Books Well-read reads 

Authors from around the world comment on what they are reading

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"I am rereading Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. I am fascinated by the way Mann interlinks all sorts of levels of meaning - science, myth, philosophical debate, X-rays, and medicine - into what was originally designed to be a comic companion novella to the tragic Death in Venice."

A.S. Byatt, Little Black Book of Stories

"I have a number of things on the go: I'm rereading Saul Bellow's The Dean's December. I've just finished a proof of three interlinked stories by Alice Munro from her new collection. Also Richard Dawkins's The Ancestor's Tale and Paul Fussell's The Boys' Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945."

Ian McEwan, Saturday

"Gregory Curtis's Disarmed: The Story of the Venus de Milo. A fascinating chronicle of the discovery of the broken statue in a farmer's field on the Greek island of Melos and then of the acrimonious international battles over its ownership and artistic history and form. A scholarly detective tale with a flamboyant cast of characters."

Camille Paglia, Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems

"I'm into an advance reading copy of Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted. No doubt he's become the new Vonnegut, in terms of social criticism, but with a bitter, brutal edge that's right for the times."

Stewart O'Nan, The Good Wife

"I'm reading a book called A Short History of Tractors `in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka` - it's a novel. It's a real title, I swear!"

Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

"Happy Baby by Stephen Elliott. With the character of Theo, Stephen Elliott jars you out of whatever daily stupor you may have a tendency to fall into and offers up a sweet soul in need of your immediate care and attention."

Alicia Erian, Towelhead: A Novel

"I'm reading `De Kooning: An` American Master, the biography of Willem de Kooning, `by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan`. If you care at all about modern, contemporary, or American art, it's a great book."

James Frey, My Friend Leonard

"The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh. I went to India for the first time in January and have been reading about it ever since. This is one of the best: a multi-generational story with all the sweeping qualities of a rich 19th-century novel, along with fascinating historical information about Burma and Malaya, as well as India. It's one of those rare books you don't want to see come to an end."

Joseph Kanon, Alibi

— John Freeman


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