Books that I’m reading at the moment:
1. Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf. Originally in French; translated by Peter Sluglett.
The story follows the footsteps of a Granada-born Muslim Moor who lived at the intersection of the Ottoman, Isabella-Ferdinand and Roman empires, travelling through the greater Mediterranean world, the Sahara and Timbuktu, converting to Christianity – and then back to Islam again. Guest stars in the story include a Sicilian pirate, Pope Leo X, and apparently the artist Raphael (I haven’t reached Italy yet). The opening of the book was enough to set me started:
I, Hasan the son of Muhammad the weigh-master, I, Jean-Leon de Medici, circumcised at the hand of a barber and baptized at the hand of a pope, I am now called the African, but I am not from Africa, nor from Europe, nor from Arabia. I am also called the Granadan, the Fassi, the Zayyati, but I come from no country, from no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road, my country is the caravan, my life the most unexpected of voyages.
2. After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance by Kenneth Hamilton.
A book about the history of piano performance, and how supposed “traditions” weren’t always part of history. Was inspired to read this book after reading the illuminating programme notes written by Hamilton himself for his recitals in Singapore some months back, and his witty introductions to the pieces he performed.
3. The Independence of Miss Bennet by Colleen McCullough
Yup it’s the Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. Mary Bennet to be precise, and 20 years after where Jane Austen left off P & P. So far this book is a romping hilarious read. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of P & P. But readers with an idealistic view of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy shouldn’t try to touch the book.
Am also reading a technical book for work purposes. Which makes me wonder what category do the books above fall under. Leisurely reads? The Reasons Why I Still Have to Get Prescription Glasses?
Enough rambling from me. What are you reading?