I think it would be fun to tell the story of my life entirely through what I read and when I read it. There’s a picture of me at 5 years old in some sort of high chair, reading Matilda by Roald Dahl; I wanted (still want) to be her so, so much. My dad read his Amar Bondhu Rashed to me when I was about 7 and it messed me up so much I couldn’t sleep for days; that later become the first book I translated and remains one of my favorite books to this day. Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest sucked me into theater, read that in the apartment I grew up in Sylhet, giggling while it poured outside the way only Sylhet can. Right up to now; I struggled with a single paragraph of the Kindle version of a German-English parallel text version of Alice in Wonderland all the way to Berlin, and held Bertolt Brecht’s Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Mother Courage and Her Children) all the way back.
Anyway, in anticipation of the year I planned to spend in Bangladesh, I got the Kindle, so I’d always be able to get at books. As it is, though, I have plenty to read without it. The lab’s tradition is to give its departing lab manager a book from each lab member. I don’t know how these books are all going to get to Bangladesh with me, but, by golly, get there they will! A few people have asked me for the list of books that I have received, which is the real point of this post. The list’s below, and it’s looking pretty good, in case you’re looking for something to read. I can’t wait. As my friend Mariko said in her note to me, read lots, love lots, hug lots. Yessss!
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
The Day of the Locust/Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathaniel West
Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Life Before Us, Romain Gary
The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
Fifth Business, Robertson Davies
Poems by Frost
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov