Summer Reading

Ondaatje (U of Toronto)

It’s that time of year again.

Time to dig up last summer’s faded swimsuits, and figure out what you will be pretend-reading under that poolside umbrella come Memorial Day weekend.

If you’re a fan of diasporic lit (no shame), then you’re in luck. There’s plenty of fresh fiction to choose from:

ROOPA FAROOKI’s debut novel Bitter Sweets has just hit shelves.

Yesterday, the author joined BBC radio personality Nikki Bedi on air to talk about family (Farooki gave birth to a baby boy just eight weeks ago), and the decision to pursue a life of writing.

The Oxford grad previously worked as an accountant (“like a good Asian girl”) and in advertising (She hoped it would be more creative. It wasn’t), ultimately abandoning the 9-to-5 of corporate London.

The risk paid off.

Bitter Sweets was shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Broadband Award for New Writers earlier this week.

MICHAEL ONDAATJE (remember Anil’s Ghost?) has a new novel out.

Divisadero, Ondaatje’s fifth, is set in California of the 1970s. Publishers Weekly calls it “emotionally riveting,” saying it “delivers his trademark seductive prose, quixotic characters and psychological intricacy.”

The 63-year-old has recently been announced as a contender for the 2007 International Man Booker Prize.

ATUL GAWANDE’s latest, Better, has been favorably reviewed by The New York Times: “Gawande provides a cleareyed view of the medical profession that both resonates and gives pause,” says Chen of the Times. “(He) manages to capture medicine in all of its complex and chaotic glory, and to put it, still squirming with life, down on the page.”

Go here for the full review.

From April 26–29, Anita Desai (Clear Light of Day, Baumgartner’s Bombay) will be in Chicago, Illinois, for the literary festival Kriti.

Cambridge University is hosting its fifth-ever “Word Fest” this weekend. Hari Kunzru (omg!) will be speaking, as will Londonstani author Gautam Malkani. Go here for the 411.

Author Khaled Hosseini knows you’re (still) waiting for The Kite Runner to be made into a movie, and gives you his second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns as a peace offering.

April 25, 2007
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