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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I'm usually suspect of lists, particularly those that attempt to set apart the best from the rest. But when such lists happen to be from The Economist, I do happen to sit up, read the fine print and take notice. Not that they always give me what I want.

Often a lot of South Asian writers are simply ignored. This year too, I was hoping to see Vikram Chandra's 'Sacred Games' somewhere on the list - it's not. Nor is Kiran Desai's Booker prize winning 'The Inheritance of Loss'. While one of my favourite reads of the year, Claire Messud's 'The Emperor's Children' makes the cut, Hisham Matar's stunning debut 'In The Country of Men' doesn't.

Apart from these literary heart-breaks it is encouraging to see James Kynge's 'China Shakes the World' and Edward Luce's 'In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India' get the mention they deserve in the 'Politics and Current Affairs' section.

The book that's caught my eye this time round is:
"Journey Through Great Britain
By Iqbal Ahmed. Coldstream; 190 pages; £9.95

A deceptively simple account of travels in Britain by a Kashmiri immigrant. It shows the British as others see them -not as they think they are."

Though several searches show the correct title of the book is 'Empire of the Mind: A Journey Through Great Britain'. A sequel to his first book 'Sorrows of the Moon', a moving investigation of the immigrant experience in London, Iqbal Ahmed moves beyond the capital to make a journey through the remnants of Britain’s imperial past in 'Empire of the Mind'. Ahmed who was born in Kashmir in 1968, has lived in London since 1994. His first book was chosen as a Book of the Year in The Guardian and The Independent on Sunday. He is currently working on a novel.

Read more about how a hotel doorman by night, turns into a writer of note by day here:

So if lists determine your reading, you'd do well to head here before setting out for the nearest bookstore...