My bedtime reading at the moment is "On Beauty" by Zadie Smith, and "Hundstage und Krokodilstränen" by my sister, Luisa Francia, which I have named "the little green book". Zadie's book is so lovely, a proper old-fashioned novel with a contemporary feel to it; I am really enjoying reading it. I found her first "White Teeth" really interesting, too - but it was what book reviews like to call "flawed", it didn't really flow, it stumbled over its own ideas and descriptions which, however, gave insights into a world of London immigrants that was pretty much unknown to me. "On Beauty" is a much more familiar format, a novel about two families, about academia, about ideas, about race - but in such a lovely non-banner-waving way that you can't help but getting sucked into it. My favourite character is Levi, the youngest son - he is so mellow, so devoid of badness, so lovely, and just a little bit dumb.
About Luisa's book, sadly available on ly in German, all I can say is - it makes me laugh, it makes sense, it's provocative (oh - really??) and I think it should become standard reading for everyone who gets on a soap-box about the environment and carbon foot prints etc.


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