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The Beauty Of Books…

August 24th, 2018

First, thanks to Roz for last week’s post. I’ve just started reading her book, ‘The Devil’s Dice’,  and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

Talking about reading, I’ve had a bad back for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been as active as usual; so that  means I’ve had much more time to read. And have I used that time! Of the books I’ve read there are three that really stand out.

The first is ‘The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star’ by Vaseem Khan. It’s part of a series about a private investigator in Mumbai and his sidekick – a baby elephant called Ganesha. It does for India what the Number One Ladies Detective Agency did for Botswana. It’s not high literature, but it’s well written, heart-warming and makes you care about the characters. And it doesn’t shy away from the problems faced by the less well-off citizens of the country. I’ll certainly be dipping into the series again.

The next was ‘In A Free State’ by V S Naipaul. When he died recently I realised I’d never read any of his work and felt I should remedy that. It’s a slim volume but it packs a punch. Set in a country that resembles post-colonial Uganda, it covers a two-day road trip undertaken by a civil servant with a penchant for African boys and a bored compound wife. The descriptions of the land they pass through are stunning but beneath the beauty are dangerous undercurrents that ebb and flow as bloody regime-change takes place around them. One of the characters says she hates Conrad (Heart of Darkness) but I feel this short novel owes a lot to him.

Finally, we come to Adam Johnson’s ‘The Orphan Master’s Son’. It’s a novel, and a surreal one, but packed with details about life in North Korea (and countries don’t come much more surreal than that). It set me off on a flurry of research to check whether some of the things he described in the book were fevered imaginings or reality. And it was amazing how many of the grosser scenes were firmly based on fact. It’s not an easy read but well worth it if, like me, you like to peer through windows into other worlds.

So, despite having a bad back, I managed to get from India, via Africa to North Korea – and that’s the beauty of books!

You’ll be glad to know that the winner and runners-up of our Limerick Competition are now on our website. Read their work and smile! Also, our latest Flash Fiction Competition is now accepting entries. There are prizes of £300, £200 and £100 in cash plus each winner also receives a Writers Bureau course of their choice. The closing date is 30th November. It sounds a long time off, but you’ll be amazed how quickly it comes round.

Well, that’s all for this week – if you feel you could write a guest post that will interest our readers, please get in touch with your ideas: dianan@writersbureau.com

Author: Diana Nadin

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