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Holiday reading

Holidays are a perfect time to read novels, although I read novels all year. I have just finished Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue, which I loved -- five-year-old Jack’s voice was masterful -- and Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That: A Novel. I saw Lionel Shriver at the Auckland Writers’ festival this year which confirmed her phenomenal intelligence and cutting wit, and her latest, whilst not un-put-downable like We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.), was superb. During the first half of the book I almost dreaded picking it up because it was so graphic – her descriptions of the terrible diseases that became almost characters – but as the novel moved on the people took over from the diseases and it was easier to read. I think she is one of the best contemporary writers. And the ending of this novel is marvellous! I am now reading Solar, Ian McEwan’s latest novel. He is another masterful writer who has an extraordinary ability to write about unpleasant people in a way that captures the reader! Solar is amazing in another way; there is hardly any direct dialogue, at least in the first part of the novel. As a change from fiction, a “writing” book that I read recently and found entertaining, useful and motivating, was the revised and updated edition of The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor's Advice to Writers by the editor and literary agent, Betsy Lerner. The title says it all!

And a new book to look forward to, to be published in January, 2011. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, is a novel about a young mother who, following a traumatic brain injury, ignores the left side of space. Much of my own research has been on this bizarre (but quite common) disorder of "left neglect" and it is guaranteed to be a moving and unusual novel. Read the description of it on www.leftneglected.com to get a hint of where Lisa takes her protagonist as she grapples with her rehabilitation and re-learns how to attend to her left space and the neglected spaces in her own life.
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