Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, a Sudanese novelist, and one of the most important Arabic-language novelists. It's the story of a man who has studied abroad and returned to life in Sudan – about the sort of cultural conflict and internal conflict from colonization. It's a very short novel and a number of people had recommended it to me based on what I had written. The subject matter is interesting: the story of this crisis of someone returning from life in the West. And the second thing is part of the novel takes the form of one man telling the story to another, so that's a similarity. Before that I read Graham Greene's The Quiet American, which I had never read before and which is fantastic, a real masterpiece of compression. It's such a short novel that takes on so much politically with a tight plot. Many people told me that I would like it and they were right.
... Listening to?
Last night I got one of my old John Lee Hooker CDs out. That's probably the original gangsta rap. I'm a huge fan of blues. I used to visit New Orleans a fair bit before Katrina and just love the Delta sound. My wife picked up Nelly Furtado's album Loose. I'm in love with this song called "Say It Right." I don't know why, but it's just one of these tracks that I can't get out of my head and like to play at loud volumes inappropriately late in the evening.
In the world of cricket, which is a sport you don't have much in the States, the Twenty20 World Cup is taking place. [It's] a really short format of the cricket game which can take just three or four hours – so it's considered really quick. So that's on and I was watching Pakistan play. The last film I saw was Knocked Up, which I have to say was pretty funny.
• Mohsin Hamid's second novel, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," is a finalist for the Man Booker Prize. The winner will be announced Oct. 16.