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The New Yorker – Can reading make you happier?

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.

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The Wallcreeper

Zink's novel fails to float

Always on the lookout for something truly original, I was tempted by Nell Zink’s (just the name!) eccentric sounding book The Wallcreeper.

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Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015

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.

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The Girl on the Train

Airport thriller will keep you gripped on the train

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….

 

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Myself a Mandarin – Memoirs of a Special Magistrate

Highly amusing Hong Kong anecdotes of a local magistrate

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).