort of rundown Irish hotel where he has a fiancée from a very hastily made engagement during the war. He goes back to see her again, and she dies. He stays on, even though she has died. It's very funny, and it's very tragic at the same time. It's a book written with a great feeling.

I've been reading a lot of Jane Austen as I've just written a short introduction to The Watsons, which is a Jane Austen fragment [of a novel]. I just read A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. I enjoyed it!

Click here to see what Atkinson is listening to and watching. "I like watching my TV on DVD, I must say, as I don't like eking out an episode a week," she writes. Me, too.

--Marshal Zeringue