Reading for the Christmas break is The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth and Blindness by José Saramago.
The Ghost Writer, Philip Roth: The Ghost Writer introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s; a budding writer infatuated with the Great Books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his literary idol, E. I. Lonoff. At Lonoff's, Zuckerman meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background who turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's and who may also have been his mistress. Zuckerman, with his active, youthful imagination, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution. If she were, it might change his life...The first volume of the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound, The Ghost Writer is about the tensions between literature and life, artistic truthfulness and conventional decency - and about those implacable practitioners who live with the consequences of sacrificing one for the other.
Blindness, José Saramago: The story starts with a man in his car at traffic lights who goes suddenly blind. He is helped home by a stranger, who a few hours later also goes blind. Within a few days the blindness has spread round half the city and also those afflicted are herded up by the government into a disused mental asylum and left alone. The wards quickly become overrun with filth and chaos ensues. In the middle of this, though, we get to know a handful of characters very well and it is really their story that we follow through the never-ending days, lack of food and riots. The whole story is told through long paragraphs of unbroken text. There are no quotation marks, hardly any punctuation and none of the characters are given names.