Sunday, 25 February 2007

Author Philippe Legrain, whose book Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them was reviewed in The Australian last weekend, is to continue his Australian tour in Sydney on Tuesday night with a talk at the Seymour Centre.

In today's Sun-Herald, Legrain lists 'The Books That Changed Me' (a regular column in the tabloid). First up is Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. "Anyone who doubts the benefits of different cultural mixes should read Salman Rushdie," he says. "Rushdie is an amazing wordsmith. He is also a master storyteller whose imagination I can get lost in for hours. On top of that he makes you laugh and think, too."

Not very original commentary, in my humble opinion. But then, he's the one giving lectures, not me.

He also singles out Amartya Sen and Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese writer "who was forced to flee his country during its long civil war and has thus experienced at first hand the destructive power of narrow, antagonistic concepts of identity."

Eric Hobsbawn's Age of Extremities: The Short Twentieth Century 1914 - 1991 also gets a nod. "Although he's a Marxist and I'm certainly not, I found it exceptionally interesting and enlightening."

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