My Life in Books
Disha Bose was born and raised in India, and moved to Ireland eight years ago. She worked in the tech industry before joining the MA creative writing course at UCD. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in The Galway Review, Cultured Vultures and HeadStuff. Her debut novel Dirty Laundry will be published later this month by Viking.
The books on your bedside table?
I usually read two or three books at a time, and I have each one reserved for a specific time of day. I like to re-read old favourites or books by my favourite authors in bed, as a sort of comfort read at the end of the day. At the moment, Anne Tyler’s Breathing Lessons has found its way back on my bedside table. Her prose always seems to calm my mind.
Your book of the year so far?
It’s only the beginning of the year, but I’ve already read one cracker of a book, Danya Kukafka’s Notes on an Execution. It examines the life and journey of a serial killer on death row, but from the perspective of the women in his life.
Favourite literary character?
I have so many. Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourites, because she is such a timelessly strong female role model.
The first book you remember?
I remember Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series leaving a marked impression on me as a child. I was an only child, spending a lot of my time by myself, and these books helped me get lost in a world of best friends, cosy mysteries, and adults endlessly packing delicious picnics.
Book that changed your life?
Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies had a deep impact on me, as a reader and also as a female Asian writer. After having been immersed in the writing of mostly male western authors as an English literature student, her book being not only published but well received by an international audience seemed to open doors. Her book helped me re-examine my writing style, and I return to it time and again as a reminder of authenticity.
The book you couldn’t finish?
There are several. Usually, if there’s a book that doesn’t hold my attention within the first hundred or so pages, I abandon it with no regrets. I also reserve judgment on them since they were left unfinished. For instance, I picked up Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie recently, for the first time, and it was making me cringe, so I gave up on it.
Your Covid comfort read?
Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster books are my all-time favourite comfort reads, and I picked them up often during the lockdowns. They were the first books that made me laugh out loud, and I like to return to that nostalgic feeling.
Which book do you give as a present?
The Little Prince to a child, and Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse to an adult.
The writer who shaped you the most?
Several contemporary female writers have influenced me, and I’ve learned something different about the craft from each. Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Celeste Ng, Liane Moriarty, Zadie Smith, Liz Nugent, Anne Enright to name a few. These women have achieved groundbreaking work.
The book you would most like to be remembered for?
As Dirty Laundry is my first novel, I hope it isn’t the only book I’m remembered for.