I would say yes!
A friend just alerted me to this article in The New Yorker which reminded me about Alain de Botton’s (philosopher and author of The Art of Travel and The Architecture of Happiness) The School of Life and their Bibliotherapy service.
I’m booking my tickets to this new literary festival in Kew Gardens (24th – 28th September 2015). I can think of worse places to sit through talks by authors like Margaret Atwood, Louis de Bernieres, Bill Bryson, Neel Mukherjee, Michael Morpurgo and many more. Can’t wait!
German author Jenny Erpenbeck has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015 with her book The End of Days, a story about five possible alternative lives of a girl born in Austria-Hungary at the start of the 20th century.
Touted as this year’s Gone Girl and While you were Sleeping, The Girl on the Train accosts you on her daily commute to and from London. A dubious narrator from the start, she hangs on to you, desperately, confidential, erratically. Interlaced time frames and equally questionable narrators, build the tension and, while it is hardly high-brow, I was gripped with anxiety. Suffice it to say, it might be imperfect and disposable, but it is also thrilling entertainment and perfect for that commute to work….
Out of print and a cult book amongst long-term Hong Kong devotees, it will take more time to locate a copy than to read it. We follow the young Coates, a civil servant from London, who is posted to Hong Kong in 1949 and learns by trial and error how to fulfill his role as “Special Magistrate”. Recounted with great humour and humility, it is insightful, witty, and judicious. A must read for anyone with ties or interest in Hong Kong – and any modern day want-to-be Solomon. Good luck finding it though (although they seem to have a few copies on Amazon.co.uk).