Thursday, April 24, 2008

Getting the Houseboy to Read

A young boy is taken by a relative to the house of a wealthy, somewhat eccentric man with long hair to work as a houseboy. His new master is a good man with a lovely speaking voice and a large library. He is concerned about the boy's education and gives him books to read. The boy does his best to please his new master and win his heart with his culinary prowess. The man has friends who comes to the house to discuss politics against a background of political unrest (leading to civil war) while the boy listens. There is one special woman in the man's life whom the boy falls in love with too.

Has anyone else noted the close similarity of the opening chapter of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half a Yellow Sun (my current read) and Romesh Gunasekera's Reef? Nothing more than coincidence, I'm sure, but it's making me feel quite weird ...

This, anyway, is my next read, a long-overdue want-to-read from my burgeoning to-be-read-shelf. I am as usual running behind with the reviews here of things read, but hope to post more as soon as I have a backlog of articles out of the way.

But what are you guys reading? I'm sure we'd all love to know.

13 comments:

Amir said...

I am reading a 'new' non-fiction Malay book which has many references to Ziana Zain! It might even inspire me to go back to book-reviewing.

Sham said...

Taking Pictures by Anne Enright - which I am enjoying immensely - stories of women but not in your face at all. A book of short stories with each story very distinct from one another. So far so good :)

Anonymous said...

Resolution for the year was to read the old ones - started with Madame Bovary which was mind blowingly sad and utterly convincing.

Now am halfway through with Don Quixote...which is funny, at times funny as in Tom-and-Jerry way ..know I am going to miss Don Q and Sancho's company when their adventures come to an end

Should have come to them much, much earlier..

But then again, at a younger age, would I have understood Madam Bovary, her life-long disappointments and why or Don Q's desparately clinging onto delusions, even when the facts stare at his face, he still manages to spin, spin away.. anything to keep reality out...

Lydia Teh said...

The first sentence itself made me think of Half A Yellow Sun. I haven't read Reef.

Currently struggling with Stephen King's Lisey's Story. It's such a confusing story. The literary device (if you can call it that) of sentences without full stops is unnerving. I remember Ted describing it as King's attempt at going literary in his Duma Key review. Perhaps he should stick to telling a good story. Don't know if I can stay on course. May just skip through the book if it proves to be too much of a Misery.

bibliobibuli said...

amir - i can't even begin to guess what book you have in your hands!

sham - glad you are enjoying the nright. looking forward to reading it too.

anon - that's some serious reading! both are gaps in my own reading that i should fill ...

lydia - had no idea that king was doing such strange things and should check this out ...

Firdaus said...

Currently, I'm on a marathon streak of Malay Sci-Fi & Fantasy novels. Takluk Jagat Part 1, Urana Exham, Saga Horizon & Detektif Indigo Kembali. Just finished reading them all! :)

Ted Mahsun said...

Am currently trying to avoid being stabbed in the LRT while reading a certain controversial book by Salman Rushdie! (Can't wait for Enchantress of Florence.)

bibliobibuli said...

firdaus - how is malay sci-fi? i know nothing about it!

ted - my copy of that got stolen from my bookshelves! how on earth did that happen? banning a book just makes it irresistible!

Firdaus said...

Malay Sci-fi eh? I'll share bits of info that I had, so it might not be complete. It existed since the late 80's with works like Manuklon by Dr. Rahmat Haroun. At this point of time, most of it was published by DBP. Some existed in junior novel format.

Then, in the mid 90's we have publisher like Kenari & Arus Intelek which largely publishes junior sci-fi novels. I grew up reading these novels.

From the mid 90's until 2006, there's not really any definite sci-fi line up by any publisher. The only exception is the New Millenium Novel Competition series by DBP. Other than that, there's some sci-fi novels such as 1511H Kombat & Detektif Indigo by Faisal Tehrani.

Then fast forward to 2007, PTS & KarnaDya started publishing junior sci-fi novels. By 2008, PTS also publishes it's own adult Science & Fantasy Novel product line starting with Opera Angkasa by Nazri M. Annuar a.k.a Vovin. Then I came with Sayap Adinila followed by Takluk Jagat & Urana Exham by Zaki Zainol & Kusyi Hirdan. Alaf21 also jumps into the bandwagon with Saga Horizon by Fadli al-Akiti with their debut in the recent PBAKL.

Daphne said...

Feeling a bit down so am re-reading Dorothy L Sayers Gaudy Night! Also, Letter from America by Alistair Cooke.

Thanks for coming for the Slam, Sharon!

bookseller said...

stared with secret history by donna tartt, got sidelined by orwell's animal farm, finished in a zip delightfully, now back to the greek lessons in tartt's work. a thick one that, bit draggy in some parts, but interesting nevertheless. still very tempted to start zadie smith's on beauty...

bibliobibuli said...

firdaus - many thanks for that tour. i had no idea and am quite fascinated

daphne - welcome! enjoy your comfort reading

bookseller - began "my secret history" some time back but got waylaid. enjoyed that start so much really want to get back to it.

am now most of the way through "half a yellow sun" and very much enjoying it

Anonymous said...

It's very postcolonial to have a houseboy isn't it ? and to care about his education.