I’d thought by now that I’d be regaling you every day with stories of offers pouring in from agents, but apart from a few immediate rejections, there has basically been complete radio silence from the seven or eight agents currently considering my Bath Novel Award shortlisted manuscript, even from those who expressed initial enthusiasm. Maybe they’re all on holiday. Let’s hope so.
So in the absence of any writing news (except to say that I’m still plodding on with the next novel in the gaps between work, afternoon naps, and the Kardashians), let me tell you what I’m reading. The “bedside pile” has been a staple of my blog posts over the years; it’s been pretty small recently (it used to be enormous) as I do most of my reading on my Kindle these days, but above is a photo of the current pile. Starting from the bottom, there’s a rather out-of-date Bangkok guide book and then a teach-yourself-Thai book, both hand-me-downs from two colleagues who recently left Thailand, my current home, and probably my least favourite of all the Asian countries I’ve lived in (for reasons that I might share with you one day in another blog post), which is why they sit unopened at the bottom. The next two, Dear Life and The Buried Giant were both presents from my mum; I read one of the Dear Life short stories a while back but I’m not really in an Alice Munro mood at the mo (and I’m rarely in a short story mood; reading for me is escaping into another world and you can’t really escape for long in a short story). I started The Buried Giant last week and although dystopia is not my thing, I was immediately drawn in by the protagonist couple, but then yesterday I found myself in town with a few hours to kill and nothing to read so I went to the wonderful Kinokuniya bookshop intending to buy one book and came out with the three that now grace the top of the pile. The Lisa McInerney book I’ve seen touted a lot on Twitter (so it does work!)—had a quick flick through and really liked the voice. The Finkler Question I bought because the aforementioned colleagues who gave me the Thai books also bequeathed me Howard Jacobson’s The Mighty Walzer which is very funny, even though it’s about table tennis. And at the top of the pile is The Rachel Papers which I’ve been reading since yesterday and is hilarious and brilliant even though the casually sexist seventies language (“I spoke to key tarts in the University Administration complex and finally got on to the Tutors”) makes me flinch a bit. But my love for Martin Amis has already been documented. Kazuo Ishiguro will just have to wait.