Ara City Radio presenter and bookclub host Marina Lai, pictured, shares her top three recommendations
Photo: Marina Lai
Compile your summer reading list with the help of presenter and bookclub host Marina Lai
Need some help deciding what to read on your summer escape? This week Ara City Radio presenter and bookclub host Marina Lai shares her top three recommendations.
Being a booklover means that it is always going to be a difficult task when asked to choose a certain number of books but 3 was nearly torture for me! In the end, I’ve gone with a new favourite, an old favourite and a book I love to give people as a gift.
As the winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2016, there was plenty of buzz about this book in the media. So, at book club we decided to see what all the fuss was about. It’s really an example of how a modern book can creep into your heart without you realising it! Written by a Korean author, it is a short novel about a Korean housewife who wakes up one day and decides that she can no longer eat meat following a gruesome nightmare. This is highly controversial in Korean culture and is a concept which is totally rejected by her husband. She becomes “disobedient” in his eyes and the book tells the story of her journey and the isolated world that she enters. I read it in two afternoons and was desperate to discuss it with my bookclub members. Our members were divided, half us were blown away and blindsided by the beauty of this strange story whilst the other half felt that the story was too weird and farfetched. Try it for yourself and see which side you’re on!
I have a habit of reading two books at once, a fiction and a non-fiction. My favourite non-fiction is a collection of interviews that have been featured in the Financial Times newspaper as part of a permanent and regular feature for many decades. Yet the interviews have nothing to do with finance, they are candid interviews conducted over lunch, (which the FT are adamant on paying for no matter who the interviewee is and how many times they offer). The entertainment value of the interviews are that you are given the entire picture, the demeanour of the person as they enter the restaurant, the choice of restaurant, the full receipt of what was ordered, how they eat and whether or not they washed it down with a whisky! The interviews may seem like just an account of a lunch encounter between a famous person and a reporter but there are many anecdotes that reveal a lot about the subject. From Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to Angelina Jolie, the range of interviews and stories you will read about is really eye-opening. You may not know every interviewee but it will definitely motivate you to read up on them, after reading about what they ordered for lunch and what secrets they spilled between their starter and their main course.
Fables are usually a no-go for me. So, it is unusual that I have chosen this as my favourite gift to those who I admire or love. It is the only fable that I have truly taken my hat off to and to this day I revisit it when I’m at a crossroads or in a seemingly unsolvable dilemma. The novel was originally written in Portuguese and tells the journey of a shepherd who follows a recurring dream that there is treasure to be discovered somewhere. On his journey, he meets different people that offer him advice, point him in the different directions and he starts to recognise signs around him for the first time. Spoiler alert--the treasure was right where he started but it took the entire journey to Egypt for him to realise this. Every time I read this novel, I discover a different sign that can be related to my own life and somehow I find signs in the book that guide me in my own way. There’s something so magical about a book that you can read 20 times and each time you take away something different, depending on where you are in your life. That’s why there’s no question for me that this is the ultimate gift!
About ARA City Bookworms
I started ARA City Bookworms over a year ago as a way to find more like-minded people and discover more books titles. We meet monthly and it is totally free, each meeting we will either feature authors or ask two members to present their current favourite books. Unlike conventional book clubs, you’re not obligated to read the book before you come! You decide after the meeting whether the book is for you. Find out more on our FB page: ‘ARA City Bookworms’ or e-mail [email protected]