Stephen Bates A CHURCH AT WAR: ANGLICANS AND HOMOSEXUALITY
I am a practising anglican (episcopalian, for you americans out there), so am constantly frustrated by, and grappling with, the big issues of the day faced by the church as an institution. In England the two largest are the issue of women clergy (far from resolved) and gay clergy (in some sort of don't-even-go-there administrative wasteland). I won't get into a long discussion here, but for me the more crucial overriding issue is "where is God in this?" I mean, is God really bothered? And I have to think not. A great priest is a great priest, whether gay, straight, female, male, black, white or brown. Let's get on with it. Stephen Bates is The Guardian's religious affairs and royal correspondent. I like his interesting press commentary, and am curious to see what he has to say.
John Boyne THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS
I recommended Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's PURPLE HIBISCUS to a friend who, gratifyingly, loved it so much she's been recommending it to everyone she knows. In return she recommended this Boyne to me. It looks like it might be shattering.
Michael Dirda AN OPEN BOOK
When I lived in Washington D.C. some years back, I would religiously read the lovely Dirda; he became a staple - one of those folks whose latest despatch I'd look forward to, thinking there'd be something in there for me (even if I never got around to reading it!)
Cynthia Enloe THE CURIOUS FEMINIST
Cynthia Enloe is one of those pioneering types in the field of international relations, in that she tried to place women front and centre. Bearing in mind that women are very often excised from the study of government, politics and international relations (other than as victims) this was a refreshing approach.
John McGahern THAT THEY MAY FACE THE RISING SUN
Kimbofo over at Reading Matters has a reading group, and this was their previous selection. Appropriately, I even bought my copy in Ireland, but I've yet to begin it (story of my life). Ireland is where we holiday most, and I have a real soft spot for the country.
Beverley Naidoo THE OTHER SIDE OF TRUTH
Beverley Naidoo is a talented children/teen writer. I met her several times when running the bookshop up in London and I have to say that she epitomizes the image of the hardworking writer - I was always very impressed with her work ethic and friendly approachability when confronted by fans. I haven't read this one of hers.
Pepetela JAIME BUNDA, SECRET AGENT
Aflame Books is a new independent publisher, focussing on translating into English books from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East originally published in another language. This is the first of their titles I've picked up and I'm looking forward to it very much (I loved Pepetela's THE RETURN OF THE WATER SPIRIT). If you enjoy Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you'll probably like Pepetela.
Elif Shafak THE FLEA PALACE
Both Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak have had a rather difficult time in Turkey lately because of their work.
R.C. Sherriff THE HOPKINS MANUSCRIPT
One of my favourite books is John Wyndham's THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, which has so much contemporary resonance, despite being written in 1951. THE HOPKINS MANUSCRIPT, I get the impression, has similar overtones. And it is a Persephone title.
Niall Williams AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
The dove grey one over at dovegreyreader scribbles raved so much about Williams (and then he left her equally charming messages) that I succumbed - I trust her judgement, so am sure this will be good; also, did I mention I have a soft spot for Ireland?!
Naturally, it is highly unlikely I'll read any of these soon but one can live in hope...now go and rummage through your shelves, what would you read if you could?