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The book in my hand

A weekly column on what well-known personalities are reading and planning to read. This week, it is UNDP administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and author Mahesh Rao.

Helen Clark

For the past decade or so, I’ve had trouble finding time to read a novel as I’m always trying to keep up with the news and magazines… except the Wolf Hall series by Hilary Mantel. I keep a copy of one of the books with me and try to read whenever possible. I am still a big fan of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, which is one of my favourites, along with One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Mahesh Rao

At the moment I’m reading a Korean novel, The Vegetarian, by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith. It is a strange and beautiful story of a family crisis precipitated by a woman’s choice to become vegetarian, and speaks of desire, power, ambition and control, all sublimated through food and art. I’m also reading a very interesting introduction to the discipline of visual culture, How to See the World, by Nicholas Mirzoeff, which brings together everything from the Spanish golden age of art to selfies, satellite war imagery, to protest movements and visual activism. Next on my list is Arab Jazz by Karim Miske, translated by Sam Gordon, a crime novel set in a multi-racial Parisian suburb.