Mohsin Hamid, a Pakistani writer, is the author, most recently, of “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.” The film adaptation of his best-selling book, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” will be in theaters April 26.
READING I’m often reading multiple books at the same time. They are for different moods. It’s kind of like surfing the Web and having multiple windows open at the same time, only in a much slower fashion. I’ve just begun “Basti,” a novel by one of the great Urdu-language fiction writers, Intizar Husain. “Basti” means village, so I suspect it will have to do with a village as a microcosm for India and Pakistan’s partition and the different religions that used to coexist within them.
And I’m about halfway into “Lightning Rods,” by Helen DeWitt, which is also fiction. It’s a story told in business-ese about a man who comes up with the idea that he should install women in offices whom men can have sex with, thereby reducing the risk of sexual harassment. Thank goodness it’s written by a woman. I think it would be less appealing to read if it were written by a man. It’s just outrageous and really quite unusual. I think and hope that it’s a very sharp critique of sexual politics and market-based economy gone mad.
LISTENING John Lee Hooker is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve been listening to him since I was a teenager growing up in Pakistan and got into the blues. In a weird way, Lahore is a big river city like the various American cities that have to do with the Mississippi. Blues territory, in other words. The blues is pitched with the emotions and resonance and feeling of a lot of Punjabi folk music, which is what I grew up with.
WATCHING “Zero Dark Thirty.” It’s a very well-made film. But I didn’t particularly feel there was a humanization of Pakistan and that part of the world. Of course, there needn’t be. So I guess on its own terms, it was a successful film, but perhaps its success was in a direction that was different from my own sensibilities.
FOLLOWING 3QuarksDaily.com. I think it’s one of the most interesting aggregator blogs out there. It puts together stuff from art, science, philosophy, politics, literature. It’s a completely international, cosmopolitan place to get information. It’s become my entry point to reading on the Web.
CUSHIONING I tend to walk a lot — an hour and a half every morning. At some point I developed a pain in my foot. I was in New York and went to this really great shoe store called Eneslow on Park Avenue South, and the salesman recommended these Birko Balance cork inserts to put in my shoes. They are just fantastic — a real walking enabler.
COMPUTING I’m pretty Appled up: iPhone, iPad, Air. Kind of disturbed by that, actually. I fell in love with the underdog and now they’ve become this world-dominant thing. It was like I was rooting for the 13 colonies and somebody handed me the United States superpower.
Kate Murphy is a journalist in Houston who writes frequently for The New York Times.