Aasmah Mir’s candid and eloquent memoir A Pebble in the Throat tells of her childhood in 1970s Glasgow, and traces in parallel the story of her mother Almas’ own life as a young woman in Pakistan in the 1950s before uprooting to Scotland. A love letter to Scotland, to heritage and to family, it doesn’t flinch from capturing the intolerant attitudes of the era, and the injustices and obstacles they both had to overcome to affirm their identity. She takes a moment to consider her recent reading.

What’s on your bedside table or e-reader?

My colleague Stig Abell’s book Death Under a Little Sky and mine. I just love reading it! 

Which books do you feel you ought to have read but haven’t yet?

Oh dear. The list is huge. About 50 – including War and Peace and Wolf Hall.  

Which book(s) do you treasure the most?

Sadly I lost most of my childhood/teenage books because I moved around and entrusted them to people who were careless with them. Those would be the ones I would treasure the most. The feeling of touching a book that I held and took comfort in when I was a teenager would be overwhelming. Those books saved me. 

What is the last work you read in translation?

Probably something by Isabelle Allende – The House of the Spirits. I read it in English then Spanish (I have an A level in Spanish from 2019). But I would have read her anyway. Also Gabriel García Márquez – Chronicle of a Death Foretold – which is so disturbing. 

Novels, novellas or short stories?

Novels. Always. 

Fiction or non-fiction?

I didn’t read any non-fiction growing up. Now I love memoirs. 

Do you judge books by their covers?

Yes. I’m sorry but I do. 

Where do you get your books from?

I buy some online. I love bookshops but they feel overwhelming sometimes. Where do you start? 

Tell us about a book adaptation you last watched – did it do the book justice?

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan, adapted by Andrea Gibb. It was exceptional. People get annoyed if a TV adaptation doesn’t mirror a book precisely but I don’t mind at all. It’s someone’s interpretation of it. Why would you want to watch exactly what you read? 

What will you read next?

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. 

Compiled and introduced by Farhana Gani

Aasmah Mir is an award-winning journalist who has worked in TV and radio for over 25 years. She is co-host with Stig Abell of Times Radio Breakfast. A Pebble in the Throat is published by Headline in hardback, eBook and audio download, read by Aasmah.
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Author photo by Ben Wulf

Farhana Gani is a freelance copywriter and book scout for film and TV, and a founding editor of Bookanista.