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5 October 2011 / leggypeggy

More recommended reading

Two books have captured my attention lately, and a third was okay.

I’m in the middle of Arundhati Roy’s spectacular The God of small things, set in India. Wow, what a book, what a story, what a writer! It won the Booker Prize in 1997 and I can see why. In his review in The New Yorker, John Updike said ‘a novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does…’ and it’s the language I love so much. Roy has a truly original, captivating and readable writing style. It is still her only novel. It took her four years to write, and I can imagine her agonising over every word. I regret taking so many years to get around to it. It is one of those rare books that I wish I could say I had written. Read it if you haven’t, read it again if you have.

Trick or treatment? Alternative medicine on trial by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst is a passionate overview of the truth (the merits and more often the shortcomings) about many branches of alternative medicine. They cover four main therapies—acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal medicine—in great detail and about 30 other approaches in brief. To compile this book, they analysed the results of hundreds of clinical trials into these various practices. It’s eye-opening reading and should make you think twice before pursuing any of these various treatments—although I still swear by acupuncture for pain (and they give it a reserved okay for this too). The book is on the longish side, which is inevitable when people are on their soapbox, so don’t feel bad if you want to skip to some of the summaries. The main thing is to get the message. By the way, Singh is a talented science writer. I’ve read and enjoyed all four of his books.

I also read The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Also set in India, it won the Booker Prize in 2008. While I enjoyed it, I found it a bit contrived. For me, The God of small things is far superior.

I have no idea what I’m going to read next. The truck bookshelves are pretty well exhausted. Maybe we’ll find a decent book exchange place soon.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise M Oliver / Oct 5 2011 3:42 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    Thank you for the book reviews. I’ve heard about The god of small things but haven’t read it. And I remember hearing similar comments to yours when The white tiger was published. Good luck with finding a book exchange. Perhaps Poor John might lend you his Kindle? That would be a very easy way to get more reading material for yourself. It won’t unfortunately, help the other travellers but it’s a thought. And my apologies, I can’t activate italics in this reply box.

    Best wishes


  2. Brian Lageose / Sep 12 2016 2:08 pm

    Great advice, for any good book, really: “Read it if you haven’t, read it again if you have.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Sep 12 2016 2:25 pm

      I’ve just finished another book that I’ll have to read again—Black Emu by Bruce Pascoe. It’s a wonderful and eye-opening account of Australia’s First People. History has been very unkind to them and all the innovations they created here.


      • Brian Lageose / Sep 12 2016 4:26 pm

        I just added it to the Wish List on my Kindle. Thanks for the tip!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Sep 12 2016 5:31 pm

        I even managed to get my fiction-loving book club people to read it for this month.

        Liked by 1 person

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