Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchens. Courtesy Atlantic Books
Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchens. Courtesy Atlantic Books

My favourite reads: Gareth Browne

Gareth Browne is a correspondent in The National's London Bureau

'Hitch-22' by Christopher Hitchens (2010)

Hitchens’s eloquence is unmatched, his humour can be subtle or crass – sometimes both in the same sentence. These traits are evident as he relives his university days and starts out as a young journalist in London. I only became aware of Hitchens’s work after he died in 2010, and since then I have devoured his lectures and essays. He is an author I feel I know closely.

'The Junior Officer’s Reading Club' by Patrick Hennessey (2009)

I read this while I was in Iraq covering the battle against ISIS in Mosul. I was experiencing war for the first time. This book helped me to see it through a different lens. It’s a lucid memoir of the banalities of war and, at times, I felt we might have been in the same streets, watching the same battles. Riveting.

'Enduring Love' by Ian McEwan (1997)

Undoubtedly McEwan’s best piece of work, the strength of this book lies in its use of an unreliable narrator. Written in the first person, halfway through the reader is forced to doubt everything. That said, the protagonist Joe and the apparent collapse of his reliability is agonising to read. There is a lesson in this – never take things at face value.

'Money' by Martin Amis (1984)

Amis has written plenty of political commentaries, but all of his fiction work is a political statement in one way or another, and where his best work lies. Money is a thrilling critique of the excesses of capitalism and runs like a steam locomotive, slowly at first but then speeds up. It’s packed with Amis’s best one-liners, like “If time is money, then fast food saves both”.

'Sir Vidia’s Shadow' by Paul Theroux (1998)

Paul Theroux and Sir Vidia Naipaul have a long list of literary accolades between them. This memoir details Theroux’s take on their relationship, a peculiar one that began in Uganda in the 1960s. After a few years, the relationship soured and the two engaged in one of the fiercest literary feuds of the 20th century. This is a stand-out account of the perils of friendship.


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1st Test: Brisbane, Nov 23-27 
2nd Test: Adelaide, Dec 2-6
3rd Test: Perth, Dec 14-18
4th Test: Melbourne, Dec 26-30
5th Test: Sydney, Jan 4-8


Sri Lanka Tharanga (c), Mathews, Dickwella (wk), Gunathilaka, Mendis, Kapugedera, Siriwardana, Pushpakumara, Dananjaya, Sandakan, Perera, Hasaranga, Malinga, Chameera, Fernando.

India Kohli (c), Dhawan, Rohit, Rahul, Pandey, Rahane, Jadhav, Dhoni (wk), Pandya, Axar, Kuldeep, Chahal, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Thakur.

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Empire of Enchantment: The Story of Indian Magic

John Zubrzycki, Hurst Publishers

Other acts on the Jazz Garden bill

Sharrie Williams
The American singer is hugely respected in blues circles due to her passionate vocals and songwriting. Born and raised in Michigan, Williams began recording and touring as a teenage gospel singer. Her career took off with the blues band The Wiseguys. Such was the acclaim of their live shows that they toured throughout Europe and in Africa. As a solo artist, Williams has also collaborated with the likes of the late Dizzy Gillespie, Van Morrison and Mavis Staples.
Lin Rountree
An accomplished smooth jazz artist who blends his chilled approach with R‘n’B. Trained at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC, Rountree formed his own band in 2004. He has also recorded with the likes of Kem, Dwele and Conya Doss. He comes to Dubai on the back of his new single Pass The Groove, from his forthcoming 2018 album Stronger Still, which may follow his five previous solo albums in cracking the top 10 of the US jazz charts.
Anita Williams
Dubai-based singer Anita Williams will open the night with a set of covers and swing, jazz and blues standards that made her an in-demand singer across the emirate. The Irish singer has been performing in Dubai since 2008 at venues such as MusicHall and Voda Bar. Her Jazz Garden appearance is career highlight as she will use the event to perform the original song Big Blue Eyes, the single from her debut solo album, due for release soon.

The Super Mario Bros Movie

Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic
Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Keegan-Michael Key
Rating: 1/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat